Syfy Banks on ‘Booster Gold’ As Its Next Super Hero Hit

booster goldMost super heroes hide from the public because they don’t wish to advertise the work that they do, wishing to do their public service in the shadows of the night or with the help of black government operations. Others wish to just save mankind and leave all the glory to the victims rescued from peril. Not Booster Gold–the only thing he wants is the fame.

Syfy and NBC Universal are looking to take the relevant DC Comics character to become the next TV hit to cross mediums, ordering a one-hour pilot to be made for the genre-centric cable network that has had other recent super-powered success with shows like Haven and Alphas. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news that Greg Berlanti’s and his company Berlanti Productions will produce the project with Warner Horizon Television.

Booster Gold is about a man from the 25th century, Michael Jon Carter who was a star quarterback in college. His sketchy father convinced Carter to throw games and once discovered, his future as a star athlete faded. Carter soon became a night watchmen at the Metropolis Space Museum, and became a student of the history of heroes and villains of the DC Universe. He stole weapons on display that belonged to the Legion of Super-Heroes and found a way to travel back in time to our present day and uses the stolen weapons to become a hero and builds an entire corporation to promote himself and become famous. He is joined by an artificial intelligence robot which has stored in it 500 years of news headlines which Booster uses to prevent. His newfound fame rubs the present day heroes the wrong way and this is just one of the many problems Booster Gold realizes that he’s created for himself.

Considering how the pursuit of celebrity and fame have preceded the means at which one gains that status, the concept of Booster Gold was ahead of its time. The comic was first published in 1986, created by Dan Jurgens. He has since been a regular fixture in many of the DC’s biggest stories including Infinite Crisis, 52, Blackest Night, Brightest Day and is currently in the new DC New 52 title, Justice League International. Booster Gold made one appearance in a Geoff Johns-written episode of Smallville in the final 10th season so it’s possible this could be a reality some day.

Berlanti was one of the many hands who handled the Green Lantern movie (story, screenplay, and producer) and he also served as executive producer on several television series including Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, Brothers & Sisters and most recently the super hero family drama No Ordinary Family.  Warehouse 13 co-executive producer and writer Andrew Kreisberg has been hired to write the screenplay. He worked with Berlanti on Eli Stone and has also written and co-executive produced on Fringe and The Vampire Diaries.

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This marks the third DC Comics character currently in development for television. The CW and Supernatural’s Eric Kripke is trying to launch a Deadman series and Fox is working on The Spectre. Could Booster Gold be one of the chosen few super hero pilots to be made? Will it break through and become the next Smallville or Alphas? Or will it follow the same fate as IDW horror comic  Locke & Key (critically praised, but expensive pilot that Fox eventually passed on) and Wonder Woman (critically panned pilot with re-imagined concept and costume), both of which did not air. Locke & Key was shown at Comic-Con and was considered by Syfy but also deemed it too expensive.

While not one of DC’s top-tiered properties, Booster Gold could have a place in today’s entertainment. I do think that this hero could present something different for both Syfy and the TV medium, while being a good home for its target audience. If it can be clever and satirize how fame and infamy have dominated mainstream news, there’s something special here. The tone should be humorous at times and mine the Keith Giffen and J.J. DeMatteis Justice League stories that featured Booster Gold but be able to provide top-flight action and well-written scripts that make us believe he is worthy of having his own show.

I’m encouraged to see that Syfy, despite some of their questionable decisions in recent years, is going to be the home if the pilot is made and a series does launch. Had this landed at a major network I would have been less thrilled given their track records with genre entertainment. At Syfy, Booster Gold would have less episodes per season maximizing the impact, the creators would be given a challenge to be more creative given the limited funds, and regardless if it succeeds or fails audiences would probably see a full season in its entirety.

I do wonder how fantastical a Booster Gold show would be, especially on Syfy’s limited budget. There are some supporting characters such as Ted Kord (Blue Beetle) and Skeets, Booster’s futuristic almanac robot that are essential. Because of how unknown the character is outside of comic shop talk and DCU threads on online comic book communities, some liberties could be made and modifications would be met with open minds as long as the end product is better and more contemporary to our world.

