Third-episode verdict: No Ordinary Family

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

In the US: Tuesdays, 8/7c, ABC
In the UK: Yet to be acquired Acquired by Watch

Three episodes into No Ordinary Family and I can’t help but feel that despite being one of the better shows of the new Fall season, it’s actually quite… ordinary.

After a first episode that was quite fun and and had a few cool moments, we charged into episode two where things continued to look promising. There was nothing too exceptional: the kids with the “could be interesting if used well but not here” powers just sort of milled around high school trying to learn how to deal with their new powers: daughter doesn’t want to read everyone‘s mind, while son is busily trying to avoid revealing to anyone – including his equally super-powered parents – that he has a super brain now. Daddy (Michael Chiklis) is learning how to use his new powers for surely the only fun point of the show, fighting crime, while Mommy (Julie Benz) just wishes it would all go away, at least once she’s finished researching it. It wasn’t awesome, but it was okay, and the ongoing plot of the super-villains trying to work out if there are superheroes was actually quite nasty and well executed.

Episode three, however, was very ordinary indeed. Son wants daughter to find out if a girl fancies him; daughter wants to have a friend to talk to; mom wants to avoid being found out at work; dad wants to fight crime. But interspersed with that, we get the son pretending to be Jewish; dad and mom trying to get their teenage daughter to be friends with their friends so they’ll have someone to talk to; and black best friend of Chiklis trying to teach him to dance.

I kid you not.

Actual excitement was a little harder to find, despite the robberies in episode three. For superheroes, there’s not much heroics going on, it has to be said. While Benz and Chiklis’s superpowers are CGI-ed relatively well (Benz’s better than Chiklis’s), they’re not really being used much. All most people really want is to see some fun superfights with a backdrop of family problems; what we’re getting is family problems with the very occasional backdrop of fun superfights. Chiklis’s character is the only one enjoying himself, with Benz just being long-suffering, and it doesn’t really feel like an ordinary family.

All the same, I’m going to say there’s no harm in watching this. Don’t expect awesome or outstanding. Don’t expect anything truly new or original. But it’s family fun that never really sinks into anything terribly bad.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Will last at least a season, unless it forgets it needs to be interesting within the next few episodes.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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