I first saw The Cape‘s promo clip on tv many months ago, it strikes me like a Mask of Zorro + Batman Begins rip off in that the protagonist is a regular guy who takes on a secret identity to fight crime. I didn’t remember much about the series until I started hearing the radio ad campaign set in a real-life news clip about crimes being committed in Palm City, a fictional metropolis that looks like a sunny version of Gotham. NBC has really ramped up its marketing campaign, even teaming up with NYC’s Parks & Recreation Department by donning some of its monuments and statutes with black capes! Not quite as clever as The Dark Knight‘s viral I Believe in Harvey Dent campaign, but certainly as ambitious!
So who the heck is The Cape? Here’s the official description:
“The Cape” is a one-hour drama series starring David Lyons as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead. He is forced into hiding, leaving behind his wife, Dana and son, Trip. Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Faraday becomes “The Cape” his son’s favorite comic book superhero — and takes the law into his own hands.
As I’ve mentioned in my year-old blog post, Brits and Aussies continue to rule US TV as the lead actor Lyons hailed from Melbourne, Australia (with a degree from NIDA no less) and the show’s villain is played by British actor James Frain. Of course the most familiar face to US audiences is Summer Glau (Firefly, Sarah Connor Chronicles). She’s sure looking to have a hit on her hands as her last major show didn’t pan out, and the same with the peacock network, who saw Heroes crashed and burned last season.
In this Zap2It blog‘s article on the show’s creator Tom Wheeler (who did ABC’s 2005 miniseries Empire), he talked about the show’s origins and his inspirations: “Asked about his early and current favorites, he rattles off a list of titles (“Growing up, my favorites were the X-Men, Power Man and Iron Fist, Conan, I liked the Avengers“) and creators (“I read everything Grant Morrison writes, anything Alan Moore writes. … I loved Ed Brubaker’s stuff with Captain America“) that have influenced him and that he hopes to channel into The Cape.”
Well, all the promos managed to convinced the superhero geek in me to give this one a chance. So what’s the verdict? Well, it’s certainly much better than Smallville. It’s more of a guilty pleasure type of show more than anything. Of course in a logic-defying genre show like this one, we’re asked to suspend our disbelief and suppress our cynicism to a minimum to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Still, I thought it was pretty decent and a good es-cape-ist fun (pardon the pun) 🙂
The cast is not bad. I’m already sold on Lyons as the flawed ‘hero,’ but my favorite character so far is Keith David’s Max Malini, the chief of the traveling circus of bank robbers who became the vigilante’s mentor. Glad they didn’t kill him off in the first episode! I’m personally tired of seeing Vinnie Jones playing a slight variation of himself every single time though. Glau is fittingly cast as the enigmatic blogger and the hero’s ally, though she hasn’t been given much to do yet other than driving the coolest rides, such as this awesome Mercedes-Benz SLS.
There’s plenty of action and hand-to-hand combat but never gory, and I dug that the show has plenty of heart. It’s his love of his family that keeps them going, though he obviously cares more about seeking justice to simply run away with them when he’s got the chance. I just hope they keep the overly melancholy dialog to a minimum, that father-son scene on the rooftop a la Superman Returns is making me cringe! The origins story first hour is moving too fast though, what, is The Flash directing this episode?? In any kind of storytelling, a little character development can go a long way.
But yeah, I’ll keep on watching. Since the second hour of the premiere is already more compelling than the first, I’m hoping that the show will continue to improve. The next episode will air right after Chuck on Monday, January 17 in the vacated slot of The Event, a show I’ve been following until NBC suspended it. So this just fits perfectly into my schedule. We’ll see if this show will live on beyond its 13-episode run and whether it’ll hold my interest before the season is over.
Well, did any of you catch the premiere? If so, what did you think?