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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Ordinary Family pilot review

We watched the pilot of No Ordinary Family today to see if it should replace Life Unexpected in our Tuesday night lineup. We were really surprised at how much we enjoyed this show. For now, we will keep watching. Here’s why:

-It was fun and entertaining without being goofy or stupid. The family and their issues were believable and likeable immediately. If you have kids or younger siblings who can't watch most good TV, sit them down on the couch for this. It has the vibe and feel of some of our favorite movies when we were young.

-Julie Benz! Ok, she was awful in the Boondock Saints 2, but so was every other aspect of the movie, so she fit right in. We love her from Dexter, Roswell, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel so we are glad to see her playing the mother in this show. She looks great. They put some makeup on her. This is what we think Natasha Bedingfield will look like in 15 years.

-We like that the parents’ powers can help them with their problems. The dad works at a police station, and he is tired of being unable to help people. He feels he has no purpose, because his job doesn’t involve actively fighting crime. His wife, on the other hand, has a great, important job. He supports her and raises the kids while she is away, but he can’t help but feel worthless sometimes. The mom, on the other hand, has no time for both her family and work. Busy trying to be the perfect spouse, mother, and employee, she doesn’t know how to talk to her kids or what is going on in their lives. But then, Dad becomes resistant to bullets and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Mom gets super speed. Cutting down travel time alone helps her get back to her family in time to help them deal with their new powers. The powers free both parents to work through their personal issues and get second chances at righting their failures. Plus, Mom and Dad have a good marriage despite the challenges. We loved when Mom showed Dad appreciation for being so good to the family. Yay for good marriages on TV!

-This is what we would call a family show that doesn’t suck. You could easily watch this with your 12-year-old and you both will be entertained. It was easy to watch from the beginning, and we liked it instantly. We weren’t bored at all during this episode.

-There were already some sweet moments, and we love that the Dad is such a good guy that he immediately starts using his powers to fight crime after talking to a victim of the criminals.

-We like the voiceovers, especially the way the switch between Mom and Dad.

-We like the teen girl’s power. Instead of giving her super strength (like we thought they would) and trying to do some feminist Strong Woman point, they gave her a more interesting, subtle gift that requires more brains than brawn.

-Mom and Dad both have friends who serve as sounding boards, as well as awesome lair builders. The assistants are as funny as Mom and Dad are brave. (Dude, if we were that dad, we would have jumped from a shorter building or tried having paintballs shot at us while testing our powers. But whatever. He was excited. It's understandable.)

-There are already bad guys who can give the super family a run for their money. There was already some good action as well as family drama.

-Good pacing.

-We like having sympathetic protagonists again. Every person in the family is what we would call “a good person.” Let the baddies and school bullies be bad. We already have Dexter, Jack Bauer, every shrill shrew woman on TV, Don Draper, Nucky Thomson, and others to be our antiheroes. We need a mix on our TV sets. Every once in a while, we want to root for good people. We wonder if all the antiheroes on TV come from a cynical view that everyone, if put in the wrong situation, will act cruelly or selfishly. This isn't true. Google Sophie School, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Raoul Wallenberg, and Johnny Ferrier.

-We love the teen girl’s self-respect as shown when she wouldn’t sleep with her boyfriend when she knew she wasn’t ready just because she was afraid she might lose him.

Things we didn’t like so much:
-What is the teen boy’s power? He was taking a test and the answers appeared on the board. Is it being super good at math? Seeing answers? Seeing the future? What?!! It looked lame, but he was excited. Hopefully we see more of that power and it adds to the show.

-They had better explain where people get these powers better than just “florescent light under the sea.”

Maybe we are being too generous, but after watching too many pilots this fall that were a bit of a chore to get through, we are giving this an A-. If it stays this good, we will be back every week.

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