Monday, January 10, 2011
"You can't afford to make mistakes! Out there on the high wire you have to be cold - precise! In the lion's cage, you can't be concerned about your family. You can't be afraid - the lion's smell it. You just walked into the lion's cage and got eaten my friend." - Max Malini (Keith David)
When I first saw the trailer for this show I was excited. I so wanted to like this one and I am happy to say that they didn't let me down. The show is fast and exciting with interesting characters and is most important of all, it is FUN. This is the kind of show Stan Lee would have written back in the day. It's not Shakespeare but it doesn't try to be. It gives a healthy wink to the audience and lets us know that they know that we know it's goofy.
It feels fresh. Not only is Vince Faraday (played by David Lyons) strong with his own motivations but so is everyone around him.
Keith David's 'circus of crime' group are as eccentric (and then some) as you would expect to find at the carnival. I knew the minute after Keith's character 'died', that I was with this show for the long haul. It's doesn't get any better than to see a dramatic death followed by the supposedly dead character open his eyes, scrunch up his face, and start complaining that he wasn't going to die at all. A shame since he just made so great a final speech. He had the attitude that everything was ruined because he actually was going to live. Moments like a 'beautiful death' (as the Spartans called it) come around to infrequently in life. Now THAT is just good storytelling.
The whole 'cape' powers thing is also very fresh and interesting. I like that the 'Cape' is more of a magician and escape artist than your standard crime fighter. He is fragile and human and he makes a lot of mistake. But he learns and is brave.
Martin Kleeba is especially good as the dwarf strong man in the circus. He has no fear of anyone and doesn't let his size keep him for kicking ass. He doesn't suffer fools gladly and he makes you work for his respect.
Kieth David's Max Malini is part criminal, part carnival huckster, part magician, part mentor and part guru. I imagine a very rich back story to his character. Max is a man who has seen it all and now is an invaluable resource to our hero. He has forgotten more about tricks and illusions than any of us will learn in a lifetime. And that VOICE. I know I go on and on about it but it gives the character the kind of gravitas you need in that role. I instantly get why he commands such fierce loyalty from his companions. He builds them up, shares what he has learned to bring out the best in them - to bring out the hero in all of them. Sure he cynically SAYS it's only about the money but we all know it's not. I am sure he sees 'the Cape' as his chance at redemption. He did something in his past that he needs to make up for. Passing his knowledge and skills onto Faraday is giving him a second chance.
Summer Glau's Orwell character (again - perfect name) is a Oracle-like computer hacker who uses her skills (that thankfully do not include the ability to fight like a kung-fu master) to fight corruption in the police force. Despite appearing to be timid, she has a fierce determination to do what's right, a trait she instantly recognizes in 'The Cape'.
David Lyons, however is the heart of this show. The lose of his family, who believe he is dead, is never far from his mind. The show makes time to showcase the bond between father and child. Ryan Wyhnot's Trip is also excellent. Instead of showing outward signs of loss, he pulls back instead. He swallows all his pain. Acting inner turmoil is much harder than showing emotion. Every feeling has to be conveyed not with words but with a look, an expression.
James Frain is an actor you have seen many times before. He is excellent as the criminal mastermind, Chess. Chess is a psychopath and a dangerous enemy. Frain plays him with Joker like menace. You never know what he is going to do. He is a coiled spring of evil who can snap at any minute. You always want your villains to be the equal if not the better of the hero. Writing heroes is easy. Writing good villains is hard. I am happy to say that this time the creators got it right.
For now the Orwel's world of cyberspace and the world of the circus are separate parts of the Cape's existence. I will be great to see both sides come together. I like how the creators didn't automatically put all of the Cape's 'team' in one place. The journey both sides take towards one another will be interesting to watch.
Personally I hope that Summer and Martin's character have some sparks between them. It's an odd paring on the surface but there are lots of things they have to admire about each other. He likes that she is hot and smart and unlike any of the circus women he knows and that would fascinate him. She would be impressed with his life story and how he made himself the man he is today. They both have powerful wills. He to not have any barriers before him because of his size and her to do anything to end the crime that is destroying her city. I have a feeling that her strong desire to see justice done comes from the death of someone very close to her. Maybe her father was a cop.
Okay, this is how you know that this is a good show. If I am asking myself so many questions about plot and character then I am hooked.
I am impressed that NBC is putting a huge effort into promoting this show. Maybe after 'Heroes' they are determined to avoid the mistakes that derailed that show as it went on. Last night they showed the first two episodes and will do the same tonight and later in the week. That is UNHEARD of in network TV. NBC really wants this show to find it's audience.
Don't believe me? Check out the following story. Many thanks to my Kiwi buddy Nick Ward for pointing it out to me.
NBC Puts Capes on NYC Statues to Promote new Drama 'The Cape'
NEW YORK - NBC is running a special promotion in New York City tied to the upcoming launch of its new drama The Cape, which premieres Sunday.
NBC has partnered with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to highlight statues all over the city with capes along with a plaque describing each stone hero’s achievement. It will also highlight similarities in their character traits and those of Cape's protagonist.
Among the statues are ones of George Washington in Union Square Park and William Shakespeare in Central Park.
Statue visitors can also enter the Hero Behind the Cape giveaway contest by using FourSquare and Twitter.
Said Adam Stotsky, president, NBC Marketing: “There is no bigger stage than New York City, which is home to dozens of statues honoring some of the most accomplished men and women in history."
"This sponsorship will benefit the preservation of New York’s collection of public art in the parks while drawing new audiences to them,” said Vickie Karp, director of public information for New York City Parks & Recreation. "The new NBC series is a novel way to remind even the most jaded New Yorker that heroes are all around us."
Posted by Kal at 9:40 AM