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In which I take a break from writing about games and instead write about superheroes.

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If you haven’t heard about it, NBC just recently started running a new show called “The Cape.”  A quick overview of the plot:  the [fictional city’s]last good cop is framed to make room for an evil corporation to take over the police force, and as a result, the city. Said cop falls in with circus people, receives an awesome cape, learns some escape-artist illusions, and decides to fight back, as a vigilante, to save the city from previously mentioned evil corporation (ARC) and return to his family.

About 3 episodes in, and I love this show.  Here’s why.

1. the World

It’s semi-futuristic.  You won’t see starships, UFOs, phasers, blasters, etc. but hi-tech computers with holographic displays are everywhere.  As a viewer, I am basically familiar with what technologies are available in my world.  By setting it slightly in the future, this frees the writers up to invent new gadgets and ideas that wouldn’t fit in a non-fantasy world, but still keeps it realistic.  Or at least, within the bounds of a suspended disbelief.

2. Good versus Evil

Don’t get me wrong.  I like a good story where characters on both sides of a conflict have depth, have grey areas, have motives more complex than a simple destroy-the-world/save-the-world complex.  But sometimes it’s nice to be sure who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.  Still, there are hints towards deeper stories for all of the main characters, keeping them and the show from becoming too flat and predictable.

3. A sense of style

Some might call this “going a little over the top” but comeon, this is a Comic-book show.  Villains have grand schemes and iconic ways of committing crimes.  Heroes give dramatic speeches.  Cool cars, cool computers, and a sweet cape.  Evil megacorporations, mysterious code names.   It’s got it all.

4. Comic-book violence

I understand the argument for presenting violence realistically and not sugar-coating it, but sometimes it’s nice to just be able to enjoy a Vigilante hero beat up some goons without having gruesome scenes of blood, broken bones, torture, etc. Many comic book heroes like Batman and Spiderman are known in some regard for the distinct lack of gore in their stories, and the Cape is no exception to this.  That’s a good thing to me.

5. Doesn’t take itself too seriously

At the very start of the second episode, Vince – also known as our hero, “The Cape” – stops some lowlife punks from robbing a convenience store owner.  The man thanks him for taking care of the thieves, recognizes him as a superhero, and asks him his name.  Vince answers, “The Cape.”  The man’s reply: Simply, “Well… you work on that.”  Any show that can tease itself has an excellent chance of doing well in my book.

6. Family

So often, heroes remain untied, unattached.  They sleep with the hot chick of the show but they have no one tying them down, no “baggage.”  Heroes are often selfless (except when it comes to sleepng with the hot chick) and alone, but rarely attached and lonely.  In The Cape, Vince has a wife and a son, but he can’t go back to them.  He is separated almost completely from them, but a huge part of his motivation is protecting his family.  “My family isn’t my weakness” he says in one scene.  “They give me strength.”  This is something missing in the superhero genre, and I’m excited to see it here.

7. It’s not Heroes

Heroes was a good show.  Let me say that different.  Heroes had a fantastic first season.  Season 2 seemed okay but ended prematurely.  After that?  Straight into the dumps.  The full-season, planned out, plot-twisting, character-interweaving storyline worked once, but it never got back.  Heroes was enjoyable for the discovery of who the characters were, how they got their powers, and what they were doing with them in this crisis.  Then we learned too much, the bad guys got too much power, and the writers kept trying to top themselves.  It was a train wreck.

The Cape is not Heroes.  We have one superhero.  The story is much simpler.   It does not seem to be one of those full-season story arc shows.  This show can grow and expand at its own pace.  A bad storyline will ruin an episode, not a full season.  No one has to die violently.  No one has to gain ridiculous amounts of superpowers while the good guys constantly lose theirs.  The Cape has some humor to give us relief from the tense moments.  It does not try to be Heroes in any fashion.  This is good.

8. Good message

A lot of shows are enjoyable or well written, but I feel a little uncomfortable about all the little messages that slip by.  Sometimes they’re even core messages.  It may be too early to judge, but this show looks like it’s headed in the right direction.  I’ve heard little, if any, swearing.  Vince does not kill his enemies.  He is totally committed to fighting off the bad guys and getting back to his family after making them safe, but he is going to do it the right way.  He tells his son, “Justice takes time.  We have to be patient.  And it can seem unfair.”  How true.  Justice, right, does take time.  How often does it seem like, in real life, that evil is winning, that the bad guys get all the prizes, how unfair that is.

Additionally, Vince’s attachment to his family (and wife) hopefully means that we wont see any unecessary sex scenes.  (Incidentally, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a movie with a sex scene in which that scene was a necessary part of the plot.)

This is a story about one man standing up for what is right when it seems like no one else is. “Don’t lose hope,” is a common line throughout the show so far.  “Never lose hope.”

Well, I have a lot of hope for this show.  It’s certainly starting off on the right foot for me.  It’s got superheroes, decent effects, pretty solid acting, and enjoyable characters.  Okay, sometimes the writing is a little cheesy, but it works okay with the general slightly-over-the-top nature of the show.  I’m looking forward to (and hoping for) many good seasons of this show.

Have any of you seen this show yet?  What do you think?

What’s your favorite show on television right now?

(incidentally, my favorite show on tv right now is Castle, but The Cape looks like it could give it a run for its money.)

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You'll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

Discussion3 Comments

  1. The Cape is pretty great. However, I have noticed some disconcerting signs. It feels like the show may be trying to do too much too fast. Every episode is Vince trying to get closer to taking down the villain that stole his life, Chess, however, he gets sidetracked with villains that don’t seem to matter from episode to episode. This is not a bad thing in itself, it’s part of the traditional comic book feel, but this early in show I think they’re spreading the rogues gallery too thin and when shows do that then later in the season when they try to bring someone or something back up the audience is left scratching their head because it was too weakly emphasized at the beginning.

    I love the dialogue. I love the cape effects. I love the character interaction and theme. I’m only worried the plot will overstretch itself too early.

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