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THE CAPE Pilot Episode Review

First thoughts on the new NBC superhero series.

NBC is taking another stab at the superhero genre with the premiere of THE CAPE (Sunday, January 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT with an encore Monday night). The premise of the show is simple. An honest police officer (David Lyons) is determined to fight the corruption in his city and take down the evil villain known as Chess. With corruption everywhere, our hero, Vince Farraday (Lyons) discovers the identity of Chess, only to be framed and seemingly killed in an explosion. 
Luckily for our hero, he is rescued by members of a special circus. It's here that Vince meets the ringleader, Max Malini (played well by Keith David). Because this isn't an ordinary circus, Vince soon finds himself in possession of a magical/mystical cape. With this cape and basing himself on his son's favorite comic book hero (conveniently  known as The Cape), Vince is on course to fight the evil that has tarnished and turned his life upside down. 
Sound cheesy? Let's be honest, most superhero descriptions do. The real question is, how was the execution of this show? 
 == TEASER == 
I had low expectations before watching the pilot episode. That being said, the show wasn't as bad as I feared. The problem is, at this point, I can't say I really care for the main character's plight. He was framed, everyone thinks he died, his wife and son have to deal with everyone thinking he was bad, he can't contact them or their lives would be in danger and so on. Sorry but all that wasn't enough for me.  

 Where the show does get a little interesting is in the supporting cast, mainly Keith David and some of the members of the strange circus. They're not your typical superhero sidekick characters. The Cape wants to be a noble hero doing the right thing and these guys sometimes have their own agenda. If taken in the right direction, these characters could add some interesting layers to the show.  
The pacing of the pilot episode was all over the place. The introduction leading up to Vince getting framed and gaining possession of the cape happens pretty quickly. He undergoes training to learn how to control the abilities of the cape but I wasn't sure how much time he spent doing so. It felt like he easily learned how to use it too fast. Other parts of the show left me waiting for the end of the episode. Essentially what is being aired is a double episode, "Pilot" and "Tarot." They flow seamlessly together but I think, at least for me, it will work better as a one-hour show instead of a two-hour presentation. 
What about Summer Glau? She plays Orwell, an "investigative blogger who partners with The Cape to wage war on crime and corruption." Really. She's an investigative blogger driving a Mercedes and knows way more about the corruption in the city than even our hero. This means our hero has allies with Glau's characters and the circus (that luckily isn't a traveling one). Based on this episode, I don't really see the point of her character being part of the show (besides the obvious reason). Thankfully when she was confronting one of the bad guys, she didn't use her self-defense moves seen in her other performances. The Cape should be the one with the fancy moves, not the sidekick. 
Without getting into details of his character, I was happy to see James Frain in the show. It feels like he's always popping up in something and he does a good job here, adding a little more to the show. Somehow I had forgotten that he was in it and it was a pleasant surprise. As for what role he plays in the show, I'll leave that for you to discover when you check it out for yourself. 
How is the show overall? As I mentioned, it was better than I feared. There is some potential. The concept is a little cheesy--a magical cape to fight crime. I like the aspects of finding out where the cape came from and what are the true intentions of the circus rather than seeing Vince try to solve his personal mission. The name is also a little weak. There was too much of a coincidence that his son's favorite comic book happens to be The Cape and he gets rescued by Malini, who happens to have this cape sitting around gathering dust. The show does seem a little ambitious in terms of shooting locations used. I do worry that the show could end up being costly to make which will cause problems later on in production. That was one problem HEROES faced before.
Another question is how long can this show go on? Can The Cape win his war against evil? If he stops Chess and clears the name of Vince Farraday, will he come out of hiding? Will he go back to his family and the police force or try to stop any other crimes going on? Are we going to see other villains pop up? We always see more super powered villains show up once a hero takes the stage. I can't see the show focusing on The Cape's vendetta against only one villain.  
At this point, I'm not ready to commit to the show. I will check out the next episode to see how the flow of a regular one is compared to this two-hour presentation. The show needs to figure out what direction it wants to take. We have the family aspect but there are darker tones in the show. Compared to No Ordinary Family, this obviously is taking the genre a little more seriously despite being about a guy with a magic cape. We don't have a lot of shows in this genre on right now and hopefully this one will overcome its kinks and fill the void that HEROES left (when it was a good show). Bottom line, I liked the show a little bit but was far from loving it. Check it out for yourself and let me know what your impressions were. 
Here's the opening credits (that weren't on my screener copy). 
157 CommentsRefresh
Posted by SUPER-MAN 23

