NO ORDINARY FAMILY Pilot Advance Review

ABC’s new show NO ORDINARY FAMILY premieres this Tuesday at 8pm and I recently had a chance to preview the pilot. So is it worth adding to your DVR? Here’s my take on the first episode.

What the show is about
No Ordinary Family is about the Powell family, who seem to be going through a bit of a crisis. Stephanie (Julie Benz), mom and research scientist, is overwhelmed by the strain her demanding career puts on her relationship with the rest of the family. Jim (Michael Chiklis) is a great dad, but he feels disconnected from Stephanie and unsatisfied with his work as a police sketch artist. Their teenage kids, Daphne (Kay Panabaker) and J.J. (Jimmy Bennett), are typical angsty, text messaging teens. Jim decides the whole family could use some bonding time, so they tagalong with Stephanie on a business trip to Brazil. On the trip, their plane crashes into the Amazon. They survive seemingly unscathed, yet when they return home, the family discovers that they each have a superpower.

Much to his delight, Jim discovers he can stop speeding bullets and leap tall buildings in a single bound. His friend George (Romany Malco) helps him make the most of these powers. Stephanie is thrilled that her new superspeed will help her to become supermom. She confides in her assistant Katie (Autumn Reeser) and they start researching the source of the powers. Not everyone is happy, though, as Daphne is horrified by her telepathy and what it means for her social life. And then there’s J.J., who is wondering what power, if any, he will have.

So what will the Powells do with their newfound superpowers? And will this help or hurt the struggling family?

What I Liked
I can’t resist a show about superheroes, and No Ordinary Family has elements of Heroes, X-Men, and The Incredibles. The good thing is that it centers on the Powells rather than a huge group of people like Hereos did, which eventually bogged the show down. They don’t get into much mythology in the pilot, but there are hints that an interesting one may be revealed.

The best thing No Ordinary Family has going for it is a wonderful cast. Michael Chiklis is so charismatic as Jim, and Julie Benz is pretty great too. My hands down favorite character, though, is Romany Malco’s George, who I thought was absolutely hilarious. His scenes with Chiklis were so funny, and I can’t wait to see more of these two together. Stephen Collins (aka Reverend Camden on 7th Heaven) also made an appearance in the pilot and I’m really intrigued by his character.

What I Didn’t Like
While I think its good that No Ordinary Family isn’t trying to be Heroes, I kind of missed that “this show is EPIC” excitement I felt after watching the first episode of Heroes. But that might not necessarily be a bad thing since Heroes struggled to live up to those expectations.

I loved most of the characters…except for the annoying teenage kids. Of course, real life teenagers can be annoying, so I guess this is realistic. But if they want me to watch every week, they’ll have to tone down the angst.

The ending of this episode was soooooooooo cheesy. I know this is supposed to be a family drama, but I hope it doesn’t get too fluffy. If they can get some interesting storylines going, I think it will go a long a way toward balancing out the level of saccharine.

Verdict
With a really great cast and an interesting premise, I think No Ordinary Family has the potential to be a great show. My Tuesday nights are still all about Glee, but I’ll probably record a few more episodes of No Ordinary Family and see how the show develops.

So don’t forget, No Ordinary Family premieres on Tuesday, September 28th at 8pm on ABC.

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