Review – The Cape Doesn't Quite Cut It

Review – The Cape Doesn't Quite Cut ItI feel like I’m slowly becoming the grouchy blogger who proclaims everything on television is crap. I really, really, don’t want to be that guy, but unfortunately, this midseason just isn’t quite cutting it. So far, Episodes and Shameless have been the only midseason shows I’ve really enjoyed (though SyFy’s upcoming Being Human, which I’ve seen the first three episodes of, will soon join that list). Perhaps at the top of the hype list, though, was NBC’s comic book actioner The Cape, which I’ll admit looked really good. I regret to tell you, though, that it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. And, with the high expectations I saw floating around the internet, it won’t cut it for many of you guys, either.

Let me get this straight: The Cape isn’t a bad show. While the second hour was a bit tedious, I particularly enjoyed the first one. But the difference between the two hours was enough of a warning sign. The pacing was completely uneven — the story seemed to absolutely fly by in the first episode, with not twenty minutes passing between Faraday’s ‘death’ and the birth of The Cape. The pacing was indeed comic-bookish, and worked to tell a pretty good origin story. It moved quickly enough to draw me in. Did it strike me as much as the series premiere of Heroes did back in 2006? No, Heroes was much, much better in its heyday than The Cape was tonight.

But it wasn’t until the second hour of The Cape that I really yearned for the more lighthearted season one Heroes, which had a certain humanity to it that The Cape, despite copious flashback scenes, simply didn’t have. The second hour of the series also lost all the momentum set by the first hour. While we were going at a hundred miles per hour by the end of episode one, episode two brought it down to a dead halt, essentially. Would it have been better if the two episodes had aired separately? I’m almost certainly inclined to say yes — if the two hadn’t been so tightly juxtaposed, I might have found the second episode more enjoyable. Instead, I got jet lag of the boredom variety.

I mentioned characterization earlier, and unfortunately, that’s where the show was really lacking. Chess and Orwell were only memorable because they’re played by two great television actors (James Frain and Summer Glau, respectively). It was fun to see the two of them on screen. Everyone else? Not as much. The only character who was memorable on his own merits was Max Malini (Keith David), who had some of the show’s only really funny moments in the first episode (though he proved disappointing in the second).

And a circus in a superhero show? How original. “The Circus of Crime” no less? Makes Heroes season four look like Carnivale.

Will I watch The Cape again? With the undeniably great Being Human coming up in the same Monday time slot, I have to say no — though I can’t help but think I would have tuned back in if NBC hadn’t given us that second episode so close to the first. C+

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