Friday, October 29, 2010

What I’m Watching: No Ordinary Family

No Ordinary Family: Season 1, Episode 5 “No Ordinary Quake” (C)

My biggest problem with this episode is actually something that hadn’t yet troubled me but did in this episode with this new villain. For one thing, she’s not actually a bad guy, just someone who was transformed against her will and is on the run, unwilling and unable to trust anyone. While every good superhero does not a proper origin story, muddling everything too much by having real villains hunting the semi-innocent episodic villains doesn’t work well. My other complaint is more aesthetic: the earthquake-causing baddie just sucks at using her power. Just lifting her hand up unenthusiastically shouldn’t be able to produce the effects it does. Jim’s insistence on constantly showing his face and threatening the livelihood of his family is foolish, and George legitimizing lying to his wife because he’s the one doing it rather than Jim doesn’t track either. Katie’s discovery that JJ’s sample showed that he was pregnant is an example of this show not knowing what it wants to be: it’s a comic moment that then turns into JJ’s sudden best bud at school getting upset about his girlfriend being pregnant. It’s a strange, random storyline that isn’t going to go anywhere and doesn’t contribute much to the overarching plot, save for JJ’s abilities finally being revealed. Daphne’s use of her powers continues to be obnoxious since she really needs to go deeper and try to listen to more than one sentence of someone’s thoughts so that she doesn’t consistently pick up the same wrong information.


Richter Scale said...

Looks like we're two-for-two on disagreements today Abe. I guess that happens. I thought this installment was better than last week, partly because JJ finally came clean about his superpowers, but I also like that we're finally getting to see some of those other people with superpowers. What bothered you, the semi-innocent villain you're talking about, it reminds me a lot of Smallville in its first few seasons, and how the freak-of-the-week that Clark had to battle wasn't necessarily a bad person, but someone driven crazy by their powers. I think this show might be taking a similar route, and I like that better because it gives the show some more depth and a few more shades of gray.

I can't help feel that like last year with Glee, you're expecting something from this show that it's simply not willing to offer. This is a light-hearted family drama about people with superpowers, so of course it's going to have those moments of humor you seem to cringe at, and it's about people trying to come to grips with a new situation and making mistakes along the way. I feel it's similar to Parenthood in the sense that it's about people that are sometimes irritating, but we come to love them because they are flawed people trying to get by. Also remember it's by Greg Berlanti, the creator of Everwood, and this is his kind of territory, lighthearted family dramas that still push the envelope and are not shy of taking on serious issues (such as teen pregnancy and the possibility of a student sleeping with her teacher). Of course, Everwood was a much better show, but this one will do just fine.

Movies with Abe said...

I am trying to keep my expectations in check because I do want to enjoy this show, even if my reviews don't quite indicate that. Regarding the comparison to "Smallville," I think that show pulled it off better (in the first two seasons only, of course).

As far as this show is concerned, I thought of you when I read a rather comprehensive article about why this show hasn't lived up to its potential and how it could: