Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No Ordinary Family "No Ordinary Beginning" Review

And so it ended as it began, with a plane crash that gave the passengers permanent superpowers. The government asked the Powell family to assist in their search of the passengers of the crashed flight, who disappeared from the site of the crash. Mrs. X's masterplan involved creating a super group of super villains for reasons not disclosed to the audience. Katie had the shortest pregnancy in the history of television shows, and the threat of Victoria disappeared as soon as Joshua politely asked her to leave the premises. The series ended without a bang but, rather, a whimper--and as ordinary and annoying as ever.

I don't know what I expected from the No Ordinary Family finale. I suppose I expected resolution to the primary arc of the season but the arc was a mess, and I never knew what the stakes were until the final twenty minutes of the episode when Mrs. X stated that she'd give 80 prisoners permanent powers. Why, you ask? Great question. Jon Harmon Feldman and company never bothered fleshing out Mrs. X or her motives. She wanted permanence for the powers and she'd kill to find out how to make that happen. Mrs. X's masterplan was lame though. If NOF received a second season, it'd just guarantee more super villains for the Powells to beat in a generic, predictable hour of television. I'm not surprised the masterplan allowed NOF to continue as a boring and unimaginative series, and I'm grateful that ABC cancelled the series. Of the many things NOF did badly, the number one thing was atrocious villains.

"No Ordinary Beginning" focused on two things: finding and saving JJ from the evil clutches of Mrs. X, and the birth of Katie's baby. Mrs. X needed JJ to figure out how to create permanence in the powers. She thought math held the answer when, in fact, a plane stocked with the serum and about to crash held the answer to her question. JJ uttered gibberish when Mrs. X threatened his sister's life and the gibberish made sense to Mrs. X who let Daphne live until she commanded her guards to kill the family. The moment answered the question that Stephanie once tried to find out before she became distracted: how did the Powells gain their powers? The answer was lame. Joshua stocked the company plane with the serum, and the family breathed in the serum when the plane caught fire. Something about the life and death situation made the powers permanent. The circumstances seem like a chance thing that couldn't be replicated. It's a shame Feldman and his writers chose to give so many other people superpowers because the original conceit of the show was that the Powells were special and not ordinary (every damn episode carried those two words). Now, they're no longer special. They're also entirely ordinary.

Jim, Stephanie and Daphne banded together to defeat any resistance they might encounter in pursuit of their son and brother. Daphne probably watch episodes twenty and twenty-one of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and decided that joining forces would be a swell idea. The Powells succeed for the most part until Mrs. X holds them captive but that lasts about 12 seconds. Dr. King takes over as the primary villain. He briefly performs good deeds for some reason before desire for Stephanie consumes him and he tries to murder Jim. Naturally, he fails. He keeps injecting himself with serum to become as powerful as the entire Powell family. JJ injects him with the antidote. Soon, he dies because he used the serum for 18 years to prevent the cancer inside him from killing him.

Honestly, nothing stands out from the episode. Things happen. The good guys win. The bad guys multiply but they won't win because the Powells have the government on their side. Katie gave birth to a son. Joshua re-entered her life, without powers, and the two are poised for years of domestic bliss. I had more fun writing about the series than I did watching the actual episode. Now, though, I'm just tired of No Ordinary Family. Good riddance, show.

Zack Estrin and Ali Adler wrote the script based on a story by Jon Harmon Feldman. The great Paul Edwards directed it. I always wonder about the "story by" credits because stories are broken as a group in the writer's room. I know the credit's worth a decent chunk of money in Hollywood. Peter M. Lenkov got a "story by" credit on nearly every Hawaii Five-O episode. Maybe one of the many show runners who read this blog can e-mail and enlighten me about getting that credit. I'll probably just re-read a book I have about TV writing to remind myself.


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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.