Tuned In

TV Tonight: No Ordinary Family

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Plane crashes are the new getting hit by lightning. That’s my takeaway from tonight’s debut of ABC’s No Ordinary Family, a light drama about a family of four who gain superpowers after their plane ditches into glowing water in the Amazon. My impressions of the show haven’t changed a lot since I Test Piloted it earlier this summer: it’s fun if a little forgettable, and the joy it takes in its characters discovering their new powers so far works better than the fairly familiar parent-child conflicts and midlife crises that play out in the background. (As in many shows, movies and comics written along the same lines, the characters’ powers each serve to externalize an inner anxiety of that character, and there’s a running family-therapy device the show could do without.)

Toward the end of the pilot, the show points toward a larger-scale plot that could give the series momentum, and if it can get a handle on its personal stories, it could evolve into a less self-serious, more intimate answer to Heroes. Probably not the sort of thing I’m likely to follow regularly, but I’ll give it a few episodes.