TV Review - No Ordinary Family ("Pilot")

Airs: Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC
Genre: Action Drama
The Set-Up: When their plane crashes during a family vacation in Brazil, an ordinary family turns extraordinary when they start discovering they have super powers.  Sketch artist Dad (Michael Chiklis) has super strength.  Workaholic Mom (Julie Benz) gains super speed.  Wallflower Daughter (Kay Panabaker) can read people's minds.  And learning deficient Son (Jimmy Bennett) becomes super smart.
The Good: Fans of The Incredibles and Fantastic Four should find something to like about the show.  Origin tales are always the most fun part of superhero lore.  The friendship between Chiklis' Jim Powell and Romany Malco's (The 40 Year-Old Virgin) George has potential and delivers the show's funniest moments - especially when George creates a lair with wi-fi for Jim.  The special effects are above average for network television.
The Bad: Quality-wise, No Ordinary Family is more Fantastic Four (the movie) than The Incredibles.  In fact, it pales in comparison to Pixar's take on essentially the same story.  The voiceover narration is cheesy and unnecessary.  What happens when their superpowers lose the initial thrill and we're stuck with a weekly ho-hum family drama?  Too many maudlin life lessons about the importance of family and being there for each other.  The kids are annoying.  Everyone's superpowers are too on the nose - Mom complains about having no time and needing to be everywhere at once; hence, super speed.  The show seems better suited to ABC Family.  Chiklis nipples - you never would have seen that on The Shield.
The Verdict: I'll give it another episode to see where it goes from here, but it's on a very short leash.  I like the concept, but creators Greg Berlanti and Jon Harmon Feldman don't seem to be the guys to pull it off.  If I need a superhero family fix, I'll just put on The Incredibles.  **1/2 stars.

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