Fall Pilot Review – NO ORDINARY FAMILY on ABC

What? The Powells are about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. After 16 years of marriage, Jim feels disconnected from his workaholic wife, Stephanie, and two teenage children, Daphne and JJ. To encourage family bonding time, Jim decides the family will join Stephanie on her business trip to South America. When their plane crashes into the Amazon River, they barely enjoy a moment to celebrate their survival before returning to the grind of everyday life. But they will soon realize that their lives have been forever changed. Each member of the family starts to show signs of new, unique and distinct super powers. Will their newfound abilities finally bring them together or push them further apart?

Jim feels powerless as he realizes his life is not turning out the way he planned. His children are growing more independent, and his wife spends more time at the office than home as she rockets up the corporate ladder. His job as a police sketch artist only furthers his insecurities as he watches his peers fight crime and catch criminals. However, when Jim discovers that the plane crash left him with the power of super strength, he immediately feels a new sense of purpose and empowerment. With the aid of his best friend and confidant, George, he sets his sights on becoming a hero.

Stephanie struggles to balance her family life with working 80 hours a week as an award-winning scientist. Her boss and mentor, Dr. Dayton King, continues to guide and challenge Stephanie’s research in the lab. While fearful of never finding balance in her life, something remarkable happens. After the crash, she develops the power of speed, which allows her to move effortlessly through her daily responsibilities. Always the scientist, Stephanie immediately questions the phenomenon and demands answers. She entrusts her lab tech, Katie, with her secret, and the two begin to research the mystery behind the powers.

For 16-year-old Daphne and 14-year-old JJ, adolescence is hard enough. Daphne dreads distraction from her own fabulousness, but that’s exactly what happens when she turns telepathic. Daphne hears other people’s hopes, dreams, fears and joys, whether she cares to or not. Younger brother JJ struggles constantly to satisfy his parents and teachers as he grapples with a learning disability and bad grades. Already feeling inferior to his popular sister and brilliant mom, JJ hits a new low when everyone acquires powers except him – until suddenly JJ’s mental abilities strengthen to a super genius level. For the Powells, embarking on a mission to understand their new abilities becomes the key to rebuilding their family life, as they learn what defines and unifies them. Despite the fact they can collectively lift a car, run at lightning speed, read your mind and calculate the dimensions of the Eiffel Tower — all before you say “superhero” – they are first and foremost an average family with everyday problems.

Who? NO ORDINARY FAMILY stars Michael Chiklis as Jim, Julie Benz as Stephanie, Kay Panabaker as Daphne, and Jimmy Bennett as JJ.  Also stars Romany Malco as George, Autumn Reeser as Katie, and Stephen Collins as Dayton King.

Where/When? ABC, 8/7c Tuesdays.

Why (Why Not)? The show itself isn’t bad.  At the core, it’s about family, and the extra stuff like super powers aren’t as important as the fact that the teens are growing out of the family togetherness of it all, and Jim and Stephanie have fallen into a rut.  I like Michael Chiklis, but it’s hard to see him as a doting family man after the 7 seasons of Vic Mackey (yes, you can argue that he was Tony Scali long before that, but come on, that was a long time ago, and the brutality of Vic has replaced The Commish).  Julie Benz is just fine, Jimmy Bennet is just fine – nothing really to write home about.  Kay Panabaker continue to be one of the best young actresses on TV these days.  And who doesn’t love Romany Malco and Autumn Reeser?  What I liked most about the show is the idea that the Powells all learn about each other early on, so that they can actually show how the Powells are going to handle it, versus keeping secrets from each other.  Very smart on the writers parts, that this family can grow into their powers, together.  I enjoyed the show enough to definitely tune in for a second hour, just to see what happens once the super powers are out in the open, but I’m not sure, long term, this is a show for me.

How? A good show for the DVR.

One comment

  • I just watched this show today. I agree with you. I like the pilot and I’m looking forward to the next episode. It will be interesting to see if I continue to like it long term.