Category Archives: eli stone

No Ordinary Family

This show has the unhealthy feel of a network executive deciding that ABC needs a family-style superhero series that would feed off the “Heroes” audience who were feeling betrayed by the powers that be who ruined “Heroes.” The feeling continues when it seems like they grabbed Marc Guggenheim off “Eli Stone” because someone mentioned he used to write comic books. And it doesn’t get any better when they cast veteran superhero actor Michael Chiklis in the lead, and gets even worse when he gets almost the same powers, if not the look of The Thing, his role in the Fantastic Four films.

All that said, “No Ordinary Family” is a likable, family friendly and genre friendly show. My problem with it is much the same problem I have with M. Night’s Unbreakable (a flick I love, I might add), it’s all origin and training, no superhero stuff. I want a superhero show, not a learner with training wheels, I want the hero, the guy (or gal) who can, I want to strong chin, starry eyes to root for against the bad guys. It’s what the genre is, or should be, about.

Speaking of bad guys, the villains of this piece, are one of the elements that does keep me coming back. I hate to bring it back to the failure of “Heroes,” but the bad guys being more charismatic than the good guys is not a good thing. Let’s hope “No Ordinary Family” can shake out of training phase and not submit to the “Heroes” curse.

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Best of 2008: Television


Yep, it’s that time of year again, time for everyone and their mother to pick what they thought was the best of the past year. I’m no different, so yes, I’m going to make you suffer through my thoughts. This time, it’s television.

For me the top ten TV series of 2008 were:

“Pushing Daisies” – While canceled, and unlikely to return as anything but reruns or DVD, this was a bright spot for me on the TV schedule. It was thoughtful, innovative and brilliant, and that’s not even going into the unique cinematic or storytelling techniques it used.

“Eli Stone” – Another unique show and cancellation victim. ABC canned both of them after giving them a second chance this season. I guess ABC has not only a bone to pick with fantasy, but also television that makes you think.

“True Blood” – Unique marketing set this HBO series apart from any other vampire series before it even hit the air with the “BloodCopy” viral marketing ploy. This TV adaptation of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series is the surprise hit of the year.

“Dexter” – In its third season this Showtime series about a serial killer who hunts other serial killers continues to amaze. Even when it’s weak, it is better than 90% of everything else out ther on the tube.

“ER” – This old favorite, now in its supposedly final season, has bounced back and become its best season in years with guest stars galore and maintaining its balance of believable characters and intense situations. I don’t want it to go.

“The Wire” – And I didn’t want this one to go either, but what’s done is done. I came late to the party here and caught up on DVD, but I have to say that “The Wire” is probably one of the best series that has beeen made for television, period.
“Parking Wars” – This reality series from A&E follows the employees of the dreaded Philadelphia Parking Authority around during their workday. It’s the only reality show of its type that even comes close to the entertainment value of “Cops.”

The bottom five of my top ten are rounded out by Cartoon Network’s “Brave and the Bold” and “Venture Bros.,” the BBC’s fourth season of “Doctor Who,” the still refreshing “Chuck,” and FX’s much-missed and unfortunately canceled “Dirt.”

In the honorable mentions and etcetera department would be “Smallville” and “South Park” as most improved series, and BET’s “Black Panther” and the CW’s “Reaper” as the most looked forward to series in 2009.

On the bad side, boos and hisses for “Heroes” and Everybody Hates Chris” for dying a slow death in 2008, and the worst show I’ve seen this year would, of course, be the American version of “Kath and Kim.”