Friday, November 12, 2010

What I’m Watching: No Ordinary Family

No Ordinary Family: Season 1, Episode 6 “No Ordinary Visitors” (D-)

Okay, perhaps this grade is a bit low. But this episode was so astonishingly boring that I can’t believe it even aired. I’ve been reading plenty about how there are no stakes on this show, and that’s truer in this episode than it’s ever been before. Telling people about their abilities should be a serious risk for the Powell family, yet they’re playing it off as a simple annoyance with which they don’t want to deal. Casting Cybill Shepherd and Bruce McGill (often the most entertaining part of “Rizzoli & Isles”) as Stephanie’s parents should have yielded much better results, and their failure as characters is mostly due to the awful writing in this episode. The relationship between Jim and his in-laws, and Stephanie and her parents, for that matter, is sketched in such an archetypal manner that it’s almost unbearable. Jim’s endorsement of his son using his powers to defeat his bullying grandfather is puzzling and uncharacteristic. The evolution of Daphne’s powers also seems unnecessary since it feels like a crutch to help her master her abilities. The one thing that I can praise in this episode is the awesomeness with which Jim sprung to the kid’s defense and tackled him out of the window. Even if this show gets everything else wrong and can’t get out of his childish mindset, at least it’s able to properly convey the exciting use of one of the characters’ powers. It’s not much, but it’s something, and at this point, this show needs all the help it can get.


Richter Scale said...

I think a "D-" is being a tad too harsh, but I do agree, the writing in this episode was atrocious. There were parts I really liked, but then I had to hear that dialogue, composed of some of the most obvious and stereotypical lines, that the actors were practically left stranded. Those in-laws are about as subtle as a boulder falling on your head, and with that kind of writing, the actors could not really save it (as good as they are).

I did enjoy the opening with the two juxtaposing families getting different visitors, and Jim rescuing the boy, and I actually do like the visual component to Daphne's powers, since they make her more useful to the family. She can have a visual image and it's a step toward getting this family to work as a team. Which is also why I loved the ending, with the family using their powers to fix grandpa's car and having fun with it. This show needs to have more fun with the supoerpowers and not angst it up all the time. I agree that the show needs to put the family in danger, but it also needs to lower the angst and give the family time to play with their powers together and become a team. Right now it's just too much dysfuntionality and obvious dialogue.

Also, I should tell you Abe (since Julie Benz is on the show), I started watching Dexter a few weeks ago and I just started Season Three. I loved the first season (what an ending!) and the second season was okay, but there was way too much Lila (she annoyed me from the get-go), Lundy got boring when Deb started dating him, and I hate that they killed off Doakes just when he was getting interesting. Still, it took some interesting risks, and some of them paid off. I really want to get to Season Four (since everyone raves about it).

Movies with Abe said...

You're right about the opening being well-done; I had forgotten all about that after the grandparents dominated the episode.

I'm glad you're into "Dexter" and I have good news for you: the first season is excellent, the first half of the second season is great, the third season is okay, and the fourth and fifth seasons are great. You're in the slump right now, so just barrel through it and you have good stuff coming soon! Fortunately, that show never actually gets bad, so I'm sure you'll enjoy it all!