ABC sent me an invite to view the pilot for their upcoming drama No Ordinary Family. The show centers on the Powells, a typical American family whose members gain special abilities after their plane crash lands into the Amazon River. It stars The Shield’s Michael Chiklis and Dexter’s Julie Benz, as the parents, and Kay Panabaker and Jimmy Bennett, who portrayed the Powell children Daphne and JJ. The pilot also featured Stephen Collins, Tate Donovan, and Romany Malco.
The pilot was an enjoyable show. Think of the story being more The Incredibles than Heroes, which should work out well for the series. While the pilot was a little slow to start, once it got going it commanded my attention. It wasn’t long before we started seeing the first sign of powers among the family members. Normally, you have to wait until the very end of the pilot to get some kind of payoff, but not here. I suspect the show will move even faster as time goes on and there’s less backstory to explain, and that could make this show a lot of fun. What was also interesting is that it was filmed like a normal TV show but also contained scenes that were filmed mockumentary style (Chiklis and Benz are telling the story to a therapist who is sitting where the camera is) a la The Office and Modern Family. I hope they continue this style throughout the length of the series because of the mixture of the two styles works really well.
Michael Chiklis was fine in his role but the real surprise was Julie Benz. I don’t think I’m the only one that found her character from Dexter, Rita, to be completely annoying last season. On top of that, Benz completely overacted in the disaster of a film that was The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. She was much less annoying in this show and fit well with the rest of the cast. I think my favorite part about this cast is Romany Malco. I’ve missed him from Weeds the past few seasons and am happy to see him in another series. Even though the show revolves around the family, I think we’ll see him often as he plays Chiklis’ best friend and owner of the “secret lair.” If they expect to get any laughs from the series, I think he’ll deliver the most. In fact, while the pilot was not laugh inducing, Malco’s character provided me with a few under-the-breath chuckles.
Overall, if done correctly and given a chance, I think this could be a good show with a good 4-5 season run. I wasn’t planning on watching this show this fall but the pilot made it make my viewing list. You can watch No Ordinary Family starting Tuesday, September 28th, at 7pm Central.