First look: 'No Ordinary Family' plus full trailer
Reading Kurt Sutter going off about the origination of "Sons of Anarchy" reminds me of a couple conversations I've recently had about ABC's fall superhero family drama "No Ordinary Family."
Sutter makes the point that many people have pitched a biker drama, that the idea is hardly new.
"Isn't 'No Ordinary Family' just a rip off of 'The Incredibles'?" an interviewer asked during the upfronts.
I replied, sure, it's the same idea, but this is TV. Most crime shows knock off dozens of other crime shows. For a TV series to only have one obvious influence, instead of legions, actually makes ABC's new show pretty unique on the dial.
The second conversation was with a talent agent who said something to the effect of, "I get pitched 'Superhero Family' about 40 times every year."
Many have tried to do "No Ordinary Family" before, in other words, but this is the first time somebody has actually pulled it off.
Industry insiders, by and large, seem to like the "No Ordinary Family" pilot. I was looking for one of the other 40 potential versions. When I heard about the show, I expected a drama. "No Ordinary Family" best resembles a comedy. It's bright and sunny with bouncy music, jokey dialogue and the lead characters (played by Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz) giving on-camera confessionals.
It's aiming to be like "Modern Family" with supernatural powers. But when fighting crime is played this softly, it's tough to take the action seriously. Come to think of it, "The Incredibles" was often pretty grim by comparison.
The pacing of "Family" is breakneck. Like "V" last year, it's as if somebody felt tremendous urgency to get all the setup out of the way and reach the eternal second act, where most broadcast dramas tend to live. In two minutes, we've met every member of the family, they've debated whether to take a vacation, have a boarded a plane and are on their way into severe life-threatening weather that will change their lives forever. In the "Lost" pilot, it took Jack two minutes just to stand up and jog out of the bamboo field.
I did like the teen daughter's storyline -- being able to read minds in high school presents a lot of possibilities. Overall, though, the group feels like an ordinary family -- an ordinary TV comedy family -- even if they can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
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