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TV Review: The Cape: Episodes 1 & 2
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Winter Primer for NBC's The Cape

The Cape
Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2 – “Pilot”/”Tarot”
Episode 1: “Pilot” directed by Simon West
Episode 2: “Tarot” directed by Deran Sarafian
“Pilot” and “Tarot” written by Tom Wheeler
Starring: David Lyons, Keith David, Summer Glau, James Frain, Jennifer Ferrin, Ryan Wynott, Dorian Missick, Martin Klebba, Izabella Miko, Anil Kumar, Richard Schiff, Vinnie Jones and Raza Jaffrey
NBC
Air date: January 9, 2011

It’s easy to see why Hollywood loves a good superhero story. The genre has become so popular over the past couple of years, it’s no wonder why everyone is in such a rush to strike while the iron is hot and cash in on the trend. While the story in a superhero movie like The Dark Knight is a great one, providing the essential themes of good versus evil and the power of one man, etc., The Cape tries to follow that same method for success.

The difference between these two is that the television series The Cape, which debut on Sunday January 9, 2011, isn’t The Dark Knight. Not that it’s really intending to be, but it’s not even as good as other superhero television shows.

The premise for The Cape sounded like something that, on paper, should be a great execution of the genre. A cop gets framed for a crime he didn’t commit! He turns over to a life of heroics to protect the ones he loves!

But that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Maybe even a little bit too familiar?

My single biggest complainant over the course of the two-hour series opener is this: while entertaining in spots, the show doesn’t offer anything new to the genre. In fact, it’s such an amalgamation of other tried concepts, you can dissect and trace back every concept to some other superhero show, comic, or movie. While it’s difficult to some up with an entirely new concept for a superhero show, I’d be a little more forgiving if the show executed on these concepts in an interesting way, but the sad thing is, it does anything but.

The story? Flat and uninteresting. The characters? Dull and boring. The acting? Terrible at times. The special effects? Don’t even get me started. The pacing? Moves at such an unbelievable speed that you have almost no time for character development and actually sit down and see the characters take stock of the events that are unfolding around them.

I really wanted The Cape to be great. I think a TV show is the near perfect format to present a superhero story in. You get the same serialized feel of a comic, but with the visuals and the power of television as a storytelling medium, but The Cape isn’t going to be the next hit superhero TV show and anyone else thinking otherwise is sadly mistaken.

Quick Thoughts:
– Sadly, The Cape destroys much of the goodwill I’ve gotten from Summer Glau‘s previous acting experiences. While I haven’t seen all of Firefly, Glau was one of the best (if not THE best) parts of Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles. Not only is Glau’s acting not up to Terminator levels, she’s horribly underused and her character of Orwell is essentially Oracle.
– The carnival scenes throughout the premiere bring back horrible memories of Heroes‘ final season.
– As I said, while pretty much awful, the show does have some redeeming and entertaining moments. I rather enjoyed the running gag throughout the second episode when Vince (David Lyons) is without the famed cape.

I won’t be reviewing any more episodes of The Cape, but will you be sticking with the rest of the series?

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