This marked a turning point for the superhero drama, with the revelation of big secrets kept by the family, and the stronger emergence of its mythology. "No Ordinary Quake" made me more confident about No Ordinary Family going forward, which feels like it's taken the Bennet family from Heroes and given them ALL super-powers. In so doing, the show's likely to avoid the trap Heroes fell into (characters becoming mere playthings for the mythology), by keeping its fanciful nature rooted in everyday issues and relationships.
I quite like how the show divvies up its storylines, as there hasn't really been a truly awful subplot on the series so far, and the weaker elements never overwhelm things. It feels like you're always less than five minutes away from a funny or entertaining sequence, and the performances are becoming tighter the more the cast get to know each other. Chiklis was especially good in a man-to-man chat with JJ in the locker room before his big game. Benz's character is something of a killjoy right now, as she isn't keen to use their powers to benefit anyone, but the actress is too likeable for Stephanie to become as annoying as she might be. And it remains true that Romany Malco and Autumn Reeser are really enjoyable and personable actors, making the most of small roles.
Personally, I still think No Ordinary Family's too lightweight to appeal to a broader audience, as Heroes once did, but it's an agreeable series that's nicely acted and has a warm charm you can't help responding to. A lot of that's down to the cast and tone, so who knows what might develop if the stories start to take some risks...
WRITERS: Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer
DIRECTOR: Timothy Busfield
TRANSMISSION: 26 October 2010, ABC, 8/7c