Nice, I guess I'll have to check this out later on today. And see if it meets the superhero TV standards

Posted by queenfrost_

I like Summer's character

Posted by FoxxFireArt

Do you ever wonder if every comic series today is required to have a character named Cain in some form? I've seen previews for this series on USA Network. They show the names of the villains.

Posted by super papercut

You had me at Keith David

Posted by sdunham818

Sounds pretty iffy.

Posted by Final Arrow

Nice he was a great actor, loved him in Tudors.

Posted by Joe Venom

every time I hear Keith David I think "Gargoyles" lol, it does look awfully cheesy but I gave Ordinary Family a chance so I don't see why I can't check this out. I just hope the Eagles win 2nite so I'll be in a better mood when I watch it

Posted by ReverseNegative

Does anyone else think he looks like a recolour of the Traveler in the opening?

Posted by Jotham

Investigative Blogger? I think Hollywood still hasn't figured out what blogging is. Oh, well. I set this to record, so I'll watch it later.

Posted by haydenclaireheroes

I am hoping this lasts because it seems there is a Glau curse very show she is on it gets cancelled very quickly. The problem is with this curse I actually think that Summer Glau is a good actress. 

Posted by Masta_T

Looks pretty damn lame. 

Posted by antiterra

They should have hired Sucker Punch to do the opening credits; the comic book sequences in Infamous were nothing short of amazing. Much better-looking and dynamic than that intro up there.

Posted by Duo_forbidden

After what happened to Heroes, I don't know if I should gamble on watching this. NBC for me has gone downhill. The only programs I watch on NBC are SNL and sometimes 30 Rock.

Posted by ForbushBug

Summer Glau and Randall the Crotch Punching Dwarf? This might be the greatest show ever...

Posted by ninjadude853

Being framed for murder and not being able to contact your family because you were forced to fake your death isn't enough? really? That's just cynical.
I'm gonna give this show a try. It will flop, i have absolutely no doubts about that. But i mine as well enjoy it while I can.

Posted by Lovenuggets

Sigh guys guys! this wont be Like Heroes! Heroes was a fail rip of, yes I am going to say it and I'm going to stick by it X-men..not changing my mind on that...this new series is on a whole new level..has anyone seen the longer trailer? it may have some similarities to a certain super hero who cares? this has some originality towards it at least. But we all know NBC is a fail programming station and can't handle good shows, But I'm hoping this will last I mean come on you have Keith David, Martin Klebba , and Vinnie Jones! If I'm missing anyone else tell me, but I Mean come on!
I Say Less Reality BS more Legit Shows Like "The Cap" please, k thanks!

Posted by G-Man
@ninjadude853: It's more that I didn't care about the main character/actor. I mentioned there are more interesting supporting characters. But I am hoping things get better.
Posted by weapon154


Posted by MrMazz

Watching you live stream yourself watching the ep was funny. So wait Summer Glau character is named   Orwell which sounds like both a reference to Orson Wells and Citizen Kane and also looks like she is playing some sort of Oracle type role sans wheelchair 
The shows title and character names makes it seem campy but the world its sent in isn't 

Posted by EGoD

I'm not so sure about a superhero show like this, it seems kinds silly.  Having a hot terminator chick in it is a plus but I'm not into "No Ordinary Family" so I doubt I will get into this. 
Posted by HexThis

The problem I have with the premise is that it's not very original. How many times have their been tv shows or movies about cops gone rogue? Then add to that the whole evil crime organization with a malevolent sounding yet oddly banal name as well as a love interest who's a reporter? 
I say, make Summer Glau the lead and then we can talk.

