Thursday, April 7, 2011

What I’m Watching: No Ordinary Family (Season Finale)

No Ordinary Family: Season 1, Episode 20 “No Ordinary Beginning” (F)

Even when a show that had slipped off its track like “Flash Forward” ended, it indicated some sort of coherence and, if not, some organized chaos at the very least. This show, which started off strong and had plummeted in quality by episode four, reveals a hidden madness to its whole scheme that replaces the sloppiness and lack of intrigue that up until now had dominated the show. This presumed series finale is nothing if not schizophrenic, indicating a complete mess of ideas all thrown together into about fifteen minutes of action. Dr. King, who has been nothing but a background mustache-twirler for the majority of the series, is cast as a sudden hero when he rushes to the aid of the Powell family, then comes out as a villain when he tries to kill Jim and take his place in Stephanie’s life, and then redefined as a supervillain with a whole array of powers, only to be felled by a comic needle to the eye. This episode’s success hinges largely on the coincidental ability of its villains not to properly take away the powers of our heroes, prompting certain victory on their part thanks to Jim’s faux-shocker that the serum had worn off. More jarring, however, is the experience of watching this episode not live but online with a countdown clock, to the point that, with less than sixty seconds left, it was completely unclear in which direction this episode was going to head. Since prison guards apparently don’t bother checking to see if inmates are wearing suits or jumpsuits, George, along with 80 prisoners, now has powers. The Powell family has been recruited by the government to safeguard the human race. This all happens so quickly and unexpectedly that it’s as if all the events of the first season, including characters like Litchfield and Victoria, entirely irrelevant. This show feels even more like a waste of time, and I’m not happy that I stuck with it for the entire season. It doesn’t deserve a renewal, and I don’t think it’s going to get one. I’m curious to know what others with more faith in the series thought.

Season grade: C-
Season MVP: No one. This is a waste of the potential that actors like Michael Chiklis, Autumn Reeser, and Romany Malco have.

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