With all the superhero success on the big screen (X-Men, Iron Man, Spiderman, etc…), it is no wonder that television networks were looking to capitalize on this renewed interest. But, as we saw with NBC‘s Heroes (which had a great first season, but then failed miserably), you need to be careful. After all, you do not want a clone of something you have seen before.
The show is drastically more upbeat than Heroes, and the cast is quite likable in No Ordinary Family. There are no convoluted plot strings like what plagued Heroes, just a family thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Now, if that sounds familiar, that’s because it is. No Ordinary Family has obviously borrowed heavily from both The Fantastic Four and The Incredibles, both of which deal with a family of superheroes, and the hurdles they must face.
The plot is pretty simple. A dysfunctional family takes a trip to try to re-connect, ends up crashing in the Amazonian rainforest, and suddenly get miraculous powers. Police sketch artist Jim Powell (Michael Chiklis) receives the power of invincibility and the ability to jump really high, scientist Stephanie Powell (Julie Benz) gets the gift of speed, and their two high school kids JJ (Jimmy Bennett) and Daphne (Kay Panabake) become a mathematical genius and telepathic, respectively. The show is not going to win any contests for originality, but while the story is recycled, it is presented in an a very entertaining way.
Seeing as this was only the pilot, and the show has yet to build up any steam, I think it did a good job. One thing lacking though, is a villain. But, the ending does leave us with a few suspicious characters. I would not consider it outside of the realm of possibility that the pilot did not die in the crash, but instead becomes a villain on the show. I do not know if this will happen, but it is just a guess.
All in all, it was an enjoyable hour that will keep me tuned in for next week. I just hope the don’t borrow too much more from already established heroes, and begin to pave their own way. If the show does that, it could be great.
I would give the pilot episode of No Ordinary Family a seven out of ten, with the hope that the show finds its audience and its groove.