So the first week of the ‘10-‘11 season has come and gone and I’ve now seen all the pilots of the new season… AND the critics are right. This is the weakest season for new series in quite some time. There are some decent shows but there are very few that feel fresh and special and the ones that do, LONE STAR and TERRIERS, are unfortunately not burning up the ratings chart. And the former is facing the prospect it could be pulled after tonight’s airing – Please watch LONE STAR tonight.
There is one new show, however, that after the aforementioned FOX and FX series, I’d recommend. It’s ABCs NO ORDINARY FAMILY and it premieres tomorrow night.
At this point I’m pretty sure everyone gets the concept of the show. It’s actually one of the few ABC series this year that is easy to promote. Yes it is sort of a live action version of THE INCREDIBLES. However the comparisons to HEROES seem quite misplaced. Here’s why:
1) It’s not as dark.
2) It’s not as complicated
3) This is first and foremost a family drama.
That is what I think is key to the show’s success. It’s an amalgam of lots of different things – comic book show, cop procedural. Sci-fi, comedy, but above all else it’s a family drama. When you are doing a family drama it helps to have the right person steering the ship. No one is currently better at this, in my humble opinion, than co-creator, EP, Greg Berlanti. From EVERWOOD, to JACK AND BOBBY, to BROTHERS & SISTERS, I have been a fan of all his shows for their understated honesty.
NOH has a wonderful cast led by Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz who have a natural chemistry. Their kids, especially their son JJ, played by Jimmy Bennett seems like a real kid, not one of those “you only see on TV” types. The real secret weapons are supporting cast members Autumn Reeser and Romany Malco who brings much humor to every scene he’s in.
In a way, NOF does juggle many genres you have seen before, but they have never been encapsulated in a family drama and I believe the overall feel of the show is nothing we have seen before. It also seems like you could tune in any week and be entertained without worrying too much about following an overall mythology. It’s just fun, at least the pilot was.
Ratings Thoughts: I understand why ABC has scheduled the show for 8p as it feels like a show the whole family can watch together. Kids and adults alike should equally enjoy it and there aren’t many shows like that on TV anymore. Tuesdays at 8p is overcrowded with hits on every other net including the #1 demo show, GLEE, which also appeals to many demographics, though it’s primarily an 18-34 show. I have wondered why ABC wouldn’t schedule this at 9p after DWTS as there would seem to be more opportunity to find an audience with less competition. (Also GLEE launched at 9p last year and did fine). I also think it would provide a better lead in to Detroit 1-8-7 as that show is very male and DWTS is very female skewing, and NOF could bridge both shows quite well. But I guess it was important for ABC to schedule this show at 8p and I can see the argument being made for that. I guess realistically they don’t expect it to blow up immediately. I assume if it got a 3, and maintained that, they’d be thrilled.
They did put this pilot online for free, which I don’t quite understand, as they always maintained it was important for audiences to show up on premiere night and many people who might, have already seen it, but I guess they were just trying to drum up word of mouth. Still I wonder if that cuts into premiere night numbers especially with all that competition and especially GLEE which no one has seen in advance.