THE CAPE Series Premiere Review - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE CAPE Series Premiere Review

January 10, 2011 by  

When Bruce Wayne rode off at the end of The Dark Knight, sacrificing his persona as Batman by turning the masked hero into a villain in the public’s eyes, America’s pulse collectively increased with the surge of adrenaline caused by the three-hour roller coaster ride. Christopher Nolan had done it again, bringing the classic tale of a heroic vigilante up to date in a gritty urban setting. Tom Wheeler, executive producer of NBC’s new series THE CAPE, attempts to do the same for the small screen. Did he succeed? It might take time to tell.

Vince Faraday is a normal guy: good cop, loving husband, devoted father. But then it is all ripped away from him, and he is made to personally identify with a certain phrase made famous by The Dark Knight: “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Vince Faraday starts the day that changes his life as if it’s any other: he comforts his adoring son, kisses his wife, and heads to work. But by the end of that day, his boss is dead and Faraday has been framed for the murder. Not only that, the police chase him down on live TV, believing Faraday to be the masked villain (Chess, played by James Frain) who killed him. Moreover, the man who helped frame him was a friend and fellow cop, corrupted by a privatized police force run by Chess (whose real name is Peter Flemming). And to make matters even worse, the explosion that follows this public framing leads the world (including his wife and son) to believe Vince Faraday is dead.

Faraday wakes up from the explosion in a circus tent, surrounded by a group that refers to themselves as a carnival of crime, a collective of professional bank robbers. They may be vaguely threatening at first, but soon they become allies, helping him formulate his new plan. The show takes on the form long adopted by the stories that follow heroes turned vigilantes– action-packed to the core, intermixed with the tragedy and emotion that vigilantes like Faraday often feel when ostracized from everything they’ve known. Unable to return to his family or effectively clear his name, Faraday sets out to destroy the crime element that framed him. Surrounded by carnival paraphernalia, he finds a very impressive cape. One long training montage later and the comic-book character he read to his son has jumped from the page and onto the streets of Palm City. To the citizens of the city, Vince Faraday is gone. The Cape, however, has only just arrived.

Summer Glau pops up about halfway in, as an investigative blogger in a miniskirt who quickly develops a habit of helping Faraday out of jams with the criminals he encounters. It’s clear that the two will become partners. I found myself fascinated by her character, but for a reason I couldn’t quite put my finger on – then it hit me. She is pretty much a gender-flipped carbon copy of Logan from DARK ANGEL.

THE CAPE is not the most original of shows by any means; it’s a concept most of us have seen many times before, in some incarnation, on the small screen or big, the classic formula of a man struggling under a corrupt, urban structure to bring justice to the forefront through the destruction of those who did the corrupting. BATMAN is probably the most notable example, IRON MAN, too. Even ALIAS, to a certain degree, if one is flexible with gender. But for fans of the genre, don’t pass the pilot by. Maybe you’ll see something in it that I didn’t.

On the surface, there is very little wrong with this show. It is shot beautifully, acted capably, and even funny where it needs to be. David Lyons plays Vince Faraday as a wounded but strong man, taking on Palm City’s crime contingent in an effort to fight the men who took him down, as well as to prove to his son (and to himself) that hope deserves a place in their world.

To be honest, it was probably the length of the pilot that bothered me more than anything. While the first hour shone, the second dragged on, and by the end, it had lost my attention.  The result is that I probably won’t spend week to week anxiously waiting for a new episode of THE CAPE, although I still stand by my philosophy of trying to withhold judgement of a show until I’ve seen more than just the pilot. But based on the pilot, I can say THE CAPE is well-produced and built around a concept I have been known to enjoy in the past. If I hear somewhere down the line that they have taken it somewhere interesting or different, maybe I’ll tune in again. With a few twists and turns, this show could easily morph into something unexpected and entertaining.

Filed under #1 featured, The Cape


One Response to “THE CAPE Series Premiere Review”

  1. Sarah (seels) on January 11th, 2011 9:36 pm

    Hello Alanna! Thanks for the review. The show is sitting on my DVR, just waiting to be watched. I am with you; unless something is really vile and terrible, it’s always worth giving a second or even third look. Pilots are basically sales pitches, and those are never usually very good 🙂