This review contains spoilers.
5. No Ordinary Quake
Before I talk about this episode, I want to first talk about the decline in audience that No Ordinary Family has experienced since its second episode. Last week the show secured its full season order, despite seeing a week on week descent in the number of people willing to watch it. The pilot episode got a 3.2 rating, and in five weeks that’s declined to 2.0, losing 10% of viewing the past week alone. I’m not sure where the floor is, but this production will probably get halted if it falls below 1.5.
I’ve mentioned some of the issues with the stories, but I’m beginning to wonder if the whole premise of the show is just too light to carry a modern audience? Deep down this is a seventies TV notion, propped up with modern effects, sadly.
With that in mind, I approached No Ordinary Earthquake to discover that they’d finally decided to ditch the JJ subplot where he won’t admit to his parents that he had a power. The irony of this is that it went on too long anyway, and that, given JJ has a super-brain, why didn’t he work out how it would end before he was revealed by his own actions?
The weakness of this whole sub-story was then underlined in bright marker pen when they tied the whole thing up with a scene almost entirely borrowed from the back end of The Incredibles, with his family watching him at a sporting event, willing him to intentionally fail. I know the show owes much to Pixar’s concept, but taking scenes from the movie and reproducing them goes beyond amusing reference.
The story had two other elements, a tired moral story about the obvious pitfalls of listening to other people’s thoughts for Daphne, and another about a super-villain who can create earthquakes. Neither cleared the back fence in a single bound, never mind high buildings. The Daphne story was stupid on a number of levels, and I was amazed that it didn’t end with lawyers involved when she wrongly accuses a teacher of having a relationship with a student. I yawned through these scenes.
The earthquake girl story was a more interesting dish, except there wasn’t enough of it to really get a handle on who the character was, and what she was going through that made her attack pharmacists. Surely, if you have those powers, it would be much easier to turn up in the middle of the night and break the walls down? Her actions didn’t make sense, but then we had so little information to go on that it was hard to understand her motives and actions.
It also didn’t have much logic when Jim tried to offer her help when she’d killed a number of people intentionally. I mean, that’s not really fighting crime is it?
The upside of all this is at least the JJ story is complete, and we don’t have to suffer any more of his teenage angst in that respect.
To my mind, the next episode is a make-or-break for this show, as they need to show the potential in their story and not just rework borrowed ideas and lame family feuding interactions. If they wave goodbye to another significant audience chunk with another lacklustre episode, then, full season order or not, I can’t see this being around for much longer.
Read our review of episode 3, No Ordinary Ring, here.