There is a small window of opportunity for Booster Gold, yet with so many other super hero-related projects in development (Incredible Hulk, AKA Jessica Jones to name a few), I’m still scratching my head over how they’ll be made.

Does Booster Gold at Syfy interest you? What Booster Gold essential elements would you like to see that would realistically be done at Syfy? Let us hear what you are thinking below and be sure to be on the lookout this week for the latest Blast Off #4 Podcast with Bags Hooper and me as we discuss the challenges of bringing comic book adaptations (and remakes) on TV today. Look for it!

ABC Cuts Schedule Deep – Say Goodbye to ‘V’ and ‘No Ordinary Family’

The message is pretty clear this upfront season: networks would rather gamble on a fresh crop of shows than bring back modest performers.

ABC has announced that it’s jettisoning six of its prime-time series and BuzzFocus readers will be sad to hear that V and No Ordinary Family were part of the bloodshed. While this move is certainly one that many fans expected (and prepared themselves for), it still stings nonetheless. V had recently made the trip to WonderCon to campaign for a third season, but it clearly wasn’t in the cards for the suits at ABC.

As for No Ordinary Family, when series star Michael Chiklis joined CBS pilot Vince Uncensored, many took the move as the writing being on the wall for the superhero show. While the show didn’t bust ‘em up in the ratings department, it still had a decent first season that many enjoyed (and it got progressively better once it found its footing).

Other shows that have been dropped include the long running Brothers and Sisters, which had a loyal fan base, but increasing production costs. Michael Imperioli starrer Detroit 187 was also cut, meaning that ABC’s entire Tuesday slate is now clear (with NOF and V gone). The network also decided it had enough of Matthew Perry’s Mr. Sunshine and medical drama Off The Map.

It’s hard to blame the network for sour ratings, though in some cases, the scheduling sure did tamper with viewership. V, in particular, had an abnormal run in both of its seasons, with long breaks and few episodes airing in contiguous weeks. But, in the current gloomy economic climate with waning advertising dollars, networks are quicker to prune the dead weight and plant new seeds.

Will you shed a tear for any of these shows?

‘No Ordinary Family’ Season 1 Episode 20 Review: No Ordinary Beginning (Season Finale)

Tonight’s season finale, possibly the series finale of No Ordinary Family did not disappoint. The twists and turns were more than ordinary and brought life or death emotions to the forefront.

After finding Mr. Litchfield (Jason Anton) murdered in the classroom, Jim (Michael Chiklis) and George (Romany Malco) attempt to warn J.J. (Jimmy Bennett) about being in danger. Unfortunately, the same super who electrocuted Litchfield to death was able to kidnap J.J. for Mrs X (guest star, Lucy Lawless). It’s always exciting to watch a character that will go to no end in order to get what they want, good or bad. Although having just being introduced to Mrs X. a couple of episodes ago, it has been hard to respect her game plan. Taking someone seriously who has a pack of guards behind her is easy but she never stood a chance against the Powells. The mysterious factor about her ended up giving this character the lack of depth that was needed to even acknowledge her as a top threat. She can build an army but if her motive is just power (and for what?), she’s sure to be burned time and time again.

What did turn out to be quite a revealing moment actually came from Dr. King (Stephen Collins) after he was given serum by Stephanie (Julie Benz). It was never clear if Dr. King was the good guy, kind of like it was never clear if HRG was good or bad on Heroes. So to find out that Dr. King was cheating death…it shows the most vulnerable side we may ever see of him. What a thrill it brought to get to know the meaning behind the motive. Although hiding his intentions the entire time from the Powell family is still quite bothersome. With Dr. King knowing about Mrs. X’s ulterior motives for the serum long before the Powells, he could have had the Powells playing both sides the entire time. There could have been a great army against Mrs X and that could have been what led up to the season one finale. Now Mrs. X is ahead in the game!

