No Ordinary Family (ABC – Premieres Tuesday, September 28th – 8PM/7PM Central)
No Ordinary Family starts out normal enough: scenes of a typical American family that doesn’t have enough time for each other and struggles to communicate effectively.
Dad, Jim Powell, played by Michael Chiklis (ummm… amazing in The Sheild, Fantastic Four) wants the family to take a vacation together. They haven’t done so in three years. Despite the protests from the rest of the family, they go. Next thing you know, they’re dropped in an Amazonian body of water, they come back home and the extra-ordinary part ensues.
Mom, Dr. Stephanie Powell, (Julie Benz – whose Rita made me nuts in Dexter, but shines here) is a top researcher working eighty hours a week at job she loves and is great at, but feels guilty about the time spent away from home and family. Jim is a failed artist who now is drawing sketches for the police department and is best friends with the D.A., George St. Cloud (Romany Malco – loved him in Weeds). Daughter, Daphne, (Kay Panabaker – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) is trying to navigate the shark-filled waters of high school and first love. While J.J. (Jimmy Bennet – Poseidon, Star Trek) is a classic under-achiever in a family of over-achievers and never feels up to snuff due to a learning disability.
I really don’t want to give too much away, but I’m assuming you already know from ABC’s trailers that there was more to the Amazonian water than just creepy fish and each Powell develops a unique ability. This first episode shows their abilities emerging and their efforts to quantify those powers.
It’s apparent there is an underlying season-long type mystery at work here, but I don’t think the show will go down the path of previous series by becoming too mythological (Lost) or too jumbled (Heroes). I think this is a show where clues are dropped, but each episode will satisfy with a wrapped up story thread.
The main reason I believe No Ordinary Family will work is because at its heart it is about family interaction, warts and all. This is mainstream TV, so don’t expect Daphne to get knocked up or J.J. to become hooked on meth, but still, it’s not Leave it to Beaver.
The thing about the Powell’s is that they are an ordinary family and that might just be the best part about the show.