Friday, August 11, 2006


by Count Olaf
I got a chance to watch the pilot of the show where some people are born to be extraordinary. Excitement/curiousity/something had been building for this show since I started seeing the previews a few months back. The first one I saw (with Hayden Panettiere jumping off some construction site and cracking her dislocated shoulder back into place) was somewhat disturbing. I eventually got the gist of the show being about superheros with kind of an X-men flavor.

The picture and sound were not the best quality, but it was enough to enjoy. My copy ran 55 minutes, so I don't know if they're going to cut stuff out in order to fit it into an hour timeslot with commercials, add stuff to make it 90 minutes - 2 hours, or if they're going to pull a "24" and do an uninterrupted premiere.

I plan on telling quite a bit of what goes on in the opener, albeit heavy on the sarcasm, so take this as your IMDB-"Here Be Spoilers"-type warning. Click the "LINK" button below to read the review.

If you want to stay spoiler-free, or just want the short and sweet, I liked it and definitely recommend it. I hope the story goes deep enough to keep us interested.

The show opens up with a scrawl and a voiceover not unlike the first X-Men. Heck, it even fades to a shot of the sun rising over the Earth from outer space.

We are then treated to the shot of the guy standing/falling/jumping off of a building in New York City. This has been on many previews and usually cuts to the guy telling someone "I think I can fly!" Right before he jumps, we get to see that our epiosdes will be called "Chapters" which is nice. Kind of a story/comic-booky feel.

The story then takes us all over the world (well, India, Japan, and the USA) introducing us to characters that are more interconnected than anybody on the Lost island. If you thought those coincidences were ridiculous, it's going to be near impossible for you to go through the first show while believing that everyone is about 2 degrees or less from everyone else. I guess they wanted to get them together quickly and thought (if it works in a Lost flashback, then more will be better!). That's a minor complaint, though. I mean, this IS a TV show. There are some other complaints right off the bat, though...

Some of the characters have completely typical storylines and others seem to act in no way that a natural person would act. Perhaps these situations will be explored as the season and show continues, but let me ask you this: have you ever heard of a stripper with a heart of gold? Well in Las Vegas, what other job is there?

We are treated to Ali Larter doing her best strippercam-girl who also happens to be a single mother of a genius child and, oh yeah, owes "the mob" somewhere between $30-50k. seems I've heard these things before...But in this case the original $25k was used to get her son into private genius school which she now can't afford. So they decide to kick him out. She is also plagued by her reflection which doesn't seem to follow her as quickly as one normally would. Mob goons break into her house on this same day and end up raising the price only to tell her she can work a bit off if she does her little stripper routine. Unfortunately for the goons, this girl's reflection has a different idea altogether.

Back in New York our frequent flier is the younger brother of a guy running for congress. Unfortunately for not-yet congressman, their mother is a loose cannon due (it would seem) to the recent death of their father. Combine that with the brother who thinks he can fly and you've got a recipe for political implosion. But younger brother only daydreamt his rooftop flight earlier while he was caring for an elderly patient. It seems he is a nurse of some sort who has the
hots for his patient's daughter(?). She, on the other hand, has an eccentric artist boyfriend who I will describe later.

In India a young professor at university is told that his father was killed in America. Seems his father was a brilliant scientist who thought humans were soon going to be capable of flight, invincibility, teleportation, etc. To finish all of his research he went to New York to become a cab driver. This may seem odd, but only 3 days later the son goes to New York and instantly becomes....a cab driver! But while still in India the son grabs some of his father's research at his apartment there only to find a strange man with glasses already in the apartment. Hmmm...

Also we have a Texas high-school cheerleader who, for all intents and purposes, is invincible. Is this teen excited? No. She hates it because it means she's different from everyone. Excuse me? I can understand Rogue not liking herself because she can kill anyone she touches, and Nightcrawler looks like a freak so he goes into seclusion. But a young, pretty and popular teenage girl who can't get hurt, but looks normal in every other way, feels ostracized from her peers? How so? She can't play bloody knuckles with her pals anymore because she'll always win? If she gets dropped from the cheer triangle and doesn't get hurt the people will scorn her?

Soon after we meet her she rushes into a burning building and ends up saving a man trapped inside. She comes out with her sleeve on fire and the fire department "puts her out" and checks her for burns. They find out she has no burns so she......runs away! Of course. Oh, did I mention she has a guy videotaping her this whole time? At her request! Kind of like "tape me doing something cool!" So far her actions, reactions, and intentions just don't add up. It's enough to make you not like her, but I'm sure we'll get some answers sometime.

Our Japanese guy can stop time, move time forwards and backwards, and teleport. I didn't realize that power over time also gave you the power to teleport. But I guess if you can disrupt the space-time continuum you can pretty much do anything. After all, if there is no time then it wouldn't take any time to get anywhere. Oh, and this guy has a screensaver on his computer (or maybe it's something he's working on) that has the image of a monster that just so happens to be on the cover of a comic that genius son-of-an-internet-stripper is reading later on. AND, Japanese guy's co-worker just happened to be the guy viewing the internet stripping we were treated to at the beginning of the show. Just coincidentally.

Back in New York we find that the fly-guy is one of the first customers of our Indian cabbie. The have a nice discussion about evolution and human development possibilities. Typical talk. Unfortunately for the cabbie his next customer is a mysterious man with glasses who wants to go to the airport. Luckily he discerns this and escapes while the cab is still running. I hope this doesn't look bad on his daily report. Guy with glasses manages to get home to his family early. I
won't say who it is, but you can probably guess as I did halfway through the show.

We also find out the artist boyfriend is a little psycho and claims his paintings are evil.

Apparently he paints the future (good, bad, and otherwise) while high. To stop himself from painting he shackles himself to a bedpost with a saw just in reach. With no key, how will he escape his self-imposed prison? The world may never know....or we may find out 5 minutes later when Girlfriend and Fly-guy/nurse rush into the apartment and we see his severed hand on the floor. Didn't see that coming....

But our nurse finds an interesting painting of himself flying/falling off of a building. Much like we saw in his "dream" earlier.

Also there's a massive painting on the floor of NYC up in flames and the painter is mumbling "we must stop it" while his left stump is draped with a bandanna. Looks bad...but I guess it's not too bad because our flier chooses to take a swan dive off of aforementioned building the next morning. He calls his brother to come stand in the alley and then jumps down to him. That ending is one that I won't spoil. But I can link to some pictures of it here and here.

I realize after writing this that it sounds like I'm bagging on it pretty hard, but I really did like the show. It has enormous potential but right now is using all standard conventions/twists/meet-cutes/stereotypes without breaking any new grounds. But it's only one episode and I do want to see what happens next..


Blogger Count Olaf said...

Sorry about the picture paragraph formatting. I've tried and tried and tried to get it right. This is the most trouble I've ever had in blogger.

8/11/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

The commercials for this show reminded me of Unbreakable--sort of the super-hero angle but told in a realistic, non-spandex way. I'll try and give it a shot, but I don't watch much network television these days.

8/12/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Count Olaf said...

Yes! Unbreakable. Non-spandex. Good thinking... you're right on. I forgot about Unbreakable.

I'm now reading that the pilot will be 2 hours and there are at least two more main characters with powers that we haven't met yet.

8/15/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent review, i agreed with you 150%, and was starting to think i was the only one, what with posts all over the internet saying "OMGGG BEST SHOW EVA!!!!11111, CANT WAIT FOR EP 2!"

keep it up

8/20/2006 10:59:00 PM  

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