Tag Archives: The Cape

This Week 1/31 to 2/5

My top priority for this week: first season of Dexter!! Everything else will have to wait.

MONDAY:
8pm – Chuck on NBC
8pm – Human Target on FOX
8pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family
9pm – The Cape on NBC
9pm – Lie to Me on FOX
9pm – Being Human on SyFy
10pm – Harry’s Law on NBC

Need to actually watch the first couple episodes of Harry’s Law.

TUESDAY:
8pm – NCIS on CBS
9pm – NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS
10pm – White Collar on USA

WEDNESDAY:
9pm – Human Target on FOX
10pm – Face Off on SyFy

Two new Human Target episodes in one week? Really?

THURSDAY:
8pm – The Vampire Diaries on the CW
9pm – Nikita on the CW
9pm – Bones on FOX
10pm – Fairly Legal on USA

First Glance on Fairly Legal is in the works.

FRIDAY:
9pm – Fringe on FOX
10pm – CSI: NY on CBS

Man, I really ought to catch up on Fringe one of these days.

SATURDAY:
11:30pm – Saturday Night Live (Dana Carvey and Linkin Park) on NBC

First Glance: The Cape

Reader Challenge: Keep your eyes peeled for the alliterative passages! (I’m not really sure how it happened, but they just kept popping up.) There are more than there ought to be, considering I wasn’t trying to do that.

Four episodes in and I still can’t believe I’m saying this (but I must): The Cape is surprisingly awesome. It isn’t really quality television programming, per se. But it is exactly as good as it ought to be for what it is.

Basically, The Cape is the television iteration of a comic book. Or, alternatively, an extended superhero blockbuster movie. It maintains the fairly straightforward, rather simplistic story format of each, as well as the blend of pseudo-realism and heavy stylization that characterizes superhero fiction in general. I’d argue it is formatted more similarly to paper comics; each episode is equivalent to an issue, split into smaller chapters, each of which is announced by what is basically a title page. (During the pilot, before I figured out what the titles were, I was not only confused but vaguely disapproving. Now that I understand what’s going on, I’m actually a fan of the presentation.) Since much of the show revolves around a comic book, the stylization is a rather creative and definitely effective technique. You just need to watch the opening credits to see that the aesthetics of the show are awesome.

There is no lack of stylization in any aspect of The Cape. It is, arguably, more style than substance (at least so far). It is filmed with the idea of comic-style images in mind – it’s a technique that worked wonderfully for Heroes. The visual similarity to comic book images extends into color choice, set design, and even the casting. No, really: if you look at them, there is not a single one who cannot easily be imagined into a cartoon character.

As far as casting goes, The Cape is populated by individuals who have been chosen more for look and persona than any amount of nuance in their performance. David Lyons (Vince Faraday) is just the right mix of abs, altruism, and border-line asinine determination. His voice and his manner would be just a little too puppy dog if he were trying to pass for a tougher, more epic superhero. But for a guy who lurks in corners, is trained by circus performers, and goes around calling himself “The Cape”, it works. He couldn’t hold the show up by himself, but he doesn’t necessarily have to.

The supporting cast is much more entertaining, naturally; but they are all only as excellent as they should be, without threatening to overshadow the central character. Summer Glau is, well, Summer Glau. I hate to say it because I love her, but there’s just not a whole lot of acting going on. Her role so far is a cross between watered-down River Tam and a ballerina. The situation is, sadly, made worse by the fact that her character’s storyline so far is painfully predictable. BUT. She is Summer Glau. So “Orwell” (real name X Fleming) is sexy and droll and yet still childlike and charming. Not new, as I say, but not unwelcome either.

Keith David, arguably best known as the voice of Goliath the Gargoyle, plays ring master and bank robber Max Malini to perfection. Between his voice and his eyebrows, he manages to give the two sides of the character – wise old trainer and happy resident of Moral-Gray-Area-Ville – an individual flourish of overwrought sardonic-ness. Also, he rocks some seriously rad Tuareg jewelry. His circus underlings, Rollo (Martin Klebba), Ruvi (Anil Kumar), and Raia (Izabella Miko) are obvious caricatures – no layers there – but unarguably entertaining. Not a whole lot of time is spent at Max Malini’s circus now that The Cape has his own fantastically aesthetic batcave (capecave?), but that time is unfailingly enjoyable.

