If you’d been watching regular television on NBC the last couple of months, you probably caught the commercials previewing their newest superhero show The Cape. Now you need to know that I really had some higher than usual hopes for this show. I was a big Heroes fan, and when it abruptly ended after a cliff-hanging four seasons I nearly wept aloud. Meanwhile, another teased me with dulling my ache for my beloved show, but No Ordinary Family, though cute and light-hearted was just too – well, light-hearted to satisfy. I stopped watching it on Hulu after the few few episodes.
Not to worry though, because NBC was promising a new show that looked as though it could melt away my stone heart. It looked dark and eery and…cheesy. Honestly, it didn’t look too bad until I started seeing some of the names of the villians. Chess? Scales? C’mon, guys. This is something I expected to find in my earlier days of Captain Planet and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Then there was the name of the hero himself: The Cape. Not the hood, the cowl or the leotard; the ever-lovin’ cape, y’all. Get it right, folks. This guy means business.
So, the previews made the show seem somewhat uncreative and cheesy, but I was willing to let that slide – after all, you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, right? So then I started to watch it.
(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
The basic story is honest cop and family man Vince Faraday goes to work on the United States first privatized police force, which is headed up by none other than a mysterious foreigner who turns out to be the villain Chess (big shock, right?). Upon signing up, he is warned that things are not what they appear by a big-brother type entity known only as Orwell – a fitting name if you ask me – and when Faraday goes to investigate, he finds that the billion-dollar company that runs the police force is also running a nice drug scheme by hiding the drugs in stuffed animals and dolls. His partner betrays him to the Company’s CEO, because apparently his family is at stake.
Anyone else getting Deja Vu yet?
After his betrayal, Faraday is framed and on the run. He’s captured/recruited by an underground group of circus-freaks-turned-thugs called something like “The Carnival of Crime”. Wow – catchy! Essentially a hostage at first, he “buys” his freedom by giving them the access they need to rob the banks of the corporate machine that just took over the police force and by attrition, the city’s federal banks. Nice to have a clean, healthy start to the superhero routine, right?
Meanwhile, Faraday gets trained by the ringleader of this crime circus to do a number of illusions and becomes a master escape artist over a period of days. He also gains the use of a very cool looking cape, which he learns to swoosh back and forth in a violent manner before making himself disappear in a puff of smoke. Something he no doubt saw in one of the Twilight films. He also learns to do some very cool things with this cape, such as grab objects across the room. The mind-bending skills this cape seems to have make you think it has a mind of it’s own. He then sets out to avenge his name and take back everything that was taken from him.
While out on patrol, he discovers that the mysterious Orwell is actually a woman who is “nobody special”, yet seems to have access to all the newest state-of-the-art gear and drive really nice cars. She tell him that he needs to be a symbol. Something more than a man.
Seriously, anyone feel like they’ve been down this road before?
By and large, the plot has a few holes that are big enough to drive a truck through. More than a few of the ideas are far-fetched. And not to mention the cheesiness. For the first hour of the 2-hour premier, I was craving nachos.
Thankfully, the 2nd hour started to get interesting. We begin to see that Vince Faraday has some sort of jaded past, as does “Orwell” and that somehow Max from the Carnival of Crime has seemingly gone straight. There are whispers of an underground crime syndicate that aren’t ran by Chess, and public measures are being taken to loosen the foreigner’s grip on the city’s police force.
The largest thorn in my side with this new show isn’t the cheesiness but the fact that Faraday continues to let his family think he’s dead while he goes out trying to gain his name back. He had the chance to take them out of the city and reunite, but he passes on it because he doesn’t want to teach his son to run away from a fight. But I guess it’s okay to teach him that the bad guy wins? Surely we’ll see this resolved before the season’s out – if it lasts that long.
While initially disappointed and downright appalled at some of the goings on in the first half, the second half of the show actually made me want to tune in again when it picks back on on Monday, January 17th – if only to try to continue to nurse the wounds left by Heroes. Darn you, NBC. Darn you to heck.