Dr. King did get hero points for saving powerless J.J., Daphne (Kay Panabaker – who barely got any screen time tonight), and Stephanie. But they were quickly taken away when he shot Jim. This was a surprisingly shocking moment, given all that he did for the Powells in this episode…granted, he was trying to survive. The writing was great in No Ordinary Family…until Dr. King declared his love for Stephanie. What a sickening moment! What a seriously disturbed mind Dr. King must have. Sure, he was invincible but at what cost? In the end, his twisted mind led to his demise and rightfully so. That sudden declaration of love was highly unnecessary and out of character and odd. Otherwise, this episode brought quite a number of enjoyable revelations and twists.

As for the sidekicks…Showing Joshua (Josh Stewart) returning to Katie’s (Autumn Reeser) apartment before showing the real Joshua imprisoned with J.J. was such a clever move! This was revealed very well, even while knowing that the now conscious Victoria (guest star, Rebecca Mader) had to be of more use to Mrs X. Even with Victoria failing in her mission, her actions caused George to get his own powers! Not showing what his powers were was a very smart addition to the fine cliffhanger at hand. And with the birth of Katie and Joshua’s baby boy, Joshua back in Katie’s life, and the government calling on the Powells for help…the Powells and co. can now officially put the super in super hero!

While the finale did not leave a bundle of unanswered questions (thankfully), it has left quite a wide space open for possibilities. Whether or not No Ordinary Family comes back, the Powells’ new life working for the government is bound to be much less ordinary than they could ever anticipate. The finale may or may not be your favorite episode, but watching the journey up to this point has been extraordinary. The writers have done a solid job all season long mixing so many elements to bring so many different audiences together. What was created last year and ended tonight was a memorable family drama that not too many networks can say they have made today. That’s not ordinary. That’s brilliant.

‘No Ordinary Family’ Episode 1.19 Review – No Ordinary Future Lacking Finale Build-up

Last night’s episode of No Ordinary Family did not live up to the hype of its futuristic promo.

After running into the future three times, Stephanie Powell (Julie Benz) warns her family about the terrible path that she saw the family nearing. What initially is less than 2 days to change the fate ahead turns into just a few hours until one of the Powells exposes the family on live television. It all comes down to what takes place at City Square one evening and what Stephanie sees ahead is not good.

Once Detective Frank Cordero (Guillermo Diaz) is murdered by a drive by shooter, George (Romany Malco) and Jim (Michael Chiklis) aid in finding the man responsible for the murder not realizing that the next day’s memorial service at City Square could be the end of their lives as they know it. The murder case involves dirty cops. What a surprise. Guillermo Diaz is such a versatile actor that was put to such waste on this show, so it was difficult to see his character leave this way. Sure, Cordero wasn’t the most well liked character on the force, but he deserved a better send off. It all seemed so cheap and rushed just so that it could be the setting for where Jim almost exposes the family.

With the help of J.J. (Jimmy Bennett) and Daphne’s (Kay Panabaker) powers, Jim and the kids are able to stop the dirty cop from taking down George at the service and Jim from exposing their powers. Daphne still comes out a martyr in the end by unintentionally killing her relationship with Chris (Luke Kleintank). After her parents find out about the advancement in her powers, Daphne is encouraged to wipe Chris’ mind like Josh did to her before. But instead of just making Chris forget about her powers, he also forgets about their relationship. This was the most hard hitting emotional twist of the season and just may have saved this mediocre episode.

Meanwhile, Mr. Litchfield (Jason Anton) is missing and Mrs. X (guest star, Lucy Lawless) has revived shape shifter, Victoria (Rebecca Mader) from the dead. Victoria’s orders are to get close to Katie (Autumn Reeser) in order to steal and raise her unborn baby which is as ridiculously predictable as it gets. What a disappointment. This show has found a way to keep its viewers on their toes all season long only to lay out incredibly predictable and unoriginal story lines in the end. This is a bad sign for what to expect in the season finale.

“No Ordinary Future” moved at an incredibly slow pace with much less action than anticipated and not nearly enough of a build up to the season finale. The Powells should have been exposed to some extent rather than none at all by the end of the episode. Without that anxiety running through the veins right before the big showdown, an episode like this falls flat and is only memorable because of this factor. “No Ordinary Future” was one extra ordinary episode and for that, viewers can only hope that the season finale, most likely the series finale, will live up to the show’s original potential. No Ordinary Family started off mighty strong, hopefully it will end just as strong and smarter than ever.

