The Cape is your basic hero story. Vince Faraday (David Lyons) is a mild mannered cop/family man just trying to right in the world. He stumbles on to the wrong person/information and is framed for a crime. Vince decides the best thing to do is disappear and work silently to clear his name. Of course, since his enemy is a out and out super villian, the best idea Vince has is to become a hero known as The Cape. Know on paper this works, you’ve seen it a million times, you’ve seen it work a million times, unfortunately its not working here.
The key to a truly successful hero show is that you need to care about the hero (both in real life and secret identity) and you need to care about what he is fighting for (in this case his family). When Vince Faraday is The Cape the show had my attention. The fight scenes were pretty impressive for a TV show and the special effects were not horribly distracting. The problem was that I didn’t care that Vince Faraday had a mission to regain his good name and family. As Vince Faraday cop, Lyons just didn’t convey anything that made me care. It may have been Lyons and it may have been the script but either way there was nothing to make you invest in Vince Faraday getting his life back. It did not help that his wife Dana Faraday (Jennifer Ferrin) seemed to lack faith in him as well, soon as he disappeared she switched to her maiden name to protect herself. Thank God the writers had her young son call her out on this, but it made it hard to care for her. If you don’t like the hero’s family it makes it really hard to care if he gets his family back.
The highlight of the show came when Vince Faraday gets taken in (or abducted depending on your POV) by the circus. A true cast of characters that actually added some fun and lightness to the whole hero business. Martin Klebba is possibly the best as Rollo, the muscle of the group. He gets to deliver some great one liners and really portrays the character. Keith David as Max Malini, the leader of the circus, is filling the mentor role well. All this would be great if the show were about the Circus, unfortunately its not.
Summer Glau fills the hot geek girl role as Orwell. I’m sure Glau being in the show alone drew in many viewers, but I doubt her role will keep many around. I am a fan of Summer Glau, but I prefer in the odd roles, and Orwell is just not odd enough.
I don’t want all this to mean there is no hope for The Cape, when it was good it was good. The problem is the ratio of good to bad just did not even out. The fact that last nights premiere was 2 hours may have held some of the blame as well. The Cape will re-run tonight and will start new episodes next week on its regular night, Mondays at 9pm. Check it out, but just know the pilot is not the best, but if you can hold on to the good parts I think you will want to check out next week, I will be watching.