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'No Ordinary Family' Has Something For Everyone, Says Producers - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 1st 2010 9:02PM
Jimmy Bennett and Michael Chiklis at the 'No Ordinary Family' panel at the Summer 2010 TCAsI was going to entitle this post "'No Ordinary Family' Is the Prius of TV," but I figured people wouldn't quite get it. But if executive producer Greg Berlanti and star Michael Chiklis are to be believed via their repeated use of the word 'hybrid,' 'No Ordinary Family' is something that hasn't been seen on TV an ages, something that feels familiar but is fresh and new.

It's a show about a family who are involved in a plane crash and find out the waters they swam in after ditching gave them super powers. So it's a family show, a sci fi show, and a show with some comic book elements to it.

Why are they emphasizing the show's crossover nature so much? Because, according to both the producers and the stars, to make a mark on broadcast television, a show needs to be big. Hybrid big.

"It's kind of a fun throwback to some of the action adventure series I watched so much as a kid," said Berlanti. "As audiences get more sophisticated you try to blend genres. We wanted to make something the whole family could watch together."

Chiklis continued on this theme. "(The show) borrows from a lot of stuff we love but then it becomes something different. We're doing something that's really quite ambitious here. The scope of the show is rather large. It is intimate and it is a family show, but the superhero element wrapped around it makes it exciting."

Everyone insisted, though, that this was a family show first and a superhero show second. "People who aren't particularly interested in sci fi will be interested in this show," said Chiklis.

It didn't take long for the subject of Chiklis' previous role as Vick Mackey on 'The Shield' came out. And, while his 'Family' character of Jim Powell -- who can jump great distances and stop bullets -- couldn't be more different than Mackey, Chiklis managed to see some similarities. "There are shades of the heroic aspect of Mackey in this character. There aren't shades of gray like in Mackey." He later told a critic, "If you want to see violence, watch my previous show."

Chiklis' co-star, Julie Benz, also just left a violent show in 'Dexter.' And as Stephanie Powell, she appreciates the fact that her superpower of speed makes her the mom that does everything. "Rita (on 'Dexter') was a very passive character, inactive in many ways. Stephanie is active in many ways. Coming off of 'Dexter,' it seemed to be the right thing for me to do this." And while Rita may be a presence on 'Dexter' this season, she says, she physically will not be.

More tidbits:

-- Berlanti felt that the show has the look and feel of an "event" show. "(With) network shows, the audience is expecting the show to be well produced and big and have that same richness and quality."

-- When asked what super powers they'd want in real life, Benz said "I'd want teleportation. I love to travel but hate to fly."

-- Chiklis insisted that this is not like a similar superhero family he was a part of in the two 'Fantastic Four' movies, or like Disney/Pixar's 'The Incredibles,' mainly because the family is struggling with these new powers they have. 'I don't think of this show as a sci fi show. What we're trying to do is meld diff genres together and make a new thing. At its core is a family drama."

-- According to Berlanti, there will be other "supers" around that might threaten the family, but they mainly serve to extend their world beyond the four members of the super family.

-- Did they say the show was a hybrid? Oh yeah, they did. A lot.

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Enjoy the show very much. My question is the show coming back for season 2 or is it cancelled.

April 20 2011 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to admit I'm really looking forward to this. When/where does it debut?

August 02 2010 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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