No Ordinary Family Stars Hedging Their Bets on Second Season

No Ordinary Family Stars Hedging Their Bets on Second Season

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With the superhero show struggling in the ratings, its stars are already looking for their escape routes.

The superhero-themed family show No Ordinary Family has pulled a "Dollhouse," which is to say that it's finished its first season, but it's second season is far from guaranteed. Stars Julie Benz and Michael Chiklis are hardly the faces of confidence either, as both have signed up to film new TV pilots in the event that the show gets cancelled.

Chiklis will appear in the pilot for the CBS comedy, Vince Interrupted, while Benz will appear in a currently- unnamed supernatural medical drama director by the Oscar winning director Jonathan Demme, who also directed Silence of the Lambs.. Benz will appear alongside Watchmen star, Patrick Wilson, who played the part of the second Nite Owl. Both actors have booked the pilots in the "second position" however, meaning that if No Ordinary Family does get renewed for a second season, they will drop out of the pilots and return to the show.

Reviews for No Ordinary Family have been mixed, although mostly positive, and even some of the less-impressed reviewers conceded that the show had potential. But after a strong start, the series has steadily lost viewers, with sources suggesting that its audience has halved since the show started last year.

Source: Blastr

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I just started watching it on Hulu when I got the chance, then I fell too far behind to catch back up. I enjoyed the show, even if it was a bit cheesy. I wouldn't mind a second season.

The problem is that the only interesting character was the bad guy's Dragon, and they just recently Put Him On A Bus. Now they have Lucy Lawless joining the cast, so that might be fun.

Logan Westbrook:
The superhero-themed family show No Ordinary Family has pulled a "Dollhouse," which is to say that it's finished its first season, but it's second season is far from guaranteed.

I think "pulling a Dollhouse" would better refer to getting a second season greenlit against all odds.

One may also claim this better refers to getting another season greenlit, faffing about at the beginning despite this being a miraculous prospect, and then after cancellation was announced rushing through the last few episodes is a moronic attempt to fill in tons of mythology and showing off planned directions in an utter trainwreck of a finale.

As in, "Stargate SG-1 was pretty good for eight seasons but their attempt to re-launch it with season nine was poorly executed and then they pulled a Dollhouse right when there was some glimmer of hope the show may become palatable again." :D

Hungry Donner:

Logan Westbrook:
The superhero-themed family show No Ordinary Family has pulled a "Dollhouse," which is to say that it's finished its first season, but it's second season is far from guaranteed.

I think "pulling a Dollhouse" would better refer to getting a second season greenlit against all odds.

That's a full Dollhouse, there's a difference :P

Logan Westbrook:
That's a full Dollhouse, there's a difference :P

I can get behind that!

I totally forgot about this show.

So, I'm guessing that "to pull a firefly" would be to be cancelled prematurely and then have DVD prices INCREASE over time whilst developing a sizable following?

Watched a couple episodes. Stories just weren't that appealing. Interesting concept -- family with superpowers trying to balance real life and the potential their powers provide. Hell, Peter Parker has run with that for many, many years.

But I think the problem they ran into was they've been trying to make the show too plot-driven, rather than character driven. That is, things are always happening to the characters, rather than because of them. That works on a series like Lost, or Persons' Unknown because part of what appeals is figuring out the world. This though? We pretty much already know the world -- it's just ours with some added stuff.

I have become death

The destroyer of series....

I start watching something it gets canned....

I am gonna start watching every reality TV, boring soap and crappy god damn formulaic sit com on telly to save you all - I shall use my powers for good!

JaredXE:
The problem is that the only interesting character was the bad guy's Dragon, and they just recently Put Him On A Bus. Now they have Lucy Lawless joining the cast, so that might be fun.

Did you notice they had two Cylons in the last episode with Tricia Helfer and Lucy Lawless? That's one way to appeal to the nerd crowd.

As for this show as a whole, it's ok. I don't really care about the family aspect of it because there's not much drama there (we all know they'll be eating dinner together at the end of the day and laughing whatever happened off). It's entertaining for the most part, especially the scenes with George, but I really wouldn't miss this show if it were canceled.

The problem with "No Ordinary Family" is the same problem that you had with "Heroes". That is simply put that to do a super-hero story of any type right, you need to have the characters doing super-heroic things and using their powers. What's more you expect super heroes to have flashy powers and to do cool things with them. Of course TV shows have limited budgets and as a result the writing tends to turn into a matter of trying to find ways for as much to be resolved through nothing but acting and dialogue as possible, or prevent situations from developing where you'd have to show something really cool, and thus really expensive.