Watch the season finale of No Ordinary Family Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 8/7c on ABC.

No Ordinary Family Season 1 Episode 18 Review: No Ordinary Animal

After a woman is murdered in the park by Lucas Winnick (guest star Eric Balfour), Jim (Michael Chiklis), Stephanie (Julie Benz), and George (Romany Malco) are on a mission to catch the killer, who they suspect to be a super.

What they don’t know is that Lucas has begun his “super” hit list task that Mrs. X (guest star, Lucy Lawless) assigned. Since Mrs. X is Dr. King’s (Stephen Collins) boss, it comes as no surprise that the Powells are on the list! But before heading to the Powell household, Lucas arrives at Katie’s (Autumn Reeser) apartment searching for Joshua (Josh Stewart). The powers that he senses don’t get him any closer to his target.

“How the hell do I have powers?” – Katie

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The latest in the clan to receive powers is Stephanie’s sidekick, Katie…or more specifically, the baby she is now pregnant with! What an incredible surprise! Telekinesis is a fascinating power to see (Charmed fans know). Katie has such a quirky factor about her already, so to watch her trying to put a handle on these powers will be very entertaining. However, with No Ordinary Family heading to this Saturday night at 10/9c before its season finale on April 5, 2011, viewers will most likely never get to see Katie have her baby, raise her child as a single mom, or find love again. Typically, when shows are moved to a Saturday night, it is the number one sign of a series being cancelled. Therefore, the next two episodes of the season could be it for the series. So the big question is…is there still time for George to get a power?

Anyway, there is a relationship that is growing on the show, which includes Daphne and her boyfriend, Chris (Luke Kleintank). Although Chris has proven himself time and time again to be a dishonest person. He consistently does the wrong thing for the right reason. At least the writing is consistent, right?

As the day begins for the kids, Chris blackmails J.J. so the two love birds can skip school for a Sara Bareilles music video shoot at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Daphne did not want to skip school, which says a lot about her character but the fact that she was so easily persuaded says a lot about how strong she is in her decision making. This isn’t the first time that she doubts her initial suspicions. The second time this takes place in the episode happens when Daphne is lured away from the music video set by Lucas. Luckily, Jim jumps his way to her in time to protect her but that can’t always be the case. The graphics were quite rushed in that fight scene by the way. Anyway, Daphne is clearly much smarter than what was displayed in this episode. Usually when Daphne is doubtful, she will use her powers. Not this time and that was very out of character for her. Hopefully after what Daphne went through this week, she’ll be more stern in her decision making. Otherwise, not following her gut could get her killed.

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Daphne did use her powers to read Mr. Litchfield’s (Jason Anton) mind after she handed him a problem that J.J. solved for him. So she is willing to use her powers for other people but doesn’t think to use them at all for herself. That’s unfortunate. With only two episodes left of the season and the solution now in Dr. King’s possession, hopefully Mr. Litchfield won’t get caught in the cross hairs of what’s next for the Powells. The Powells have enough weaknesses as it is and unnecessary sacrifices would not make things any easier. The fight for survival and keeping the family secret under wraps is more important than ever, so every Powell, sidekick, and puppet had better be prepared.

Now having gotten away from Lucas, Katie heads to Stephanie for answers. Together, the adults identify the killer in time to protect the kids. Unfortunately Lucas strikes Stephanie who can’t seem to heal herself correctly after getting an infection. This was a refreshing twist because viewers know what Jim’s Achilles heal is, and until now it seemed that Stephanie could get off Scott free. That is clearly not the case.

So finally, a moment that viewers have been waiting for all season long comes in the most unexpected way possible! Jim carries Stephanie into Dr. King’s (Stephen Collins) office for help as he lets Dr. King know that they know about his agenda. Now knowing that the Powells are indeed onto him, what happens next definitely cannot be predicted. A nice twist would be for Dr. King to play both sides while truly helping the Powells and leaving Mrs. X to be the sole villain.

The big reveal of the night came after Stephanie went out for a run after recovering for just a short time, only to disintegrate! The serum that Dr. King used to heal Stephanie had quite an affect on her and what a life saving affect it may turn out to be.

