Genre: Drama, Comic Book
Creator: Tom Wheeler
Director: David Jackson, Deran Sarafian
Writer: Tom Wheeler, Craig Titley, Bill Wheeler
Cast: David Lyons, Keith David, Summer Glau, James Frain, Jennifer Ferrin, Ryan Wynott, Martin Klebba, Dorian Missick
Summary: Vince Faraday is a cop who has been framed for murder leading him to fall off the grid and becomes the super hero known only as “The Cape.”
Tagline: The only way to clear his name is to take a new one.
Runtime: Hour-long television series
The Cape is NBC’s superhero follow-up to fill the vacancy created by the cancellation of Heroes. Does it fulfill our superhero-watching-needs? Here’s my review on the first three episodes of the show to help you determine if this show is worth watching or not.
[Above: David Lyons as Vince Faraday and Ryan Wynott as his son, Trip]
Recap of the storyline: Vince Faraday (David Lyons) is a man who followed in his family’s footsteps to become a cop to serve and protect Palm City. He is beloved by his son and wife, but one day, he is set up to take the fall for the big bad, Chess, by… dun dun duuuuuunnnnn! … His best friend. It is all part of Chess aka Peter Fleming’s (James Frain) plan to privatize the police force under his ARC corporation in his play for power in the city. From the police chase footage, it appears that Chess (the framed Vince) is blown up when an oil tanker explodes, but Vince escaped and is taken in by a group of carnival folk led by Max Milini (Keith David.) Vince decides that he needs to fight back to clear his name and get back to his family and Max is there as mentor to him in learning how to use this special cape handed down through generations of performers and how to adapt circus tricks to crime-fighting. Vince adopts the name of The Cape, his son’s favorite comic superhero. Orwell (Summer Glau), a blogger with means who tells the truth that the Fleming-controlled media does not, teams up with Vince to take Fleming down.
[Above: David Lyons as the Cape, Summer Glau as Orwell]
The Cape is a perfect translation of what a live-action comic book would be. Even the pacing of each episode is divided up into chapters, broken by commercial breaks, much like consecutive issues of comic books. The show’s vibrantly rich colors and dramatic lighting correlate to that comic book feel that the show’s creator desired. This translation is seen most visibly in the show’s villains (like Chess and Scales) who are stylized just like great comic book villains should be.
[Above: James Frain as Chess]
As far as the performance of the actors, David Lyons is believable as the father who must do anything to try to get his family back and kick some bad guy ass to clear his name. James Frain is as always a great villain and slips into Chess’ villain suit quite easily. Summer Glau’s Orwell is still shrouded in mystery, but that will most likely change in coming episodes. Ryan Wynott (FlashForward) is adequate as Trip Faraday, Vince’s son.
[Above: David Lyons as Vince Faraday, and Keith David as Max Milini]
The stand-out characters are Max Milini (Keith David) and David’s wife Dana Faraday (Jennifer Ferrin). Milini and his band of criminals, dubbed the Carnival of Crime, provide a relief of humor for the show. These carnies balance out the seriousness of Vince/The Cape and brings dimension to the show. On the other hand, you feel for Ferrin’s character, Dana, who is now struggling as a single-mom, battling the stigma of her accused husband’s name. Dana is the heart of the show and for the writers to show her side of the story shows that this show tells a family drama and not just a show with superheroes and villains.
[Above: Jennifer Ferrin as Dana Faraday]
The special effects are minimal and blend well with the dramatic look of the show. The show uses many different cities in aerial views to serve as Palm City to give it an every-city feel. The make-up design on Scales aka Dominic Raoul (Vinnie Jones) is phenomenal and never fails to inspire awe.
[Above: Vinnie Jones as Scales]
By episode three, the show is showing beginning to show us:
- The eventual conflict between Vince and the criminal carnies that took him in.
- Hints at Orwell’s daddy issues at the same time as they reveal the hole in Peter Fleming’s life in the form of a missing daughter.
- How Vince had to work with Fleming, the man who took his life away from him, to save the people on the speeding train.
This show is only going to gain more momentum with upcoming episodes, especially with the new villains they are casting.
In context with the network’s line-up, The Cape is a perfect complement to Chuck in tone. It is entertaining and kid-safe. For a show that did not start out as a comic, it sure takes the comic book trend by the horns and embraces the spirit and feel of what it is like to experience a comic book. I hope that this show ignites the interest in comics for a new group of kids!
I give The Cape Three out of Five Stars.
Watch The Cape on NBC, Mondays 9/8C.
Why a First Three Episode Review? I believe that you need at least three episodes of a new show to tell if it’s worth watching or not. By three episodes, you should be able to understand the characters and their motivations, start to see the major plotlines unfold, and have a good gut feeling about the compatibility of what the show offers and what you look for in a show. I think this allows a viewer to be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to continue watching a new show. Thus, the Three Episode Review is designed to help you decide if a show is worth adding to your TV watching agenda.