Friday, 25 February 2011

'NO ORDINARY FAMILY' 1.16 - "No Ordinary Proposal"

Friday, 25 February 2011

The writing's on the wall for ABC's underperforming superhero drama, which means it's a struggle to get enthused about it. As the season finale looms, "No Ordinary Proposal" at least spent time pushing the mytharc along, but the show isn't delivering fireworks from moments I thought would be cataclysmic (like Stephanie discovering Joshua erased her daughter's memory.) I'm therefore losing faith that No Ordinary Family is going to capitalize on the storylines it's juggling.

Joshua (Josh Stewart) proposed to Katie (Autumn Reeser), which inspired an engagement party at the Powell residence, where Daphne's (Kay Panabaker) friend Chris (Luke Kleintank) stole super-serum belonging to Stephanie (Julie Benz) to cure his irascible father Roy's (Anthony Michael Hall) paraplegia. The serum worked, but Roy wasn't content with his restored mobility and, realizing he also has super-strength, decided to rob ATM's across the city -- with his crime spree bringing him to the attention of Jim (Michael Chiklis) and George (Romany Malco). Meanwhile, Stephanie tested her anti-serum on Joshua so he can live a normal life with fiancé Katie; Jim accidentally hospitalized an innocent bystander after deflecting a gunman's bullet; and JJ (Jimmy Bennett) was blackmailed by his teacher Mr Litchfield (Jason Antoon) into joining the school's decathlon team.

I liked the idea of inadvertently creating a supervillain, particularly as Jim had to use his intellect to defeat someone with superior strength to his own. There was also a fun antithetical angle to the warring father's, with Roy being something of an ungrateful bully. The guy threw his own son through a window and didn't even stop to check he was okay, so he can't be expecting Father's Day cards. And having Jim learn boxing moves from George, to avoid Roy's attacks and gradually tire him out to gain the upper-hand, worked really well. It's always appreciated when a superhero has to use special tactics to defeat the week's villain.

Dr King (Stephen Collins) is also becoming good fun as the big bad, now he's forced to take matters into his own hands as there are no henchmen left to do his dirty work, and there was promise in the final scene when it was revealed he paid Mr Litchfield to have JJ solve a special equation. I predict the equation is something that will enable the permanency of Dr King's super-serum, as the show is hopefully edging towards Super-King vs the Powell clan.

Overall, "No Ordinary Proposal" had many flaws but it wasn't too bad. The breakup of Katie and Joshua (after she discovered he erased her memory) was rather muted given how long they've spent setting up this relationship, but that's partly because Stewart's hardly the most emotive of actors. When he smiles you wish he hadn't bothered trying. Still, seeing Joshua leave town on a coach, now without his super-powers because of the anti-serum's delayed reaction, makes me think he'll be back to help his ex-girlfriend when Dr King becomes a real threat.

A briefer review this week, which in itself summarized my feelings. What did you think?


  • I barely recognized Anthony Michael Hall as Roy. When Hall was appearing in TV's The Dead Zone he looked considerably different to his teenage '80s heyday in movies like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science, but it looks like he changes his appearance every five years!
written by Andrew Major & Emily Silver / directed by Stephen Surjik / 22 February 2011 / ABC