Posted by RVonE

Thanks for this review. I'm glad you think it isn't entirely aweful and that it has some things about it that might turn out to be worthwhile. I hope they take this series more into drama territory. I hope this series will be somewhat successful because, you know, it's nice to have Summer back on tv.
Posted by cmaprice

No one will remember this in 5 years. But, then, I felt pretty much the same way about Heroes. That show lasted 4, and still manages to be discussed from time to time.
But, yes. A big, heaping pass for this show.

Posted by zombietag
Posted by batman_is_god

I'll check this out.
Posted by NexusOfLight

I think I'mma like No Ordinary Family more, but I guess I'll give this a chance.

Posted by Jotham
@MrMazz said:
" Summer Glau character is named   Orwell which sounds like both a reference to Orson Wells and Citizen Kane "
It's probably actually a reference to George Orwell.
Posted by Baron_Emo

I think I'll wait for the Netflix.

Posted by jayskee

i like the show but hate the name
Posted by irvine1345

 (sigh) im sad to predict that the show might not last long. Not because the plot of the series is horrible, but because its programming station is NBC. As we all know, no one watches much of NBC..and if people do its because of their comedy shows. And im not going to bring up HEROES because that show was just going down hill anyways, even if it where on FOX or ABC or CW. Speaking of that, i think The Cape would have an improved viewer rating if it where broadcast on a station like CW or ABC, where their superhero themed series tend to do well, like smallville. The station would also do a better job than NBC in advertising the show because i had no clue this show existed until a week pretty excited to see where this may go because it has some potential. Best of luck to the writers...

Posted by mistersarcastic

If Summer is in it, I'll be checking it out. ^_^

Posted by auntneppy

Whether this show fails or does well, that picture of Keith David and Martin Klebba is AWESOME. Could we just have a show where those two gentlemen fight crime  
(with Klebba's athletics and David's voice)?

Posted by marvelunivers_deleteme

reminds me of moon nights stealth suit

Posted by Meteorite

Might check this out if it comes to Australia.

Posted by dondasch

I give it a 10 on the meh scale

Posted by Danial79

Couldn't they just buy the rights to a Marvel or DC character? At least then they'd have an instant audience instead of having to try and win over people from scratch.

Posted by MTHarman

I extremely hate no-talent stereotype superhero shows that are just a mere byproduct of comic fans wet dream.

Posted by Joe Venom

Eagles lost I'll just catch it tomorrow :(

Posted by Mbecks14

Every character is interesting except for the Cape. With a ridiculous name and gimmick (a super-cape? really?) .  I really like Orwell (Summer Glau) but i just find Cape/Farraday boring and annoying.  
Also, circus people being good guys? a rare thing for a reason. NOBODY likes the circus.  
Not as bad as i expected, but still i wouldnt be surprised if it doesnt even last the entire season

Posted by Vance Astro

Just finished watching the first episode.I have to say it was pretty good.

Posted by ReverseNegative
@zombietag said:
" he looks just like traveler "
I know, I just said that.
Posted by VillainousV

O_O..............I want a magic cape..................that would be the best power............I mean really who wants super speed or flight or invulnerability...........I'd be all like "check out my CAPE b!tches!"'d be awesome...........

Posted by lastdrag0n89

I keep busting out laughing when I see his costume. **snicker** lol

Posted by csimon

Wating it now And so far I love it . It's like a comic come to life all the over the top and awesomeness that you find in comics on the small screen I love it so far.

Edited by umbrafeline

remember the nightman tv movie?
Posted by shawn87

im recording this show and plan on watching it tomorrow when i have time.  
I didnt know James Frain was gonna be in this. I like him a lot he's a good actor and did well on The Tudors 
No surprise to your comment about Summer Glau's character. Its obvious why she's part of the cast. I just hope she doesn't ruin the show with her horrible acting

Posted by CaptainJustice

Just watched it. Good show in every regard.
Posted by kaliforniaa

Seems to me that Chess is very similar to Spiderman's Goblin

Posted by SuperXAsh

I liked it. Had a cool style, and an interesting premise (with the Tarot league of assassins, Chess, etc.). Sure the origin story isn't exactly original, but it works.  
I'm gonna give it a chance at least, see how things develop.

Posted by Icon

It's too derivative for my liking.