I have been seeing the ads on ABC for a few weeks for the new show No Ordinary Family. After learning that the show is about a family who gets super powers, I decided that I wanted to check the show out. I tend to really enjoy movies, shows, and books that deal with superheroes in some way.
There will be a few minor spoilers, so read at your own risk if you intend to watch this episode but haven’t yet.
At first, the Powell family is very much like a typical, normal family. Jim and Stephanie have been married and have two teenage children, J.J. and Daphne. Things may look good on the surface, but the family has started drifting apart and has issues. Jim is concerned and hopes that the family can reconnect when they go on a trip to Brazil. Things don’t go as he’d hoped, culminating in their small plane crashing. Thankfully, the family survives.
Once they are back home, Jim is still trying to get the family to connect while the others are busy with their own things. Stephanie is working such long hours that she barely knows what is going on with anyone. Jim is shocked when he discovers his new super strength. He tells his friend George, who is an assistant district attorney, and the two men start plotting how Jim can use his new abilities. When Stephanie discovers that she has super speed, she confides in Katie, a lab tech she works with. Daphne ends up being able to read minds, something that really freaks her out. J.J., who is struggling with a learning disability, is the only one without any abilities at that point. By the end of the episode, he seems to be turning into some kind of genius.
The bulk of this first episode is focused on the members of the family getting powers, learning they have them, and then trying to deal with the implications. The episode works as a decent origin story, explaining things while also leaving all kinds of possibilities open for the future. The way the characters discover their new abilities happens in a way that seems really natural. Most of what happens isn’t realistic, but it still works and makes the show interesting and entertaining. While the abilities aren’t original since they have been used in so many other movies or comic books, they do work with what is going on. A bit of action turns up as Jim and Stephenie test out their powers. There is also a bit of mystery to a few things that I think will slowly be dealt with as the season progresses.
Even after the family learns that they have new abilities, they still have problems to deal with. Suddenly turning into superheroes doesn’t magically solve anything for them. In fact, it raises some new problems. I like that the real life problems they had to begin with are still there. Hopefully they will continue to deal with those things as the series continues. I think it is good that the characters have to deal with these normal type problems in addition to things died to the powers. That element should make the show stronger.
Jim and Stephanie make a believable married couple who still care for each other, but have drifted apart because of other issues. Things are set up with them being a blissfully happy couple with no problems, something else that I think helps to make the show stronger. Michael Chiklis, who is no stranger to playing a superhero thanks to his roles in the Fantastic Four movies, plays Jim. I never saw The Shield, but I have a feeling this part is really different from the one he had in that show. Julie Benz plays Stephanie in a believable way. She and Chiklis also seem believable as a married couple. Kay Panabaker and Jimmy Bennet do well as J.J. and Daphne. I did like Romany Malco as George. He really enjoys things after getting over the shock. George sort of seems to be a bit like Alfred to me. Autumn Reeser does fine as Katie even though she doesn’t have a lot to do yet. Stephen Collins is playing Stephanie’s boss, Dr. Dayton King. It looks like he may have a few secrets that could be very interesting.
The first episode of No Ordinary Family works well to start the series. There are explanations for some things while some other things are also left unresolved for now. The show has a good foundation and has the potential to be a really entertaining family friendly show featuring superheroes. The show is a bit different from what I expected, but I really liked it overall and am planning to continue to watch it.
No Ordinary Family IMDB page