No Ordinary Family a.k.a. Dead Man Walking

When the cast list for No Ordinary Family first was mentioned I had high hopes for it. Pairing Michael Chiklis (The Shield) with Julie Benz (Dexter) offered possibilities for a genre that has been in the doldrums with the cancellation, after a dismal third series that was hard to watch it was so bad, of Heroes and the impending demise of Smallville and with not much more that poor old The Cape for competition.

Sadly the greatest lack in the NOF lineup appears to have been decent scriptwriters…maybe they hired the ones who wrote series 3 of Heroes or the finale of Lost. For example in this week’s episode they even had a character who had died in a previous episode come back to life for no other apparent reason than that it was a convenient re-use of a character. How did she return to life, who knows, who cares…certainly not the writers.

The acting ability of Chiklis and Benz fights hard against the dismal scripts but many of the supporting cast leave much to be desired…consider Chiklis character’s sidekick, Romany Malco as George St. Cloud, His character has the traits of a puppy dog following Chiklis around and lacks any depth or believability. The pilot episode promised a much more interesting character with backplot that could liven things up when needed but the writers have never delivered on this.

Benz character’s sidekick fares little better. Autumn Reeser as Katie Andrews is close to being the female image of Malco’s character…the writers are so lazy that they don’t seem capable of delivering real distinction between these characters…or, maybe, they have so little ability that they really can’t do it.

The two children of the eponymous family are acted well enough but not spectacularly so and, yet again, they have to cope with dire scriptwriting.

The series appears to chop and change peripheral characters with too much regularity…for instance the police protagonist role where we first saw Christina Chang as Detective Yvonne Cho but she didn’t last beyond her murder in episode 2 only to be replaced by Guillermo Díaz as Detective Frank Cordero but he is killed in episode 19 having been, apparently, forgotten for a number of episodes…so much for consistency. Look also at Rachel Miner as Rebecca Jessup whose character was knocked out in one episode never to be mentioned again. Consider also Ethan Suplee as Tom Seeley…he was just forgotten without even needing to be knocked out first.

The studio tried a desperate ploy to shore up the series by bringing in Lucy Lawless as Mrs. X (the writers seemed to have given up entirely by that point and couldn’t even manage to think of a real name for her character.) While I much admire Lawless work in Spartacus she is completely wasted in NOF…I hope that they are paying her well for this turkey all the same. She deserves the money, as do Chiklis and Benz, if only for having to suffer performing such lifeless scripts while trying to pretend that they have the slightest artistic merit or entertainment value.

This television turkey has no hope of a second series and will be lucky to have all its current series episodes be aired rather than becoming internet only releases.

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