Now showing in the UK, an ITV2 original sitcom about a group of less-than-mediocre superheroes. It’s crude and fairly unintelligent, but it does deliver half an hour of entertainment.

Principal Cast and Crew

Patrick Baladi as Excelsor
Nicholas Burns as The Hotness
Claire Keelan as Electroclash
James Lance as Timebomb
Rebeka Staton as She-Force

Directed by Ben Gregor.

Written by Drew Pearce.

Synopsis

In a world just like ours — but with superheroes — there are bound to be the less successful, the mediocre, and the utterly hopeless. The Hotness, who controls fire, has a date with a superhero groupie who has a tattoo of Excelsor on her leg. Excelsor spends most of his time in superhero bars being obnoxious and watching himself on the news. Timebomb, who has taken early retirement from the superhero business, uses his ability to see into the future to predict super-strong She-Force’s chances with a variety of men while Electroclash intervenes in a corner shop robbery.

High Point

Timebomb’s method of getting past Excelsor’s rather tired password gag.

Low Point

Thundermonkey’s monkey noises. Definitely lasted too long.

The Scores

Originality: It’s not exactly the most groundbreaking idea in the world to show the dregs of a superhero society, but I’ve not seen an attempt which is such a straight sitcom treatment. Four out of six.

Effects: There are a grand total of two special effects: lighting a cigarette, and some voice treatment. Nothing at all exceptional. Four out of six.

Story: It’s a sitcom, not an arc-based series or anything trying to tell a particular story. It could be a group of ordinary no-hopers, but the superpowers are the designated situation, and they just use them to spin the jokes in a new direction. Most of what could be story in this first episode serves to demonstrate how thoroughly useless the main characters are as superheroes and more generally as functioning members of society. Three out of six, not because it’s particularly bad but because it’s barely there.

Emotional Response: I must admit, I did find it amusing. In a very superficial, empty-headed sort of way. Four out of six.

Acting: Surprisingly good. Excelsor really does come over as the country’s most obnoxious superhero, while The Hotness is absolutely useless at just about everything and it shows. The other main characters come over in suitably fitting ways. They don’t really get the chance to show towering acting abilities, but this kind of script doesn’t demand them; it demands very clearly cut characters who fill a defined role. Five out of six.

Production: The bar is a nice mix of traditional English pub, nightclub and slightly strange place where superheroes gather off duty. A good number of extras fill it out, and the glimpses across the room of Excelsor’s group laughing at one of his jokes come over just as if you’d heard laughter across the room and looked to see who it was. Similarly, the shop set is an absolutely typical low-price corner-shop-turned-supermarket, and The Hotness’ flat has just the right amount of yuppie pretentiousness which fits his rather insecure personality very well. The sound is a bit odd though. They seem to try and indicate loud music at the bar whenever they switch scenes to show it, but it’s never audible in the background, thus allowing us to hear the characters. It would have been better, I think, to drop the cue entirely. Four out of six.

Overall: It’s entertaining, but it’s ultimately empty-headed and not the sort of thing that’s going to stand out. Half an hour of slightly crude escapism, nothing more. Four out of six.

No Heroics episode one receives an entertaining twenty-eight out of forty-two.