I went into The Cape with an odd mixture of trepidation and hope. On the one hand, every single commercial or piece of promotional material that I saw filled me with dread. I didn’t care for the costuming or the way the action was staged, but those were fleeting glimpses and tight cuts, so I put that anxiety aside. On the plus side, the cast includes James Frain (twisted vampire, Franklin Mott from True Blood), Vinnie Jones (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Mean Machine), and Keith David (John Carpenter’s The Thing, John Carpenter’s They Live, and any number of other awesome acting jobs and voice work). Having Summer Glau (Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse) in your cast doesn’t hurt either. Except maybe in the ratings, for some bizarre reason. Even the production team and showrunner inspired confidence with veterans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, although, the writer/creator of The Cape, Tom Wheeler, was an untried quantity. I didn’t see his miniseries Empire or any of his pilots, but in interviews he seemed sincere enough in his devotion to comic traditions and Silver Age storytelling in general. The plot is classic or clichéd, depending on your affinity for it. The Cape tells the story of heroic cop/devoted father/okay husband, Vince Faraday (David Lyons) as he is framed as a super-villain and left for dead by Peter Fleming (James Frain), the head of the evil ARK Corporation (who also just happens to be the super-villain, Chess). Faraday is taken in by Max Malini (Keith David) and his Carnival of Crime, all of whom (after a series of improbable events) agree to train Faraday to take down Fleming/Chess. To help in his quest, Max provides Vince with a cape with properties even more improbable than the events leading up to its presentation. The rest of the initial two-hour airing (which is actually the pilot, followed by the first episode) is a series of remarkably boring events and clockwork plot movements that never seem to really grab for that golden ring of Silver Age Comic Creativity. Sure, there are hints of imagination, for example, the Carnival of Crime itself, or the mysterious hooded cape with an even more mysterious past. The villains of the piece have interesting looks (Chess has a creepy mask and bizarre eyes, while Dominic “Scales” Raoul (Vinnie Jones) has, predictably, scales), and they hit all the “dangerous” notes usually required. Although, the French poisoner, Cain, looks more in need of a bath than he does dangerous–but then, he’s French. (Zing!) However, all of these elements are reined in so much that they aren’t really allowed to breathe or move. There seems to be an urge to go large, but this is hampered by an equally strong urge to play up a Dark Knight level of realism. So, in the end, we get a story with classic bones and modern skin that, unfortunately, is hampered by clichés, gaps in logic, and cheap special effects for muscle. To be quite honest, I don’t feel any need at all to continue watching–and that’s with Summer Glau featured prominently, so you know something’s off. If the creators had gone all out with the Silver Age style, The Cape could have been something entertaining and fun. Instead, the style forces unbelievable plot developments and impossible acts into a realistic light that undermines the storytelling, and, even worse, the fun. The Cape is a show that ultimately just doesn’t leave a mark, despite the best of intentions. It doesn’t have enough flair or freedom to overcome its limitations. As far as I’m concerned, the only superheroes worth watching on television are still the ones in Misfits over in the UK on E4. That’s how you have fun with the concept while still staying true to comic book themes and traditions. The Cape 1.01 "Pilot"2.5Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.