For your own ease and viewing pleasure, you can download a schedule to make your own plans here -- and you don't even have to buy a TV Guide. And here's my thoughts on Tuesday nights, again complete with unnecessary footnotes.
Countless reviews have called No Ordinary Family "Heroes meets The Incredibles" but anybody who thinks about it for a couple of seconds (and anyone who was seven years old in 1981) realizes its truly The Incredibles meets The Greatest American Hero, which is much more awesome -- especially if you were seven years old in 1981.
In fact, I've started writing them a theme song with the same tune, in case they need it:
Okay, so that's all I've got. I'm quitting while I'm only really behind. And there's no way I'm going to get a rhyme for 'genre.'
Speaking of genres, what we're dealing with in No Ordinary Family is different than Heroes. It's the hour long superhero dramedy genre making a comeback not seen since The Greatest American Hero and... well, I guess that's it.
I'm surprised there haven't been more attempts, based on its popularity. Then again, the popularity I'm basing it on is my brother and I, who weren't television executives when we were seven and four years old, and we aren't now.
But even the tag line talks about new powers and no instruction manual, just like when Ralph Hinckley2 received the Suit from Venus. I'll probably give No Ordinary Family a chance; early reviews of its pilot script were lukewarm to good, and the pilot itself received some praise. I've liked superheroes long before Heroes fucked them up, and I'll like them for a long time after. And no matter what, it's almost guaranteed to be the third best superhero project involving Michael Chiklis
Other Tuesday Highlights
Last year, I had written a very detailed article in my head titled "Why It's Okay to Hate Glee" -- subtitled 'And why doing so doesn't make you homophobic.' But months later and having finally watched the final couple of episodes last week, I don't really care about what my main points were.3 As they say, haters gonna hate, but it's a fun show and there's lots worse things in the world for the kids to like than this show.
Hell, there's a much worse show focusing on teenagers singing pop hits on this very network, sometimes on the same night.
While I've only seen a few episodes of The Good Wife, in my mind, it's comprised of two different shows, which we'll call for simplcity's sake: The Good and The Wife. The Good is the legal drama starring Julianna Margulies, as a junior member of a firm and shows them work for clients in somewhat different ways than most legal dramas. They don't necessarily go from crime to trial to decision all in one episode in the time span of a week. They show what the lawyer does before their client gets arrested (and how that might be most important, especially if the client isn't guilty) or the appeal. While I'm sure it's probably not much more realistic, it tries different stuff and does it well with an interesting cast.
But then there's The Wife. And while I'm not comforable with the implied misogyny in labeling the bad portion The Wife, it fits. The original hook of the drama - the ongoing legal troubles of Chris Noth - a weird combination of Rod Blagojevich and Eliot Spitzer - and the conspiracy behind it - always seems, from somebody who only gets it in bits and pieces, ridiculous and contrived. And though those of us in Chicago and Illinois are painfully aware that these dramas can play out forever, from my perspective, it drags the rest of the show down.
I'm sure Parenthood would have been a good show had Maura Tierny not had to bow out of it for health reasons and Lauren Graham not taken over her role? But would I care about the show? No offense to Tierny, but probably not. Lauren Graham is the greatest part of a great cast and though the show can be torture as it sets up an uncomfortable family scene and spikes it into your face, it's still good stuff in a classic family drama sense. If you used to like Brothers and Sisters but don't anymore4, watch this.
Actual conversation held this evening:
PunkAndy: So did you know that Martha Plimpton isn't a contemporary of the kid on that new show...
PunkAndy: That's she's the mom?
PunkAndy: So she's the grandmother of the baby.
(Our heroes are stunned with oldness....And scene)
Yes, I know that their supposed to be a dysfunctional family and a teenage parent. But still. Creak goes the bones.
The commercials for this seemed intriguingly sweet, and when I realized
- it was a 30 minute sitcom, not the dramedy I feared and
- that Greg Garcia, from My Name is Earl, was behind it (nobody does sweet trashy family comedies better)
I was sold.
A more easy sell was Running Wilde, which had me at the commercial:
Gob and Felicty meet cute. Yes, please.
I actually know nothing about this series except that it apparently has a Arrested Development pedigree beyond Wil Arnett, so I'm in -- if only because, again, 30 minutes via TiVo is a really easy committment. But I have to say I find it rather ironic that Fox is selling Will Arnett so hard since they weren't AD's biggest fans. TV promoters are like cats -- so weird.
I know even less about Detroit 187, except leave it to CBS to have an hour long drama with inexplicable numbers and letters. Longtime Logopolis fans know I'm not your go to guy for cop shows that aren't The Wire. Some quick research shows that it used to have a mock-documentary conceit -- how original -- but they got rid of it in the pilot and reshot it, which means many scenes with people talking to each other seem like they should be confessing to a camera. So if you like to watch failure happen, I recommend Detroit 187. Maybe that's not fair, but neither is much about Detroit. How's that for biting political commentary along with your TV preview.
1 Actually in the age of Google, there's often such things as 'countless'; in fact 'Heroes meets The Incredibles' returns 517 results, all on the first page describing No Ordinary Family. As of right now, "The Incredibles meets The Greatest American Hero" returns nothing. So maybe it's not as obvious as I thought.
2 Most may know that William Katt's character, Ralph Hinkley's name was changed because 12 days after the pilot of The Greatest American Hero aired, John Hinckley Jr. went and ruined the name. What's odd is that the creators of No Ordinary Family had originally named the patriarch of the heroic family Sirhan Sirhan before deciding against it.5
3 If I recall, they were "Little to no character development; characters do things that make no sense based on what we've learned before only because the plot -- or worse the song -- demands it, even though it's supposed to be a serial drama. Also, despite a great performance by the actor who plays him, Kurt is the biggest Mary Sue ever and they never really show you that just because you're the put-upon Homosexual with a capital H, you shouldn't get away with being a dick. But yeah, I don't recall exactly what bugged me.
4 It's like Brothers and Sisters used to be with 100% less gay and 100% more autism.
5 Okay, not really.