Tonight, No Ordinary Family, starring Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz, premiered on ABC. The pilot episode was decent, but didn’t grab me as something really special. I do think the show has potential, but it isn’t quite there yet.
Michael Chiklis plays the role of Jim Powell, a slightly discontent police sketch artist, while Julie Benz plays his wife, Stephanie, a successful research scientist. They have two kids, Daphne and JJ, who are both teenagers. The pilot begins with the family on a vacation in Brazil, but trip doesn’t go as planned and a plane crash leaves them with super hero-like abilities. As a result, Jim ends up having super strength, Stephanie is super fast, Daphne is telepathic, and, apparently, JJ is super intelligent.
The pilot episode was fairly good and acted as an origin story of sorts for the entire family. Jim got the biggest piece of the pie this week and it seems that his plot line will be the most important for the show. He was the first to discover his new power and, like many superheroes before him, tries to put it to use fighting crime.
Probably the best part of the episode was Jim’s second fight with the criminal. It actually looked pretty cool, a bit like the opening Nightcrawler scene from X-2, and it also helped set up the underlying story arc.
Unfortunately, the title of the show, didn’t quite ring true. The show is not terribly original. The superpowers are very basic and standard as those things go. Even the concept of a family superhero unit isn’t really that new; The Incredibles did an awesome job exploring that concept a few years ago and the Fantastic Four also comes to mind.
I think the thing that is going to make or break this show is whether the writers are able to keep it fun. Sure, they can tackle the serious family and marital issues that were already prevalent in the pilot, but they need to do it with a little humor or it could get a little too preachy for the crowd that ABC is targeting. I think I’ll give it another shot next week, but I’m not signing up for the long haul yet.