NBC unveiled its full pilot episode for “The Cape,” a new series that’s not exactly manned by superheroes, but at least features people who would like to be.
Heroes are not born as heroes, they are thrust into their calling by the cruel hands of fate. In “The Cape,” which was shown to attendees at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend, Detective Vince Faraday does not want to be a superhero at all. But after his reputation is tarnished and he is thought dead, he reinvents himself into his son’s favorite superhero in order to take down a notorious villain.
Feeling very Batman-esque, in “The Cape,” Faraday does not have any super-human powers, only the spirit of a man determined to make a difference and clear his name.
While a familiar and tried-and-true storytelling technique, the show feels sluggish to start and only picks up once the mysterious Orwell enters the picture. Played by the mesmerizing Summer Glau, Orwell is not simply a vigilante seeking justice, but a crusader seeking someone to pick up the gauntlet she has thrown to cast out the criminal sedition overtaking their fair city. Faraday just happens to be the unwilling hero who answers her call.
Also along for the ride and making up the mismatched crime-fighting machine is a team of carnival bank robbers who welcome Faraday into their fold. It is not a match made in heaven as they do not yet fully trust one another, and their life of crime lends toward being a bit unsavory as well.
With all the right elements in play, “The Cape” holds promise. It offers up some cool special effects, a hero who relies on illusion and magic to defeat his opponents opposed to pure physical brawn, and a woman with a mystery shrouded around her. But it might be a show that viewers may need to give some time to develop its complex story with a multitude of rich and murky characters.
Playing the lead character of Faraday, actor David Lyons is the strong, silent type with an unshakable moral core. He is well-matched working with Glau, who also brings a nice dose of combined vivaciousness and lethalness. What is slightly more disconcerting is the carnival family that takes Vince Faraday in and makes one of their own.
The relationship between Vince and Orwell is more like Batman and Alfred, whereas, it is hard to see a Batman-like hero embracing the likes of The Joker and Two-Face. Audiences may have a harder time accepting the colorful and morally dubious world of the carnival bank robbers seeking to fleece the criminal mastermind who set Faraday up.
So “The Cape” will appeal to those seeking a bit of escapism and those who enjoy comic book hero stories. But if villains by the name of “Scales” and “Chess” do not appeal, then this may be a harder show for those seeking a bit more realism. But it is worth checking out to see if this is the show for you when it premieres this fall on NBC.