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“No Ordinary Family” Review

5 Nov

No Ordinary Family
review by SimplyKyle 11/5/10


No Ordinary Family, a sci-fi drama on ABC conceptualized by Greg Berlanti and Jon Feldman, some of the minds behind the teen hit show Dawson’s Creek, but don’t let that deter you or skew your opinion prematurely (hehe). It also  happens to be produced by, the reputable yet little known, Samantha Thomas who backed LOST from season 3 to the end. (Which despite some people’s opinion is a big friggin deal.) We’ll have to see if this endeavor last longer than her last attempt at a hit show……

flash forward(t’was great btw)

Some say No Ordinary Family is like if The Incredibles got their own television show but the first few episodes make one consider more of a mash-up of Modern Family and Heroes. A connection not too far off as David Semel directed both Heroes and No Ordinary Family’s pilot episodes.

Say what you will about Heroes, it started off awesome and had much potential and it was sad to see the steady decline after Season 1. (Let’s be honest, Season 2 could have never happened and no one would have noticed.)

Heroes season 2 dead characters(seriously…all in one season…come on!)

But I digress. The cast in my opinion is well chosen. Heavyweight Michael Chiklis, who plays the lead Jim Powell in the series, is no stranger to tv with a solid 7 seasons of The Shield under his belt and superpowers with consequent problems is nothing new after his role in Fantastic Four (despite the movies overall lameness, he still played a g-damn great Thing)

Chiklis’ on screen wife, Julie Benz (playing Stephanie Powell) is a familiar sight in Geekdom TV; having starred in Dexter, Roswell, Angel, Buffy and Desperate Housewives (alright that’s not so much geek as it is gawk). Benz and Chiklis make a quite believable couple, as typical family TV drama as it gets.

As for the rest of the family it consists of experienced TV star Kay Panabaker, starring as Daphne Powell, who has done nothing but TV shows and TV movies. Don’t worry we checked, despite portraying a sixteen year old highschooler, she’s 20. So you don’t have to feel weird, we know what you were thinking. (She’s definitely got the whole Ellen Page thing going on.)

The Powell family also includes son JJ, played by Jimmy Bennett, an ordinary teen struggling in school; that is until he happens to gain super intelligence (convenient eh?) You may not know much about Jimmy, but he got his start doing the voice for Roo in recent Winnie the Pooh movies. Regardless, he gets sci-fi and geek cred for his role as a young Kirk in the Star Trek reboot and lending his voice for Kingdom Hearts II (as Roo of course).

Well orchestrated additional comic relief comes from Romany Malco who plays Jim Powell’s friend George in the show. Both Malco and Chiklis have a believable friendship and go well on screen together. What is not so much believable is Malco playing a DA, he doesn’t scream city official in any way to me. Nonetheless he does manage to build an awesome man-cave/lair in his garage (with wi-fi no doubt!).

An odd matching for the show that actually works quite very well is Stephen Collins cast as Stephanie Powell’s boss, Dr. Dayton King. I feel his history with such a family friendly show like 7th Heaven adds to the creepiness of his mysterious bad guy role.

(he seems a little bitter since he left the Camden house)

Dr. King’s lackey in the show, played by Josh Stewart, is still developing and reminds me much of how Sylar was in the beginning of Heroes. He’s got potential to be a bad ass mofo, let’s just hope they don’t make him an emotional cry baby like we’ve (sadly) seen happen before.

No Ordinary Family is definitely the product of the networks feeding on the superhero hype of recent years. It is textbook superhero series with each character developing “powers of convenience” based on what they “needed” in life (ie. mom getting speed to make more time and boy becoming smart to hep in school) or the situation he/she happens to be in at the moment they surfaced. I’m not saying it is doubtful to win an award or two. The feel-good essence felt from watching it, being able to follow it without straining too many characters or overlapping storylines are definite pluses. It is something I would recommend watching just to see how its done and to see an entertaining story, while it may not be told in a new way, it is done well. It has been picked up by ABC to continue, so we’ll see for how long since a good idea for a movie does not always play out when made into seasons for the small screen. No Ordinary Family is an enjoyable sci-fi comedy drama worth programming to record on your DVR.

-Photos used are property of ABC, NBC, and CW respectively. They do not belong to GeekTheWorldOnline and are intended for use in character and media review in strictly entertainment and editorial means.