ABC Studios brings to life “The Incredibles”, the story of the Powells, an every day American family, who are too busy to spend time together. So they decide to take a trip as family as a way to reconnect, but on the way, their plane crashes. Now there’re back to their normal lives, but something seems to be happening to each one of them… they have superpowers. – ABC
The Preview (Posted on 9/15/2010):
First, let’s give credit to ABC for not only acknowledging right off-the-bat the most obvious criticism of this show – that being that it looks like Disney-Pixar’s The Incredibles – but outright OWNING it. That’s the way to beat them at their own game! And why wouldn’t Disney try to capitalize on their property in a prime time, live-action drama (for those of you that are unaware, Disney owns ABC)? Screw the nay-sayers, this show looks like a lot of fun and is my choice for sleeper hit of the season. The concept is great and it’s not just a show for the family but it’s a show focused on the family as much as it is on their super powers. Casting always tells me a lot about a show and No Ordinary Family is no different. You’ve got Michael Chiklis as the dad (The Shield), Julie Benz as the mom (Dexter), Romany Malco (The 40 Year-Old Virgin) as the best friend and sidekick and lo and behold, Stephen Collins (7th Heaven) who appears to be our Lex Luthor-type. I don’t care if I sound like a 10 year-old fanboy, I can’t wait to watch No Ordinary Family and apparently based on the amount of merchandising I saw over at the official site, ABC is pretty confident that they have a hit on their hands as well.
8 out of 10
Last night, I was just about to do a review for the new HBO hit, Boardwalk Empire when Mrs. Tastic casually asked me when No Ordinary Family was premiering and I told her September 28th. Needless to say, I was very curious about her interest because she doesn’t like any of the shows that I do so I asked her why she was asking. She then informs me that she received an email offering her the chance to see an exclusive advanced screening of NOF. At this point I began pulling my hair out and I said, “… and you’re just telling me now???” She then said, “Well, what does it matter if it’s going to be on next week, anyway?”
This is when I discovered that apparently my wife is under the impression that I blog about miniature dachshunds.
To make matters worse, it turned out that she received the opportunity for the advance screening on September 14th and it was due to expire 90 minutes from when I learned about it.
AAAAARGH!!! (That was in celebration of International Talk Like a Pirate Day that was also on September 19th.)
Let’s begin, shall we?
Well, here’s the skinny: NOF is EXACTLY as advertised. Now, I know I said that about The CW’s Nikita, but it’s even more so in this case, and in fact a little to its detriment. I’m not saying that it’s not a good show (because, it really is) but that five-minute extended trailer literally gives away the majority of the pilot!
Bad move, ABC, because you took a lot of the fun out of the pilot episode. On the upside, though NOF is EXACTLY as advertised! Seriously, my preview is almost completely spot-on with its peremptory analysis.
As I noted last week, ABC does not hide from the premise of the live-action ‘Incredibles,’ it in fact they embrace it. Oh, and by the way, as an aside, the reason that the fancy wife got the invite for the advance screening to begin with: she’s registered at Disney.com (am I a TV prophet or what?). So, basically, yeah, you’ve got a live-action ‘Incredibles’ but with a bit more of an adult theme.
I have to admit, I think it’s a little borderline for the 8:00 p.m. time slot. 9:00 p.m. is probably a little more appropriate considering the violence and more adult themes than I would have expected. For example, The Powells aren’t just losing touch with each other… they’re REALLY dysfunctional and they are a lot of heavy emotional issues. One of the things I found particularly odd was that Jim Powell (Chiklis) seems OK with the concept of his 16 year-old daughter having sex with her boyfriend… but only if she’s ready. Yeah, that whole sub-plot was particularly awkward for me as a father and thank God the boyfriend was gone halfway through the pilot (yeah, I know that’s a spoiler… don’t worry, he won’t be missed).
So, yes there’s some pretty heavy themes that were kind of unexpected and as you would expect there is some moderate to heavy violence for prime-time television. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not violent like Heroes and in reality I am very thankful that it is nothing like Heroes whatsoever. Nothing against Heroes, which I followed faithfully for three and a half seasons, but in retrospect Heroes was a VERY dark show and I’m very happy that this approach to super heroes is a lot more light-hearted, however, I would definitely not recommend this show for children under twelve or so. Like with anything else, your mileage may vary depending on your kid.
Besides everything that I already knew about this show going into it, there were two things that I picked up on that I really liked. The most obvious was the big twist at the end of the episode that made up for the fact that most of the pilot was given away in the aforementioned five-minute teaser (***grumble, grumble***) and the second thing that was just brilliant was the music. If you pay attention, you’ll notice it’s classic super hero music. Just think of the scores from the Richard Donner Superman films by John Williams and the Ghostbusters score by Elmer Bernstein. It’s a very nice and subtle nod to the genre.
NOF is a very good show and I think it’s going to develop a very strong following. The premise is solid and the cast is fantastic and the characters are very well-conceived (although the kids are a little melodramatic my taste) and it has all the comic-booky goodness you can ask for.