Wednesday, January 26, 2011
About: The Cape "Pilot"
I finally jumped on the bandwagon. I've been interested in watching The Cape since I saw the first promo but I resisted. I always feel like there isn't enough time for all the TV I want to watch and I need to pick and choose carefully. Well, I gave in the other night and watched the Pilot. I was pleasantly surprised. Was it perfect? No. But I can see it getting much better.
I should start by saying that I tend to hate pilots, they feel so rough and undecided so I try to never judge a show by it's pilot. But I find that by the third episode of a series I can usually tell if it's worth sticking around to watch. And by the fifth episode I know for sure; the show either hits it's stride, or it doesn't. Characters are more developed and the overall tone and formula are established; not that this formula can never change, in fact it should. The most interesting series are those whose formula changes at least slightly from season to season.
That being said, as I watched The Cape I made a point not to treat this pilot as I would a fifth or even third episode but to remind myself that the story and characters are still being established. Then I was able to focus more on what the show does right rather than what needs work.
What I Like:
I love the family bond the show established from the beginning. I'm a sucker for a show where the character's motivations come from a deep connection to their family. Even though a fraction of the episode was spent drawing these connections I think the time was used wisely and the connection was achieved.
I like David Lyons as Vince Faraday. I can buy him as a do-gooder and family man. For me it has a lot to do with the fact that I didn't really know who he was coming into it. (I have to admit I didn't really follow ER where Faraday played Dr. Simon Brenner) For me, an "unknown" actor was a better fit for The Cape. It's easier for me to buy into a super hero story if I don't already know the actor from other work. Or at least it's a bit less distracting.
Every superhero story has an unforeseen turn of events where the hero has to pick his/her path. I expected that coming in to the show, that being said I found The Cape's story intriguing. It's one thing to be bitten by a radioactive spider and possess new powers and it's another to make a choice to be a hero and create your own "powers". Not that Vince Faraday is a selfless hero, his choice still stems from a need for revenge which adds another level of interest to the story. It's not entertaining to watch a good guy fight evil just for the sake of being a good person, you need that fire you get from a healthy dose of revenge. All that to say I think the show built a good platform to jump off of and I'm interested to see where it goes.
What I don't love:
How do you like the positive spin?
The hokiness. There was just a little too much for my taste. I love the Batman movies from the 90's but I feel the same way about those. It's just a little too difficult for me to believe that there's a group of circus-performers-turned-bank-robbers hiding out in the woods in a giant circus tent. It's also hard for me to believe that multiple bank robberies have been committed using a run-down ice cream truck. Throw a curiously strong midget in there and I'm out. If the show hadn't done so many other things right, I would have stopped watching altogether. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the hokiness gets phased out as the episodes continue. I can't see viewers sticking around for something so campy when we've been exposed to great superhero movies and TV series with actual depth of character. If we're expected to care about this "Carnival of Crime" then I'm going to need to see a little more emotion from these characters.
I know it's the first episode so I may be expecting more than I should but I found the character of Max Malini (Keith David) a little too Yoda-y. Why must superheros have sensei? Can't they just go it alone? Or maybe have a friend to get advice from? Maybe I'm the only one whose sick of the sesei character and maybe I'll eat these words a few episodes down the line, who knows? I will say that Max Malini is not exactly a role model to Vince Faraday, so at least that's a change.
So there were a lot of things I liked about the pilot episode of The Cape, and there were a few things I didn't. But I'm willing to stick it out for another two to four episodes, as is my way! I'll be sure to let you know what I think. As always comments are accepted (requested and begged for), just no spoilers please!
Thanks for reading!