Fall Preview ‘10: NO ORDINARY FAMILY

You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we give you the scoop on some of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, with today’s focus being ABC’s NO ORDINARY FAMILY.

The Boilerplate: Since these pilot presentations may go through numerous rewrites and casting changes prior to premiere, this by no means should be considered an official review. Rather a preview of what one can expect come Fall.

The Elevator Pitch: If The Incredibles had an origin story, this would be it.

The Plot: The Powells are about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. After 16 years of marriage, Jim and Stephanie’s relationship lacks the spark it once had, and their family life now consists of balancing work and their two children, leaving little time for family bonding. During a family vacation set up by Jim in an attempt to reconnect, their plane crashes into the Amazon River. But this is where the fun starts for the Powells, as they soon discover that something’s not quite right. Each of them now possesses unique and distinct superpowers. But saving and savoring their family life will be equally important, as they try to find purpose for their new powers and embark on a journey to find out what defines and unifies them.

The Snap Judgment: Worried that ordinary people discovering they have extraordinary abilities sounds somewhat eerily reminiscent of that recently canceled NBC series on the same subject? Well, don’t be. Because what could have very easily come off as a HEROES retread is anything but thanks in no small part to some fantastic performances by Powell parents Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz (both of whom, spoiler alert, inexplicably seem to get better with age!), their very non-Hollywood TV offspring (Played by Jimmy Bennett and Kay Panabaker), and of course ABC’s not-so-secret weapon that is executive producer Greg Brelanti. Indeed, the man behind such TV Addict favorites like EVERWOOD, JACK & BOBBY, and ELI STONE is back. What’s more, he is firing on all cylinders. Grounding a somewhat far-fetched concept (Julie Benz is The Flash!) with enough genuinely believable family drama (Evidently, Panabaker’s daughter Daphne went to the Ephram Brown school of “Family Confrontations”) and light-hearted moments (Remarks an understandably disappointed JJ when his powers fail to manifest themselves, “Oh talking about your new cool powers? Well keep me updated on the costume design.”) that we’re confident that no ordinary family is destined to become no ordinary drama.

The Verdict: Superpowers, THE OC’s Autumn Reeser in a supporting role and a surprise appearance by one of our favorite EVERWOOD alumni that we have yet to mention! Do you really have to ask?

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  • Agree with everything you said. Love that it's first and foremost a family drama. I love that there's no complicated mythology. I believe the reason for dismissing the Tate Donovan charcter was because his character was suppossed to be involved in a twist ending that I assume was going to create some dark mythology. I think it was very smart for the pilot just to end on the family. I agree with you, great performances and the beauty that is Greg Berlanti make this a special show, IMHO.

    I think your review nails all the unique aspects of it. (I enjoyed the special uncredited Berlanti alumn too)

  • athena0606

    omg soo excited for this love Julie Benz since BTVS will watch her in anything add to that that this actually looks and sounds good. I just hope that ABC gives it a fighting chance to many shows are pulled to quickly these days.

  • Greg Brelanti created some of my favorite family shows. Everwood & Jack & Bobby. So sign me up! Because I love Greg Berlanti!