The Cape is NBC’s newest and most bombastic show to hit post-Heroes. As a fan of Heroes who was saddened to see the slow deterioration in quality, I was happy to see NBC stick with the superhero format with their latest show. The problem I have is the need for 2-hour premieres where two episodes are combined which makes the series feel overly long and you end up forgetting quite a bit more than normal. The Cape is engaging with a slew of fascinating characters, the problem is remembering everything with a far too long premiere.
Good cop Vince Faraday (David Lyons) is framed as a weapons smuggler and murderer by the evil masked villain known as Chess and left for dead. Taken in by a band of circus bank robbers led by the mysterious Max Malini (Keith David), Vince learns numerous carnival arts and takes on the persona of The Cape in order to fight crime and take down Chess for good. With Vince’s family believing he’s dead and Chess, also known as billionaire mogul Peter Fleming (James Frain), Vince will have to stay one step ahead of everyone to restore his honor and keep his family safe.
The Cape is a great blending off comic books and movies taking bits and pieces from the likes of Batman, Superman, even Dick Tracy and make a quality comic book show. The focus on comic books and the costumes are very reminiscent of old Batman serials and even a world where masked heroes and villains are accepted is reminiscent of The Incredibles at times. If you’re a superhero fan even in the slightest you’ll enjoy The Cape. The wealth of great stories waiting to be told is mind-boggling and there are a slew of great characters to enjoy. The standouts include Keith David as the wise-talking leader of the carnival troupe and Summer Glau as the smarter-than-she-looks, vigilante known as Orwell (great literary reference for those in the known by the way!). They all seem to have stories to tell and the way things are hinted at makes you want to see more. Fans of Heroes will definitely enjoy a lot of the material that seems to have carried over, specifically the carnival aspect which was the strongest aspect of the show’s last season. The various inhabitants of the carnival all have a story and I’m excited to see what they are. Glau and Lyons have some electric chemistry and it’ll be interesting to see how quickly the show will make Vince choose between Orwell and his wife Dana (Jennifer Ferrin).
Lyons is a solid leading man when it comes to action but I didn’t see any stand-out acting but that’s okay for a first outing. His relationship with Glau seems to be hinting at something further and Glau continues to be nothing but kick-ass in this role. David continues to shine more and more as his career progresses and his comments are fantastic and hilarious. Frain is a wonderful villain having moved from playing the sociopath in True Blood to playing the sociopath in this.
Since the premiere was two hours a lot of my issues arise from the length. So much happens so rapidly that you start to forget certain plot points and characters. This will all be squared away when the show returns to an hour format but the biggest hurdle with these extended premieres is keeping everything in check. Also the show prides itself on suspending disbelief, I mean masked villains and heroes are common in this world, so it makes the more stupid goofs stand out. Case in point a big fight scene between Orwell, the villain Tarot and the Cape that takes place in a busy restaurant kitchen. Stuff is flying and people are being thrown around yet no one even gets up or hears anything? It’s enough to turn your brain off in a superhero world but when things like this happens it makes you question what else the writers left out. At times I also felt bored with the constant introduction of characters but again that’s probably more a result of the extended length.
The Cape has potential; it just seems like too much too soon. Once settled into an hour chunk it should be easier to digest. I love the characters and the story and look forward to delving into more of the lives of these people, just make it a taste shorter.