The Cape, a show about a man who adopts a superhero persona as he tries to bring down corruption in the city, premiered last night on NBC and I actually didn’t mind it. After seeing some of the previews I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it seemed like NBC was pushing it pretty hard so I figured I’d give it a, 2 episode, chance. The basic idea behind the show is that a private security company is trying to take over as the primary police force in a city and in order to do so they need to show that the current police force is incapable of doing their jobs. So the leader of ARK, the private security firm, takes on the persona of “Chess”, an evil villain type character, who sets out to prove that the police force can’t handle the crime (that they are creating) so that he can basically take over the town. The main character, Vince Faraday, is a police officer in town who is framed for the murder of the police chief. Essentially, Chess makes it look like Vince is really Chess and has his ARK henchmen chase him down on live TV and supposedly kill him. Obviously he’s not dead and he’s taken in by a band of misfit carnival folk lead by Max Malini, but aside from just being ex-carnival folk they are also bank robbers, specifically ARK banks. You can probably see where this is going now… Being a part of the police force (that was still active at the time) Vince had access to ARK security protocols and keycards and stuff, so in exchange for helping Max and the gang rob ARK banks, Max trains him in the art of “The Cape” (I guess). And with his new found proficiency in cape wielding, Vince sets off to bring down Chess and ARK before they take hold of every aspect of the city.
So that’s the basic gist of the story to this point and while it may sound kind of lame, it was surprisingly fairly decent. I thought the acting was good, nobody stood out as being terrible or over acting and I actually like the characters. On a lot of these shows there are usually a few actors/actresses that I can’t stand and every time they are on screen it just completely ruins it for me, but so far I haven’t found one. And to be honest there were some character that I can’t wait to come back on screen because they are so intriguing. For instance Vinnie Jones isn’t usually at the top of my list for captivating characters, but “Scales”, as he’s dubbed here, is actually a cool character to me. And James Frain, who plays Chess, plays the evil villain overlord guy extremely well… he’s always fucking creepy. And even though he only had a small role in the 2nd episode last night, Raza Jaffrey was great as Cain.
I also like the way the show is put together, it’s shot well as most TV dramas are these days, but the pacing and title screens after commercial breaks all made it feel like an actual comic book that came to life. It almost reminded me of a more toned down, less flashy, way more serious, Scott Pilgrim vs The World. There were title screens that would come up before each villain battle and before each mini-storyline within the episode.
So obviously you can tell I enjoyed the show, but that’s not to say it didn’t have it’s faults and honestly one of them was pretty major considering it’s the name of the show. Going into it I knew that the show was a superhero show, but more in the vein of Batman where he doesn’t have superpowers, but he has access to some random technology and training that makes him a superhero. That’s fine and I actually like that better than the Superman type superhero, but some of the things he’s able to do with the cape itself are a little ridiculous, but I feel like I could get passed that if it weren’t for the fact that the cape itself looks terrible, especially when he’s first learning to use it. Since he is using the cape to do some ridiculous things there’s obviously no way the actor could do them in real life so the cape is completely CG… and looks it. When he’s first learning to use the cape it almost looked like a 10 year old did the computer work on it. I’m guessing it was just because of the weird lighting that was going on in that scene as some of the darker, outdoor scenes looked a little better, but overall the cape really needs some work. I’m hoping if the show gets decent ratings they will upgrade the budget on the CG, but we’ll see.
Other than that the only other thing that kind of irked me was how quickly Vince was trained with the cape… or rather, how quickly it appeared on screen. It seemed like he found the cape in the carnival hideout, questioned Max, Max gave him a better cape, trained him and he’s out fighting crime like it’s nothing all within 5 minutes of screen time. It’s not the worst thing in the world because it got right into the storyline, but I think it would have grounded it a bit more in reality if he had gone through some more training or went out to fight crime and actually got his ass kicked a little more than the quick almost-drowning by the hand of “Scales”.
Basically I’d give the first 2 episodes a watch and make up your mind based on that, but I will say this, while I wasn’t a huge fan of Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles she does look damn good in this show… and when she’s not acting like a mindless robot she’s not half bad. (I never watched Firefly so I’m not sure how she was in that)