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No Ordinary Family Recap: Season 1, Episode 1


Plane crashes, narrators, families who love despite dysfunction…must be ABC television. NO ORDINARY FAMILY will fit in very well with the ABC network. Now let’s see if the series will bring anything fresh to the superheroes table.

First episode dives right in with the action, as the Powell’s describe an airplane accident during a family-bonding trip to South America. Since Jim and Stephanie Powell are both narrating, we assume they are still alive, unless this series is pulling a Desperate Housewives narrator on us. Is it just me, or is narration not really necessary, unless you’re PUSHING DAISIES, which gave us the best narrator EVER! I digress.

Family ends up back home, where the separation of personalities continues, despite almost dying together. At least mother, father, son, and daughter are alive. The pilot did die; since Tate Donavon played him, I have a feeling this isn’t the last time we will see him.

We see Michael Chiklis is working for the police department as a sketch artist, but before we can say VIC MACKEY, an arrested criminal steals a gun and shoots at one of Jim’s co-workers, Detective Yvonne Cho. Jim knocks Det. Cho down, and no one knows where the bullet hit. That’s because Jim caught the bullet. This leads to a great sequence where Jim goes to the batting cages, catches fastballs, and crushes them. He calls his buddy George, hands him a gun, and catches another bullet, causing George to faint.

We also get Julie Benz narrating as Stephanie, the breadwinner of the family, who is having all kinds of success and respect from her science research job. Her boss, played by 7th HEAVEN’s Stephen Collins, is a little too nice, in my humble opinion. I expect a shift in personalities later for that character.

Steph works hard at her job, but she isn’t really able to get anything done until she realizes she can run really fast. We’re talking THE FLASH fast. There is a fantastic sequence showing how regular citizens would view this speedy character, and it also shows us how the world looks to a FLASH-style superhero. It also gives us Julie Benz looking terrific running in slow motion, and I would watch this series alone for that reason! Add in that Autumn Reaser is her sidekick…WOW! It just got hot in here!

Back to George and Jim, with George trying to see if Jim can fly. As played by Romany Malco, George will be THE scene-stealing sidekick on this show. Chiklis and Malco share great chemistry. Jim can fall without dying, create a crater in the ground after a fall, and can jump really high and really far. Special effects so far, have been better than HANCOCK, in my humble opinion.

Now that Jim has a better understanding of what he can do, he goes to foil the “Obama-Mask Bandit” and his robberies. What Jim finds out, is that there are TWO Obama-Mask Bandits, and one shoots him in the back of the head, which is revealed to be our first superhero weakness. While not dead, Jim couldn’t continue in the fight.

We see the family talking together again, and scientist Stephanie remembers seeing green in the water after the plane crash. Daphne, played by Kay Panabaker, is going through typical high school troubles with her boyfriend and caddy girls, but she suddenly develops ESP during a basketball game. Panabaker plays her scenes in this episode very well. Her heart-breaking sequence where she hears her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend, along with her speech to the family about how no superpowers will heal the family dysfunction, show that this young woman will steal quite a few scenes on this show. Son J.J. doesn’t appear to have any powers, which certainly bums him out.

Jim goes out to help Det. Cho catch Obama-Mask Bandits, now that he has seen them and sketched one of them for the police. The Bandit has kidnapped Cho, but Jim shows up just in time to…watch Obama-Mask-Bandit DISAPPEAR. He reappears behind Jim, which shows us there is only one Bandit, but he can move through space as simple molecules. Battle between hero and villain coming up. Before getting shot by Detective Cho, the Bandit says, “They’re not alone.”

During the show’s final moments, we see Steph asking Jim not to do any more crime fighting, which he promises won’t happen. Immediately following that, we see George introduce Jim to his newly created SUPERHERO LAIR, “Complete with Wi-Fi,” proudly exclaims George.

We see J.J. suddenly realize he has “Rain Man” powers, as he turns into a math genius while taking a school quiz. There’s also a great sequence where the family plays Superhero version of pass the football.

Uh-oh…I called it. We see Stephanie’s Boss with the body of the pilot, and some evil henchman who makes the lights flicker. He wants anyone else who knows the pilot to be found and extinguished!

Great start for the series with a fun, if somewhat predictable episode. I see a lot of potential storylines to carry this show for a few seasons. I just hope it surprises me every once in a while. But hey, it’s just the first episode. Let’s see where this goes.

written by: John Harmon Feldman
directed by: David Semel