Naturally, it is the humdrum humans who are least spectacular. And really, that’s the fault of the roles rather than the actors. It takes longer to warm up to characters who aren’t flashbanging their way across the screen making cheesy one-liners and forcing you to either like or hate them immediately. I’m still formulating my opinions about Dana (Jennifer Ferrin), Trip (Ryan Wynott), and Marty (Dorian Missick), but they are definitely growing on me.

The best roles are always the villains, and Chess aka Peter Fleming aka James Frain is no exception. In the pilot there seemed to be some question about whether or not he was going to have an accent or not. Now that the accent has been embraced, it is much easier to concentrate on his snobbish Brit businessman excellence. He is massively fun to watch, and plays the role with just enough of a tongue-in-cheek twist to make dressing in an all-white Western sheriff outfit seem like something the character would actually do. (And, even more impressive, managing to not look any more ridiculous than intended.) “Chess” has been killed in the world of The Cape so, unfortunately, we don’t get to see much of the CREEPY-AS-HELL snake eyes in red leather which is CREEPY AS HELL. Thankfully, Vinnie Jones fills the evil theatricality void by playing his usual money-man mobster-type bad guy…with awesome reptile makeup.

There are many things to enjoy about The Cape. It is well-made, beautifully orchestrated, and achieves exactly what it wants to in terms of creating a world and a story. Unfortunately, people don’t seem to be getting particularly swept up in said story. Ratings for The Cape are not encouraging. (It doesn’t help that its main timeslot competition is FOX’s Lie to Me, which airs immediately after perennial House.)I think part of that is due to the fact that the promos just looked so stupid. I mean, I almost didn’t watch the show because of them (and I have low standards!). That was the immediate problem that got The Cape off to a slow start. Well, that and the fact that it is called “The Cape” and revolves around a superhero named “The Cape” and no-one has been able to take capes seriously since Edna Mode of The Incredibles.*

The on-going problem is that there just isn’t much substance to back up all the style. My main concern is that the writers just won’t be able to come up with enough story to keep the show going…and it looks like they won’t even have all that many episodes to fill. Time was, a superhero could go through basically the exact same routine every week with a different opponent and everybody was thrilled. But we are living in a post-Nolan-Batman world. People demand more depth to their superhero fiction. And that is a good thing, no question. Still, it is kind of sad to live in a world where the classic superhero model – misunderstood good guy repeatedly saves the world without recognition or ego – isn’t enough anymore.

I really am enjoying The Cape in all its stylistic simplicity. But I’m not especially invested. And neither, it seems, is the rest of the television-viewing audience. Too bad, so sad. Not, however, a tragedy. I honestly believe that The Cape is worth watching as far as its own merits are concerned. I also honestly believe it is doomed to fail (could be quickly or via slow, painful slide) so unless you have plenty of time on your hands, don’t bother. There are better, or at least more dependable, things to watch…probably.

*They have managed to make the cape itself a tool rather than an accessory. Yeah, the disappearing act and cape-as-weapon bits are a tad silly. But how much sillier are capes that just hang there? I ask you.

Oh THAT Guy!: The Cape Edition

The Cape has conveniently stepped forward not only as a good way to spend Monday nights, but also as a reminder of a new batch of familiar faces that most people can’t quite manage to match names to.

Pasha D. Lychnikoff

Selected Appearances:
The Cape “Kozmo” as Russian Commander (2011)
Undercovers “A Night to Forget” as Warner Kominsky (2010)
Leverage “The Ice Man Job” as Head Goon (2009)
Star Trek as Romulan Commander (2009)
Indiana Jones 4 as Russian Solder (2008)
Chuck “Chuck vs. The Undercover Lover” as Victor Federov (2008)
Deadwood [multiple episodes] as Blazanov (2005-2006)
Alias “Passage: Part 1” as Zoran Sokolov (2002)

Basically, he’s the go-to “Russian Guy.” (Seriously. You look at his imdb credits and half of the roles don’t have names and are instead identified by descriptors to the tune of Russian, Russian Guy, Russian Bad Guy, Classy Russian Bad Guy, and so forth.) And he does a great job at all that, displaying the whole range from creepy to sadistic to clueless. But apparently he’s got some genuine acting chops that little guest roles just don’t show up. Another reason for me to make Deadwood a priority.