The writers definitely know how to create great cliffhangers and heighten the drama week after week! While this episode may not have been at as fast a pace as previous episodes, it set up for so much. Based on the actions of the Powells in “No Ordinary Animal,” the next episode should be called “No Ordinary Responsibility,” because each member of the Powell family definitely needs to take more initiative in their gut feelings and suspicions if they want to get down to business in a more timely manner. Everyone had animal like characteristics in this episode, not just Lucas. But it takes the right ones to come out on top in the end.

Watch an all new No Ordinary Family this Saturday at 10/9c on ABC.

Michael Chiklis to Headline Conan O’Brien’s pilot ‘Vince Uncensored’

Michael Chiklis is moving from drama to comedy.

The No Ordinary Family star has signed on as the lead role in Vince Uncensored, a CBS comedy pilot that is being executive produced by Conan O’Brien and David Kissinger.

The new show is said to center on a man who decides to take a more honest approach to life after a life-changing experience.

So what does this mean for No Ordinary Family? Here’s a hint: it’s not good news at all. While it’s not impossible that Chiklis could shoot both shows, you can bet on NOF being dead in the water after this first season. It’s had anemic ratings after its strong September debut and going head-to-head against Fox’s Glee and CBS’ NCIS hasn’t really helped it any. This is quite unfortunate; it was one of the more unique new shows of the Fall TV season and has been loads of fun to watch. And Chiklis, in particular, seemed to be having a ton of fun with the role of Jim Powell, a police sketch artist who gains superpowers after a plane crash. It’s too bad that he might not be able to save the show from a certain cancellation.

No Ordinary Family Episode 1.17 Review: No Ordinary Love – Time for More Therapy

It’s game night in the Powell household on No Ordinary Family, with a broken hearted and annoyingly chipper Katie (Autumn Reeser). But fun and games are sidestepped when George (Romany Malco) calls Jim (Michael Chiklis) in to be a hero at a nearby pharmacy robbery.

The next day, Jim and George are discussing the robbery at work when Sophie (Tricia Helfer, Battlestar Galactica) introduces herself to George once alone in his office. She introduces herself as a friend instead of a lawyer in the case and charms her way into George’s personal life. That was George’s first mistake, not finding out exactly who Sophie was and what her clear goals were in coming to the police station.

Things aren’t any safer at Stephanie’s job when Dr. King wants Stephanie to inject one of his dying patients, Lucas Winnick (Eric Balfour) with the serum that could turn him into a “Super”. She follows Dr. King’s request to maintain his trust but is not in the least bit comfortable with the situation.

While her parents are at work, Daphne (Kay Panabaker) is at school using her powers to push her teacher into not giving her boyfriend, Chris detention. The safety of her family is threatened when Chris notices how easy it was for Daphne to get her way. When he does ask about how well she got her way later in the day, she pushes him to stop asking questions and he does. J.J. (Jimmy Bennett) warns Daphne that Chris’ memory will come back, and Chris won’t stop asking and he is right!

The next day throughout and after school, Daphne finds herself pushing Chris’ suspicions about her family’s abilities out of his mind over and over and over again. It’s courageous of Daphne to try to think that she could protect her family all by herself in pushing thoughts out of people’s minds but that can only last for so long. So she finally comes to tell Chris the truth about her family having abilities and he reacts calmly to the news and accepts her with a kiss. If Chris doesn’t pull any stunts like he did before, stealing any serum, he just might be a keeper!

After work, George lets himself into Sophie’s home for their date and it doesn’t take long for Sophie to put him under her spell. Before long, George is seen forcing a pharmacist at gunpoint to bag his full cart of cough syrup. Now why would George need all of this medicine?

When Jim finds out about the robbery and jumps to the pharmacy, George is long gone but the pharmacist gives Jim a description of what appears to be George. But when Jim confronts George the next day, both guys are still unaware that George is under a spell and is being controlled. It takes a bit longer than expected for Jim to really act on his suspicions though and that is quite frustrating, not to mention unsettling.

