A Winning Pilot For THE CAPE

Mysterious, comic bookish in a good way and the closest thing for now we’re ever going to get to a serious Batman-like series on television, THE CAPE‘s two-hour premiere Sunday, repeating tonight, and made for a fine series introduction.

If you got into heroes, this show may also be for you. The basic premise of a clean cop (David Lyons) framed for murder lopped on by planted lies of corruption drives him underground. He’s thought dead and his wife is torn up by the charges against him though he son still believes. The hooking up with the Carnival of Crime, who all turn out to have good hearts built the origin story bit by bit.

More training scenes would have been good, but it all still worked. Enter Orwell, sort of like DC Comics Oracle, played by Summer Glau, as an ally. And then there are the villains, creepy and odd, not unlike some of Batman’s rogues (or Will Eisner’s Spirit). James Frain relishes evil as Peter Fleming, he of a private police force brought into Palm City, with snake eyes when not wearing contacts in seems; and he’s also the baddie Chess, the manipulator. Vinnie Jones (Juggernaut, X-Man 3) Scales, a blocky mobster with a lizard skin face. Plus we get a more old-fashioned long-haired psycho killer with a knife who also poisons people.

As The Cape, Lyon’s Vince Faraday makes a lot of mistakes and that’s good. Creator Tom Wheeler and staff likely looked at comics such as “Batman: Year One.” The Cape’s abilities remained human – escape artist tricks, cape manipulation, body armor that doens’ quite stop a thick blade. And most importantly, other than a few bits of appropriate wry or dark humor, it’s all played dead serious. This is not camp, thank you. So if you’ve had enough of police science, medical shows and noxious reality, The Cape is a great alternative.