Ken Davitian

Selected Appearances:
The Cape “Tarot” as Store Owner (2011)
Chuck “Chuck vs. The First Kill” as Uncle Bernie (2009)
Get Smart as Shtarker (2008)
ER “Such Sweet Sorrow” and “Family Business” as Zakar Papazian (2000 and 2007)
Borat as Azamat (2006)
The Closer “To Protect & to Serve” as Mr. Sarcasian (2006)
Six Feet Under “I’m Sorry, I’m Lost” as Krikor Hovenessian
Gilmore Girls “Take the Deviled Eggs…” as Jesus (2002)

As you can surmise, Mr. Davitian’s resum√© consists largely of second banana ethnic guy or fat guy roles. But hey. It’s a career. He isn’t working all the time, but he pops up every once in awhile just long enough to be recognized and disappear again. Without ever playing a particularly memorable single character or giving any particularly memorable performance (possibly excluding that whole Borat thing), he has managed to make himself a familiar face to, well, most people I’m guessing.

Martin Klebba

Selected Appearances:
The Cape [multiple episodes] as Rollo (2011)
CSI:NY “Uncertainty Rules” as Calvin Moore (2010)
Bones “The Dwarf in the Dirt” as Todd Moore (2009)
Scrubs [multiple episodes] as Randall Winston (2004-2009)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation “The Chick Chop Flick Shop” as Dickie Jones (2007)
Pirates of the Caribbean 1,2, and 3 as Marty (2003, 2006, 2007)

Yeah. He’s the midget (or whatever the politically correct term is these days). And if you don’t recognize him, you’ve been living in a hole for the last decade or so. His specific schtick is “the little guy who can kick your ass.” He usually plays pro wrestlers, convicts, and other various and sundry minor league bad-guy types. Never any sort of serious villain. But definitely an adversary or sidekick type.

Anil Kumar

Selected Appearances:
The Cape [multiple episodes] as Ruvi (2011)
– K-Ville “Game Night” as Yasif (2008)
Life “What They Saw” as James White (2007)
Six Feet Under “A Coat of White Primer” as Dr. Perry Amaral (2005)
24 [multiple episodes] as Kalil Hasan (2005)
Jag “Persian Gulf” as Fardad (2004)
Law & Order: SVU “Honor” as Jalil Amir (2000)

Anil Kumar’s career has included a surprising amount of range. Yes, he’s played his share of “The Indian Guy” and “The Middle Eastern Guy.” But he also spends a good amount of time playing skilled and or classy professionals. The three roles I know him from are Persian terrorist cell member Kalil from 24, gay (bi?) upper-class murderer James from Life, and circus hypnotist slash bank robber Ruvi from The Cape. If that’s not a display of range, I don’t know what is. (In less critical mode, I am a big fan of the salt-and-pepper beard look on him.)

This Week 1/24 to 1/29

Coming this week from Melted Brain: one Big Screen Brain, three (maybe four) First Glances, and one Oh THAT Guy. I just need to figure out when to write them all.

ANYWAY. SCHEDULE.

MONDAY:
8pm – Chuck on NBC
8pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family
9pm – The Cape on NBC
9pm – Lie to Me on FOX
9pm – Being Human on SyFy
10pm – Castle on ABC

New Castle! My week is horribly sad when it doesn’t start with a good hour of snarky crimesolving.

TUESDAY:
10pm – White Collar on USA

Dear Tuesday,
Suck less.
Love,
Melted Brain

WEDNESDAY:
10pm – Blue Bloods on CBS
10pm – Face Off on SyFy

Blue Bloods has been upgraded from Fridays. I guess that means it’s doing well. And, reminder, Face Off is a special effects makeup competition show.