Night falls when Stephanie and Jim go on a double date with George and Sophie. Jim senses how manipulative Sophie is and pulls George aside to warn him but upset at the accusations, George decides to end the double date. Before he and Sophie leave the restaurant, Sophie kisses Jim on the cheek goodbye and her powers take him over! Just when Jim was getting closer to the truth, it’s all thrown in the back of his mind with Sophie in the forefront! What an unfortunate disaster.

Once at home and getting ready for bed, Stephanie and Jim take some time to talk about the double date in which Jim announces that he has changed his mind about Sophie and actually thinks that she is the most beautiful woman he has seen in his life. If Stephanie was concerned about Jim’s sudden change of heart just a few moments earlier, she should have really been then. Sometimes Stephanie’s lack of determination to get down to what is truly going on is disappointing. For a fast woman, she is very slow in seeing the whole truth.

The next day, Jim brings flowers to Sophie at the very same time that George arrives at Sophie’s door with the same gesture. The two men argue over their love – yes, their love for Sophie until Jim knocks George out. Sophie makes her move and tells Jim to steal for her. He does exactly as she says before going home for dinner. Though Jim isn’t home for long once Sophie calls to summon him. As Jim is heading out the door, Daphne reads his mind and tells Stephanie that Jim is going to see Sophie. Thank goodness for Daphne. It seems she is more driven to get down to the truth than Stephanie is. Though once Stephanie is made aware of this news, she follows her husband to figure out what is going on. Unfortunately, Stephanie is in for quite a surprise when she spots Sophie and Jim in a passionate kiss.

When Jim comes home and is confronted by Stephanie, he proclaims his love for Sophie which sends him out the door, threatening the marriage. This is a very interesting moment for Stephanie because it’s almost as if she was willing to let Jim go until he figured out what was wrong with him instead of helping Jim figure out what the problem was. It says a lot about her character and what she is willing to put into this relationship. She has come a long way since the family got their powers but she still has a way to go.

Having been kicked out of his house, the new lovebird decides to crash at George’s house for the night, but not without an explanation. The only problem with Jim’s story is, George has no idea who Sophie is! It seems he has forgotten all about her, with the spell having worn off. So the next morning, when George goes to J.J. to get some answers, the two figure out that George was under Sophie’s love spell just as Jim is under now. Without hesitation, the boys head to Sophie’s apartment for answers to this mysterious and dangerous woman.

“Your brain is so beautiful.” – George

After George and J.J. break into the apartment, they discover all of the ingredients that Sophie is using to make…a bomb. While the two are at Sophie’s apartment, Sophie is out giving Jim more kisses and instructions. When George and J.J. finally warn Stephanie about Jim being controlled by Sophie and his whereabouts, Stephanie finds Jim outside of her workplace activating the bomb. She gives the predictable heartfelt “Do the right thing” speech before kissing Jim like never before. The kiss seals the deal between the two and breaks the love spell but it doesn’t stop the bomb.

With little time left on the bomb, Jim hurls the bomb in the air right before it goes off. Having failed her mission, Sophie reports the mishap to her boss, Mrs. X (Lucy Lawless, Xena: Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica). Mrs. X doesn’t express her disappointment in words as much as she does with her actions, leaving a bomb to go off under Sophie’s car. Who is this woman?

The next day at work, Stephanie finds out that the patient she injected was on death row for killing four people and was transferred to another location. Little does anyone know, the patient and his Wolverine like powers are actually meeting with Dr. King. But when Lucas leaves the office, Mrs. X pulls up in her limousine and offers him a job.

This episode seemed to run at a much faster pace than previous episodes which is funny considering Stephanie did not use her speedy powers as much. Not to mention, J.J.’s powers were not featured as much nor was his unordinary love life. From everything that has happened in this episode, there seems to be a lot to look forward to with Daphne and Chris moving on in a completely honest relationship. Based on both Stephanie and Jim’s actions, it goes without saying that these two have a lot to work on. We haven’t seem them in therapy in awhile so it is definitely time for the two to go back.

Watch No Ordinary Family Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.

*Photos by Adam Larkey and Karen Neal

No Ordinary Family Series Premiere Review (Season 1, Episode 1)

Average, everyday people become genetically mutated heroes with superpowers. If that premise sounds familiar, it’s because it is. From comics to film to television, the superpowers shtick is far from uncharted territory. No Ordinary Family, ABC’s new drama, which premiered last night, treads on this very familiar ground, though it may offer just enough light and family-friendly entertainment to make its mark this television season.

