Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: No Ordinary Family

It's time once again to focus on a forgotten/neglected/overlooked feast for the eyes and ears, as is proper for a Tuesday.  My selection today, I believe, certainly qualifies, even though it's a TV series that is technically still on the air--if only for one more week.

No Ordinary Family is an ABC network series starring Michael Chiklis (The Commish, The Shield) and Julie Benz (Desperate Housewives, Dexter) as Jim and Stephanie Powell, two earnest parents of teen daughter Daphne and son J.J.  As the series opens, the family is growing apart and in a state of malaise, until a trip to Brazil for Stephanie's scientific research job bestows super powers to the entire brood.  Jim gets super stength and invulnerability, Stephanie super speed, Daphne the ability to read minds, and J.J. becomes super smart. In a series about super heroes, however, there are bound to be super villians, who seem to come out of nowhere, until the mystery as to their origin becomes clearer as the season progresses.

Ratings for the season started out OK, at least well enough that ABC ordered a full 22-episode season early on.  However, tough competition from NCIS, American Idol, and The Biggest Loser wore the ratings down, and the season was shortened from 22 to 20 episodes.  Although there is no official word on the future of the series from ABC, signs all but confirm the show's demise.  Chiklis and Benz are already signed on to pilots for CBS (although they have the option to back out if Family is picked up), and the most recent first-run episode aired this past Saturday night at 10, a funeral knell if there ever was one for a show's cancellation.

I find it a shame that the series couldn't last beyond the first season.  Although the writing wasn't perfect (scripts sometimes took awkward turns to advance certain plot points), the quality really kicked into high gear the last couple of months, as viewers learned more about the conspiracy behind the source of the super powers.  I'm very curious to see what they could have done going forward.  Alas, it looks not to be.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet (don't tell me it's science, it's magic, people!), you can still catch some episodes of the series on ABC's Web site in preparation of the season (series?) finale next Tuesday, April 5th.  Please give it a try if you can.

For more overlooked A/V masterpieces, click here.  Thanks!


BDS said...

ABC are idiots if they cancel this show. It is all you said and more. The fact they they digressed from the freak of the week formula was awesome. some weeks we got normal criminals for Jim to face. The whole show deserves better. Every good show gets canceled, it isn't right.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Thanks BDS. I wish that ABC would have at least tried a new timeslot. It was up against three of the biggest shows on TV.

Todd Mason said...

ABC has been particularly quick to kill off promising series over the last decade, even when they have performed (see SAMANTHA WHO?), so the Disney overlords might strike down yet another fine flower...and, really, Brian...Julie Benz as DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES costar? No, no, no...Darla, on both BUFFY and ANGEL, man...

BDS said...

Julie Benz was really cool as Darla.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Todd/BDS: I'm a "bad" geek for many reasons, but one major reason: I've only seen one episode of Buffy in my life, and no episodes of Angel. Blasphemy!


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