THURSDAY:
8pm – The Vampire Diaries on the CW
9pm – Nikita on the CW
9pm – Bones on FOX
10pm – Fairly Legal on USA

FRIDAY:
9pm – Fringe on FOX

SATURDAY:
11:30pm – Saturday Night Live (Jesse Eisenberg and Nicki Minaj) on NBC

Now THERE is an SNL lineup I am dying to miss. Also on NBC: US Championship Figure Skating, Ladies Free Skate. (Looks like I’ll be getting a call from my grandmother later this week…)

This Week 1/17 to 1/22

Well, the Golden Globes are tonight. I’ll see about doing a post on that. Maybe. For now, the schedule for the coming week. Woo.

MONDAY:
8pm – Chuck on NBC (midseason return!)
8pm – House on FOX
8pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family
9pm – The Cape on NBC
9pm – Lie to Me on FOX
9pm – Being Human on SyFy (series pilot!)
10pm – Hawaii Five-0 on CBS
10pm – Harry’s Law on NBC (series pilot!)

I should probably just take House off of my schedule. I’m not watching it and, from what I hear, that’s not a terrible loss.

TUESDAY:
8pm – NCIS on CBS
9pm – NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS
10pm – Southland on TNT
10pm – White Collar on USA

I have now removed V, Detroit 1-8-7, and No Ordinary Family from my schedule. Because, honestly, it just isn’t gonna happen. Ever.

WEDNESDAY:

Oh great. American Idol is starting again. (Bones marathon on TNT or NCIS marathon on USA? I think so.)

THURSDAY:
9pm – Bones on FOX (midseason return!)
10pm – Fairly Legal on USA (series pilot!)

Thank goodness for this Thursday!

FRIDAY:
9pm – Fringe on FOX (midseason return!)

…you’ve got to be shitting me. Fringe‘s Friday Death Slot premiere is titled “Firefly“? Can we spell “death sentence”? Jesus.

SATURDAY:

Nothing new is airing.

This Week 1/3 to 1/9

MONDAY:
8pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family (midseason return!)
10pm – Castle on ABC (midseason return!)
10pm – Hawaii Five-0 on CBS (midseason return!)

This week’s episode of Castle brought to you by the excellent and intriguing title “Nikki Heat.” It’s gonna be a good ‘un.

TUESDAY:
8pm РNo Ordinary Family  on ABC (midseason return!)
9pm – V on ABC (season premiere!)
10pm – Detroit 1-8-7 on ABC (midseason return!)
10pm – Southland on TNT (season premiere!)

Except I actually don’t watch any of these. Maybe I should take them off my schedule…

WEDNESDAY:
8pm – Human Target on FOX (2-hour midseason return!)

Also, there’s a Bones marathon on TNT.

THURSDAY:

Nothing new is airing.

FRIDAY:
9pm – CSI: NY on CBS (midseason return!)

SATURDAY:
11:30pm – Saturday Night Live (Jim Carrey and the Black Keys) on NBC (midseason return!)

SUNDAY:
9pm – The Cape on NBC (2-hour series pilot!)
9:30pm – Episodes on Showtime (series pilot!)
10pm – Shameless on Showtime (series pilot!)

Tis the Midseason

It’s that time again. Midseason return/premiere schedule. Go!

Monday January 3
8:00pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family (midseason return!)
10:00pm – Castle on ABC (midseason return!)
10pm – Hawaii Five-0 on CBS (midseason return!)

Hey, I could actually catch up on time to watch PLL! But that really doesn’t matter because I’m mostly just SUPER jazzed about more Castle.

Tuesday January 4
8:00pm – No Ordinary Family on ABC (midseason return!)
9:00pm – V on ABC (season premiere!)
10:00pm – Detroit 1-8-7 on ABC (midseason return!)
10:00pm – Southland on TNT (season premiere!)

…I probably will not actually watch anyof these. But I thought I’d include them just for kicks. (Question: Should I be watching No Ordinary Family?)