The thing that makes super-heroes work, is the fact that most of their time is spent out doing things like fighting villains. Yes guys like "Spider Man" have to balance their secret identity with their heroic alter-ego, but the focus of the stories still comes down to him heading out there as Spider-Man to fight all kinds of over-the-top bad guys.

The thing is that with "Heroes" as an example, the beginning of the show did so well because people saw the potential from that lead in and figured "okay, well now they can get down to doing the cool stuff" but rather they just kept finding reasons not to. We never saw a really good fight between a full powered Peter and a full powered Sylar because the FX to do that right would have been beyond a TV budget for example. It took a few seasons but as the excuses became more involuted people began to realize it was NEVER going to be a good hero show.

"No Ordinary Family" has the same problem. Within the first season people are already realizing they are writing around having much in the way of cool super-heroic type resolutions for budget reasons. This might have stood up better had we not seen "Heroes" first and people have not become savy to the entire thing.

Right now I think super heroes are going to remain beyond the reach of prime time until someone wants to either gamble the money as part of a long term investment strategy, or the cost of decent FX drops to reachable levels, allowing for the production of more FX heavy shows.

The whole "FX issue" is also one of the reasons why a lot of science fiction shows and such fail. It's fairly rare whens omething like "Stargate" comes along and manages to do a lot with a limited budget early on, in order to build up massive prop warehouses (I remember seeing a bit on this in the special features on one of the DVDs) and increase the quality of their production to almost movie-like levels. The differant in quality between say the first season of SG-1, and the stuff you had happening with the Ori in the very end was tremendous. To date we haven't seen a super-hero show able to do the same thing, but then again super heroes require things like CGI and/or wireworks schemes, and things like that, as opposed to being able to get by with a bunch of prop guns and some jumpsuits with uniform patches.

It's sad but, I think we have to accept reality. "Mutant X" tried it and turned itself into a kung-fu show where you had to always ask "if this guy shoots lighting bolts, why is he running in to punch it up with people?" Heroes tried it and collapsed under its own weight and too much lead in without any real satisfying pay off. No Ordinary family seems to be poised to follow the same path as Heroes at an accelerated rate, as sad as that is. To get the good ratings No Ordinary Family needs a higher budget, and nobody is going to give them a higher budget without the ratings.

Truthfully I think "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" was so successful because it was a campy super hero show (and honestly, even if people don't see it that way, that's what it was despite the horror/supernatural focus) but was done in such a way where you expected the resolution to be fisticuffs with someone in a cheezy creature suit... which isn't all that expensive to pull off. Had Buffy been based around "The Slayer" throwing fireballs and flying as her major powers, it wouldn't have worked.

"Smallville" is an exception against most of the odds, but then again there has also been a lot about their FX, and as time goes on they build up the base of materials where they managed to get a LOT flashier in later seasons, while keeping the atmosphere they intented.

I think "The Cape" was an attempt to try an do the "Buffy" thing without the supernatural elements when you get down to it, but it just wasn't all that well designed on a lot of levels. I think a lot of people feel it has potential, but oddly the problem for a lot of people seems to be that the character and his origins don't click with a lot of people, he just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense even as far as super heroes go. What's more I think people want super heroes with powers at th emoment (tastes vary) as opposed to a physical training type, despite that being far easier to do on a TV budget (but also raising a lot more questions than apply in Comics because of the storytelling styles, it's harder to gloss over a lot of things).

I really enjoy the series. It's an easy watch and the stories are entertaining. It's sad when a show has to be a blockbuster immediately or it gets canceled. Shows don't get the chance to build an audience anymore.

It's sad when shows like this go away, only to be replaced by more biggest loser or jersey shore reality rubbish.

It's not Heroes, and therefore I don't like it. Heroes was sooo much better.

Therumancer:

Truthfully I think "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" was so successful because it was a campy super hero show (and honestly, even if people don't see it that way, that's what it was despite the horror/supernatural focus) but was done in such a way where you expected the resolution to be fisticuffs with someone in a cheezy creature suit... which isn't all that expensive to pull off. Had Buffy been based around "The Slayer" throwing fireballs and flying as her major powers, it wouldn't have worked.

"Smallville" is an exception against most of the odds, but then again there has also been a lot about their FX, and as time goes on they build up the base of materials where they managed to get a LOT flashier in later seasons, while keeping the atmosphere they intented.

