Tuesday, October 05, 2010

TV Report: No Ordinary Family, Etc.

I wonder how long No Ordinary Family is going to end up staying on the air. There's something a little too high concept about it that just doesn't really work. I can see the pitch meeting as I'm watching the show: "It's Modern Family meets Smallville!" and it doesn't make me enthusiastic.

The show centers on a family who get in a place crash and develop ironic, Marvel Comics style superpowers. Frustrated Dad wants to be strong enough to hold his family together, gets super strength. Harried Mom who can't make time for both her career and family gets super speed. Daughter who is always texting remains clueless about her cheating boyfriend and betraying friends; suddenly she's a telepath. Son with a learning disability becomes a genius. You can predict what their powers are going to be long before they get them.

The show has fairly likable characters played by likable actors (always glad to see Kay Panabaker show up; I adored her on Summerland and Phil of the Future), but it's hampered by at least five major problems. First, there's the predictability. A lot of critics have been referring to it as "The Incredibles without Pixar," but really it's just Fantastic Four. Second, there's the implication at the end that the show is going to get very mythology-heavy, which, after Heroes is not an encouraging sign. Too many characters and the show will just sink under the weight of them. Third, the lame framing device of Mom and Dad in marriage counseling, talking straight to the camera (a camera which never stops moving or shaking, making it hard to look at this show). Fourth, the fact that it's going to take this show far too long to decide if it's about superheroes first, or family first.

The fifth problem is that it's derivative. I'm still making my way through old Marvel comics, and after reading through the first 40 issues of Fantastic Four, you can really see where all No Ordinary Family has really done is advance television to a point comic books were at five decades ago. It's not really a groundbreaking concept, it's just a complicated one for network TV to handle. The second episode airs tonight, and while I'm still intrigued, I can already feel my interest waning.

Other stuff:

:: Last Thursday's was the best and funniest episode of 30 Rock in some time.

:: I can't even remember watching Saturday Night Live this week, except that they did another "What's Up With That?" sketch. I know it's just one joke, but I like it. It's punchy, it's silly, and I dig the music. It's random and stupid, but it's one of the only things SNL does anymore that makes me laugh.

Oh, right, sketch where Kristen Wiig is supposed to be sexy. I find that funnier than anything she's done on the show this season. Also, whichever new girl that was doing the Miley Cyrus impression, her impression is hilarious, but there was no point to that sketch other than it's supposed to be funny that teenagers are flighty and, um, young. Find something to do with it: the impression itself is really, really funny.

1 comment:

Kal said...

I totally agree with you about 30 Rock - it's become more and more deliciously bizzare because of great writing for great actors. Baldwin and Fey are brilliant.

Jack's DVD to his future son and the way they kept going back to snippets of his advice should be made into a real life book. I love the way it became his own 'Most Interesting Man in the World' sketch.

SNL had some of the strongest and weakest sketches in their history this year. The Miley Cyrus Show is something I don't think I will ever get tired of - the impression is that funny.

LOVE 'What's Up With That' - it's like that puppet show on 'Sound of Music' - 'It just never stops becoming more and more elaborate and busy. The look on Morgan Freeman's face while 93 year old ICON Earnest Borgnine (I only JUST saw 'Marty' and he earned that Oscar he got for his role - terrific film) grinning beside him was just a huge piece of awesome.

I have decided to watch every damn episode of 'No Ordinary Family' until it goes off the air no matter how bad it may get. It took on a subject matter that has almost an built-in ability to fail but I bailed on Heroes and never gave the support to a show in the genre that I love so maybe it's my fault it lost it's way. I won't do that again to my beloved Superheroes.

I am past being the guy who expects everything about superheros in comics, movies, or tv to be perfect. Not that you were doing that because your opinion are on solid foundations but you know how us fanboys can sometimes (most times) be our our own worst enemies when we hate on things that we should just be happy were made in the first place.