11 January 2011

The Cape Lags

How do you make a show about a would be superhero completely and utterly boring? How do you turn off the key demographic of 10-16 year old boys? Just ask the creative minds behind NBC's new drama "The Cape". What should be a fun and adventurous show about a framed cop out for vigilante justice is instead a big snooze fest.

David Lyons was a real charmer on "er", but here he just looks bored and desperate. As good cop turned scape goat Vince Faraday, he should radiate charm and wit. The signature one liner's that are so popular with comic book crime fighters feel stale and over worked. Maybe it's the accent. Fan boy goddess Summer Glau (TVs "Firefly") is once again given nothing to do with or for her powerful fan base. Her Orwell, a mysterious wunderkind, is a talking head on a screen, sometimes literally, who rolls in to save Faraday's ass when he gets in over his head (which seems to be about every 10  minutes of film). I love her, but I'm tired of 90 lb women beating the crap out of guys three times their size and never getting injured. Meanwhile, out hero is cut, shot at, poisoned, and bruised. Come on!

The plot is also a bit hackneyed and stale. Faraday is a good man with dark secrets who is framed by evil mastermind Chess (James Frain, "True Blood", "Elizabeth") and presumed dead. Chess is actually Peter Fleming, the saviour of the city and the man who privatized it's security and police force. What could he want I wonder... Instead, he has gone into hiding with a group of bank robbing circus performers. For real. There, he learns about justice and crime fighting from Max Malini (Keith David, he's in everything). He takes his cues from the comic book hero he secretly reads to his son every night, the Cape. Even our hero's inspiration is uninspired! The magical cape given to him from Malini comes complete with the ability to grab and throw objects, para glide, and look cool when he uses a smoke bomb to "disappear" from the room. It's a cool idea, but the budget is not there on TV to make it really work. Basically, he's Batman without the money or butler.

I want to make a plea to anyone and everyone who is thinking about or working on a comic book show or movie- Watch other successful comic book shows and movies! I understand that Christopher Nolan's interpretation of "Batman" was dark, brooding, and a bit slow and "talkie"; but this is an exception to the rule, not the rule. We want to see the evolution of our hero of course, but we also want to see him be a hero! We want action and fights. We want a clear distinction between good and evil. We want it to make some sense.

You can check out the premiere here if you missed it, but I would just save your breath and two hours of your life.

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