Show co-creator Greg Berlanti told BuzzFocus at Comic-Con that No Ordinary Family is like no other family show you’ve seen before. This claim is somewhat true, though there’s no denying the obvious influence of The Incredibles and other superhero tales. Michael Chiklis (who played The Thing in the similarly themed Fantastic Four movies) is patriarch Jim of the Powell family. He’s a regular, slightly emasculated guy that’s just an average police sketch artist. He’s a bit disappointed with where his career has turned out. Jim’s married to Stephanie (Julie Benz), a brilliant scientist that is just way too busy for her own (and her family’s) good. The couple has two kids, teenage Daphne (Kay Panabaker) and JJ (Jimmy Bennett), the former being the typical bratty socially-involved girl and the latter being an intellectually challenged.

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Jim, frustrated that the family is quickly falling apart and have been too busy for each other recently, organizes a family trip to Brazil. En route, they crash into the Amazon River, but are able to escape without a scratch. Their airplane’s pilot? Not so lucky. After the harrowing experience, they recover amazingly quickly and return home only to find out that something is different; they all have superpowers.

You can probably guess what happens next. The characters start freaking out to their newfound abilities and try them out in the most suicidal ways possible. Jim instinctively jumps in front of a bullet to save a colleague, just before jumping off of a building to see if he’ll survive. Stephanie runs on a six-lane freeway to avoid being late to a meeting. All of this is far from groundbreaking material. What NOF does have working for it is that it offers a relatable family, with characters that people can relate to. Interspersed in all of that family drama is some light and fun humor. The show also subscribes to the now overdone mockumentary format, though the fourth wall breakage is later attributed to the Powell’s hashing out their marital woes in a therapy session.

The good thing is that the series doesn’t take itself too seriously, steering clear of the convoluted, time-traveling direction that NBC’s superhero drama Heroes dared to take us in. However, as NOF does its best to establish relatable ground for viewers, it needs to be careful that the superpowers aspect is the sideshow and the story is the main attraction. Granted, the pilot episode featured a lot of set up, the characters themselves need to break out of their archetypical molds. Chiklis and Benz are just as likable as ever, but the writers will need to spice things up if we’re to truly care what happens to this dysfunctional family.

The second episode will be a huge tell as to whether or not this show will sink or swim. With an unknown threat from Stephanie’s boss looming overhead, the series will push itself past the origin story and settle into its steady state. Keeping things simple and fun is where No Ordinary Family can distinguish itself. If it does that, then it certainly has a chance. If it swims the treacherous waters of the cliched, selling the superpowers angle as its only trick, then it will not last long.

You can catch new episodes of No Ordinary Family on Tuesdays at 8/7C on ABC.

Exclusive Interview: Greg Berlanti : Co-Creator of No Ordinary Family

We caught up with TV veteran Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, Eli Stone) at Comic-Con last week, who was on-hand to speak about his new show No Ordinary Family.

As Mr. Berlanti coins it, the show is “a family show you’ve never seen before.” He speaks a little bit about the genesis of the show and co-authoring the idea with executive producer Jon Feldman. Besides that, he mentions that it’s closer to the Spider-man movies in terms of tone (as opposed to The Dark Knight) and he also lets us know that the show has a little bit more action than you’d think it would.

Take a look at the interview below:

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No Ordinary Family debuts on ABC this fall.

Exclusive Interview: No Ordinary Family Co-Creator Jon Feldman

We recently spoke to No Ordinary Family co-creator and executive producer, Jon Feldman, a TV veteran whose credits include projects like The Wonder Years, Dawson’s Creek and Dirty Sexy Money.

Mr. Feldman, who co-wrote the pilot with executive producer Greg Berlanti, gives us a rundown of the new show and why it is going to be interesting to see the Powell family react to their new superpowers. He also goes on to mention that it’s a fun environment because of the talent they’ve assembled to produce the show. Check out the interview below.

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No Ordinary Family debuts on ABC this fall.