Wednesday January 5
8:00pm – Human Target on FOX (midseason return!)

Happy half-birthday to me!

Friday January 7
9:00pm – CSI: NY on CBS (midseason return!)
10:00pm – Blue Bloods on CBS (midseason return!)

Sunday January 9
9:00pm – The Cape on NBC (2-hour series pilot!)
9:30pm – Episodes on Showtime (series pilot!)
10:00pm – Shameless on Showtime (series pilot!)

Not gonna lie, all three of these shows look semi-ridiculous. The Cape is about a cop who gets framed and goes all caped vigilante on his city and, honestly, it looks even stupider than it sounds. Episodes is about Matt LeBlanc (playing himself) ruining the marriage of a British couple. And Shameless is just the newest in a long line of excellent British shows being stolen for and ruined on American television.

Monday January 10
9:00pm – Lie to Me on FOX (midseason return!)

Tuesday January 11
8:00pm – NCIS on CBS (midseason return!)
9:00pm – NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS (midseason return!)
10:00pm – Lights Out on FX (series pilot!)

In Lights Out, a former heavy-weight boxing champ starts working as a debt collector to make ends meet. Doesn’t pique my interest, but FX’s original series track record is pretty good and so should this be.

Wednesday January 12
10:00pm – Off the Map on ABC (series pilot!)

Basically it’s Grey’s Anatomy, but without indoor plumbing.

Monday January 17
8:00pm – Chuck on NBC (midseason return!)
8:00pm – House on FOX (midseason return!)
9:00pm – Being Human on SyFy (series pilot!)
10:00pm – Harry’s Law on NBC (series pilot!)

Being Human is another of those ripped-off Brit shows. Harry’s Law is a legal drama with an incredible cast that will most likely be at least fairly decent…but, frankly, I’d just rather have The Whole Truth back. (Oh, wait, wrong network…) Also…I can totally catch up on Chuck by this day…right?

Tuesday January 18
10:00pm – White Collar on USA (midseason return!)

I’m getting the impression that this show has only gotten better. I should work on catching up at some point.

Thursday January 20
8:00pm – Bones on FOX (midseason return!)
8:30pm – Perfect Couples on NBC (series pilot!)
10:00pm – Fairly Legal on USA (series pilot!)

Perfect Couples comes from minds behind 30 Rock and Friends. Fairly Legal stars Sarah Shahi and Michael Trucco and I have been waiting for it for two years. So guess which of these two shows is the one I’m going to be watching.

Friday January 21
9:00pm – Fringe on FOX (midseason return!)

Oh shit guys, Fringe has been relegated to the Friday Death Slot.

Wednesday January 26
10:00pm – Face Off on SyFy (series pilot!)

Normally I avoid competition/reality shows like the plague. But a competition/reality show about special effects makeup? Hell yes!

Thursday January 27
8:00pm – The Vampire Diaries on the CW (midseason return!)
9:00pm – Nikita on the CW (midseason return!)

Monday February 7
9:00pm – The Chicago Code on FOX (series pilot!)

It’s just another cop show, but it’s shot on location in Chicago and really wants to be the next hardxcoreawesome thing.

Tuesday February 8
8:00pm – Glee on FOX (midseason return!)

Wednesday February 9
9:30pm – Mr. Sunshine on ABC
10:00pm – Justified on FX

Mr. Sunshine sounds like an awful everyman semi-comedy indie film come to television. But more glamourous because, well, that’s just how it works.

Monday February 28
10:00pm – The Event on NBC (midseason return!)

Tuesday March 29
9:00pm – Body of Proof on ABC (series pilot!)

Crime procedural slash personal drama centered around an M.E. It could easily be interesting and fun. It could just as easily be awful and boring.

Wednesday April 6
9:30pm – Breaking In on FOX (series pilot!)

Oh look, Christian Slater‘s back. Again. Trying to make it as a television leading man. Again.

Wednesday April 13
10:00 – Happy Endings on ABC (series pilot!)

It’s another of these melodramedies about attractive young people and their romantic shenanigans. But I will admit, it has a pretty good cast.