In a nutshell, everything was microwaved. It all happened super fast. Which was the exact same mistake that was made with The Bionic Woman reboot. They rushed to put all the elements in place so much so until we didn’t have time to emotionally connect with any of it.
One of the biggest issues is the lead; I knew as soon as I saw the previews that he was miscast. David Lyons as Vince Farraday has zero presence. He feels just like another semi-curly haired white boy. You could see this same guy on a football team, at a college kegger, at a strip club. Nothing distinctive about him in looks, speech, mannerisms, zip, except maybe looking like he’s perpetually hungover.
Keith David as Max is waaaaay better than I thought he’d be. I had a hard time taking him seriously in the trailers, but after seeing him in action as the Yoda/Morpheus character, I really liked him. What I liked best about him was that he’s a criminal…who’s also kind of a Robin Hood. Of sorts.
James Frain as Chess was just…nothing. James Frain is a fine actor, and I loved him in The Count of Monte Cristo, but here, he is woefully miscast as the villain. No menace, no intimidation, he only slightly changes his voice, and that costume makes him look like a refugee from a rave gone wrong in Tron Legacy.
Summer Glau, of course, kills. The character is way too cliche, but I just love Summer. I wouldn’t have watched this show at all if not for her. Her character ‘Orwell’ is a complete rip from Barbara Gordon’s Oracle tho. And everything about her appearances are just way too convenient. More on that later.
Martin Klebba as Rollo stole the whole damn show, and he had the best lines. “Bring it Bitch Boy!” and “Say hi to Dorothy, bitch!” was funnier and more interesting than ANYTHING Vince said for the entire show.
The story itself was kind of a Batman/Daredevil hybrid, with a little Luke Cage thrown in…but nothing really that we haven’t seen before. It had waaaay too many WTF moments for my taste though. Like, Vince being betrayed by his buddy so soon; there wasn’t enough of a connection established for that betrayal to have any weight. Chess revealing himself right away…again, just too stupid. Vince being framed could’ve had some legs…but once he’s being chased by helicopters and cops with automatic weapons and doesn’t get hit once, I was out of it. He survives the explosion, only to be dragged into….The Lair of the Carnival of Criminals!!!
I will say that I actually ended up liking the carnival backdrop, because if nothing else(although quite Jokerish), it was one of the more unique points of the story. Don’t get me started on lil’ Trip For a Day, who must be secretly a Palin with a name like that. Or how he couldn’t recognize his own father’s voice, unaltered in any way. Or how quickly it seems that Dana & Trip came to grips with the allegations of their husband/father being a criminal mastermind, and then killed while trying to escape. Most people mourn & grieve way longer and deeper than that.
What took me out of it the most was the lack of real human reaction to all that had happened…in less than 48 hours, Vince’s whole life was turned upside down; he literally lost everything about the life that he knew, even his very name, and yet he’s booted and suited in a matter of days. He masters all of these skills, he accepts his new life and role, and he’s back on the streets, fighting crime, maskless. Just didn’t make any sense.
Summer/Orwell is continually coming out of nowhere to help him…and again, he just accepts her. Never mind the fact that she can track him and communicate with him, he just rolls with it. I must say at this point that this show would’ve been better if Summer was actually the lead. If she was The Cape. Everything about that idea is a more watchable and intriguing presence. Even if she disguised herself as a man to be The Cape; even better. Also, it was good to see some scenes where we see Summer’s ability to morph her looks; it convinced me that Summer needs her own Alias style vehicle. Summer needs a show where she can go undercover, be sexy, and kick ass just like Sydney Bristow; it would totally work, and I’d watch it in a heartbeat.
Rollo, Orwell, and Max are all more intriguing and mysterious than Vince; and we also know more about them. Unfortunately, I can’t tell what Vince’s superhero poses are supposed to convey. He has NO PRESENCE, just so unlike Batman; he really looks kind of silly when you see him standing there in that getup, and did I mention that even more than Batman’s cowl, that getup would cutoff his peripheral vision?
Another huge standout by its inconsistency is TONE. What’s the tone here? Is it funny, is it serious, how much gravitas, and how much comic booky action? It blends all of those, but not well; there’s not a dominant sense of any of them. It does kind of poke fun at itself, but then, that just makes us as the audience take it even less seriously. Also the villains. Um. Chess is…not scary. He should’ve been named ‘Tarot’ like the second episode. And we certainly didn’t need to know who he was right away.
Scales…Juggernaut….just looked kind of like he had an STD from an iguana. And Knifey Man? I enjoyed his knifeyness but didn’t get his motivation. Plus I’m so sick of villains named Cain it ain’t even funny. It’s like it’s an almost-Batman show…Killer Croc-Lite, Zsasz-lite, and hybrid Lex/Joker-lite. Meh.
The Special FX:
I honestly don’t know if it’s the show, or just kind of the state of the union, but there was just nothing exceptional about them. But again, at this point, we as a viewing audience have seen so many of these same effects until it’s hard to be impressed. I will say tho that, the actual cape effects looked kind of cheesy. I laughed every time it was whipped around to grab something. I liked the explosions, and I really liked the magiciany disappearing effects. The make up on the villains…um. Not so much. *cough*lame*cough*
In any event, it was interesting enough for me to at least watch for a few more episodes, but I must admit, I’m only watching to see more of Orwell, Max, and Rollo.