Episode Reviews

No Ordinary Family Pilot

No Ordinary Family is about a typical dysfunctional family with their typical problems

"Family talks about their new powers"

No Ordinary Family was a show that I did not expect to get drawn into so quickly, but I believe that it has a lot of potential to be a big hit for this fall and beyond.

No Ordinary Family is about a typical dysfunctional family with their typical problems: Stephanie (Julie Benz, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), a workaholic mom who is never home; Jim (Michael Chiklis, The Shield), a sad and depressed father who feels the best years of his life have come and gone; Daphne (Kay Panabaker, Summerland), a emotional teenage daughter trying to make sense of her life; and JJ (Jimmy Bennett), a younger son that feels inferior to everyone and can’t seem to make life work right. The difference is that this family, after a near death experience with a plane crash in Brazil, now has a slew of different type of super powers.

Jim, akin to the protagonist of the video game Crackdown has super strength and near invincibility with the ability to leap from rooftop to rooftop. Stephanie, wanting to slow down her hectic life, finds herself with super speed, able to traverse at many hundreds of miles an hour. Daphne finds her self with the ability to read minds, making her deal with the never ending onslaught of mental criticism you can find in a typical high school. JJ, initially a bit challenged in school, seems to have find the ability to be hyper intelligent. All of their skills seem to be an unsurprising match for their personality and personal situations, which at first glance may seem a bit cliche, but can work in the long run.

In the pilot, we also quickly learn that they are not the only ones with these powers, as Jim’s first challenge is to fight a jewelry robber Reed Koblenz who has the ability to teleport similarly to Nightcrawler. The question I have is how did Reed gain his powers? Is the material in the river that they crashed in artificial and found in other places? What does this corporation know about these people and their powers?

I think the pilot episode was fairly strong overall, though I admit it felt a bit rushed and still didn’t go over JJ’s powers. There were a lot of time spent experimenting with Jim and Stephanie’s powers and building up their character backstories, where I think it would have worked better to see more of JJ’s powers instead. I’m not a very big fan of the “therapy session” motif either, as it makes the pacing a bit uneven. In the end though, it’s an interesting enough show that I’d give it at least another week’s look.

Other Thoughts

  • Jim isn’t complete invulnerable, as a high caliber bullet can hurt him. Was that due to getting shot in the back of the head or just that he has a limit?
  • Dr King and the company Stephanie works for obviously has dealings with these super types, but do they know about her and her family? Presumably if the material in the water was artificial, and they put it there, they would know about the plane crash.
  • It’s very similar to Pixar’s The Incredibles but with a bit more of an action movie flair.
  • How was Daphne texting while in a plane flying over Brazil?

By Kien Tran

Based in Dallas, Texas, Kien Tran is an avid television enthusiast. After spending hundreds of hours wasting away on a couch, he decided to actually do something creative with his hobby and created this very blog.

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