I think those paragraphs I left out of the spoiler tear your arguement apart. If you need flashy effects to make the story, you're not making the story, you're making a spectacle, and spectacles don't last. I look at No Ordinary Family, and think of things like the Soprano's. Do we watch for the violence and guns that Tony brings? Hell no, we watch for the stories of the characters, understanding that there's this very nasty undertone running through it. You could do the same thing with No Ordinary Family, but you'd have to get away from this mindset that the show is going to be a spectacle. Make it a show about them *dealing* with their powers rather than trying to find excuses to use them and you've got something that can last. Why do Buffy and Smallville succeed? Because at their heart, they're not really about the "villain du jour", but more about how the characters deal with everything else going on as well.

What No Ordinary Family did is more along the lines of what you're suggesting the failures did, and yeah, if you take that model in TV, you're going to fail. But that has nothing to do with the FX or the budget for it, it has to do with television being a serial format. Big FX are good for movies, where you sit down for a couple hours and your done, but FX can't sustain mass interest over weeks and months and years.

Kwil:
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I think those paragraphs I left out of the spoiler tear your arguement apart. If you need flashy effects to make the story, you're not making the story, you're making a spectacle, and spectacles don't last. I look at No Ordinary Family, and think of things like the Soprano's. Do we watch for the violence and guns that Tony brings? Hell no, we watch for the stories of the characters, understanding that there's this very nasty undertone running through it. You could do the same thing with No Ordinary Family, but you'd have to get away from this mindset that the show is going to be a spectacle. Make it a show about them *dealing* with their powers rather than trying to find excuses to use them and you've got something that can last. Why do Buffy and Smallville succeed? Because at their heart, they're not really about the "villain du jour", but more about how the characters deal with everything else going on as well.

What No Ordinary Family did is more along the lines of what you're suggesting the failures did, and yeah, if you take that model in TV, you're going to fail. But that has nothing to do with the FX or the budget for it, it has to do with television being a serial format. Big FX are good for movies, where you sit down for a couple hours and your done, but FX can't sustain mass interest over weeks and months and years.

The problem is that your comparing apples and oranges. There are differant generes for a reason. The whole super hero genere is about the spectacle of the thing, having a good story attached to it is what turns a good hero franchise into a great one, but before any of that you need to have the spectacle down right. If the focus of the X-men was on them sitting around crying into their coffee or always finding excuses why NOT to go out and be super, it wouldn't be anywhere near as successful.

Things like "The Sopranos" are a differant genere entirely, that's a crime drama. However even there it depends on a careful mix of elements. The show wouldn't have worked if it didn't all come down to the criminal activities in the end. The point was to explain all the drama behind the things that were going on, but none of it would have worked without the scams, people getting whacked, and everything else. It's noteworthy that "The Sopranos" followed a general formula, while there were exceptions, in general each and every episode had a point to it and some kind of a payoff that usually involved at least one act of criminal brutality. It's just that you saw it with a keen understanding of WHY it happened from the perspective of the people involved. Typicall a few times per season there would be the results of a metaplot (like when Pussy got whacked) that had been lead up to by a number of events.

With the super hero genere though, it's differan. First the bottom line to establish is that you have to have a super hero, who goes out and fights evil with his incredible powers. That's the baseline for the production. Once you have that as the mainstay of the material, then you can work on cutting it with a few other things like following him home occasionally, or maybe doing a story once in a while where he stays entirely in his secret identity. Nobody read Superman, to see Clark Kent sit around and drink coffee and make smalltalk for 200 pages,they read it so they could see Superman battle villains. The problem of course being that shows like "Heroes" and "No Ordinary Family" got stuck in a rut of focusing on every aspect of what was going on, except the part of them acting as heroes, which was only brought out occasionally. That generally doesn't work out too well, the exceptions that exist are few and far between.

See, the problem is that the guys trying to do these shows aren't trying to be profound. There aren't enough flashy super-hero shows out there right now for there to be a mould to make a counterpoint to. You need to have something established before you can deconstruct or reconstuct it to begin with. They aren't even making the attempt to be "Wild Cards" (novels) or "Astro city", they are doing things this way totally based around the budget. To have super heroes do the kinds of things you expect super heroes to do with frequency involves a LARGE budget, and the TV shows just generally don't have the money to pull it off. One of the things about the super hero movies right now, is that we've just gotten to the point where there is enough technology and interest to have people interested in coming up with the bankrolls to do them right. So far that hasn't trickled down to the small screen.

Super Hero fiction is a very flashy genere by it's nature. People looking for normality don't look towards that genere, they go to it to get away from normality.

 

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