The Cape flies onto the small screen this week, hoping to revive the faltering superhero genre on television. We start with a two-hour premiere—but it’s really just the first two episodes, run back to back.

One view follows. We’d like to hear others.

Title: “Pilot” and “Tarot”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Derian Sarafian
Written by Tom Wheeler

David Lyons as Vince Faraday/The Cape
Jennifer Ferin as Dana Faraday
Summer Glau as Oracle Orwell
James Frain as Peter Fleming/Chess
Keith David as Max Malini
Ryan Wynott as Trip Faraday
Dorian Missick as Marty Voyt
Martin Kleba as Rollo
Vinnie Jones as Scales

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

A corrupt industrialist attempting to take over Palm City must rid himself of an honest cop. The officer, realizing he has been framed and is presumed dead, becomes a superhero, with the aid of a Circus of Crime and a frakkin’ magical tech-savy blogger.

High Point

“Do we think the raccoon acted alone?”

The Cape tries to create a world where comic-book elements could exist, so that we accept the impossible heroics and cheesy dialogue. It does a fair job with the overall look. I also enjoyed the casual presence of grotesque villains and comic-book histrionics….

Low Points

…Other aspects it pushes too far. The Cape’s cape and Orwell’s technical feats make Fringe‘s science seem grounded in reality. Heck, Voyager starts to look downright plausible.

Plotting and pacing need work, especially in the first hour. The show crams two episodes’ worth of developments in the first twenty minutes, but gives us very little chance to know or appreciate the characters. A thousand other problems follow, including the Circus’s use of a security card to commit numerous robberies. No one thinks to cancel the card or change the codes? And why has no one tracked down thieves as conspicuous as these ones?

The Scores:

Originality: 1/6 The first season of Heroes did a fair job of reinterpreting the tropes and conventions of comic books for television. This film steals conventions shamelessly and raids the genre’s history indiscriminately. The central character is Batman/The Punisher. He takes on a villain who heads an Evil Corporation, aided by a mysterious Circus of Eccentrics and DC’s Oracle Orwell. I could accept some of this, if it had the fun charm or fresh approach needed to pull off the pastiche. I saw moments of potential but not enough to fill me with hope.

Effects: 4/6

Story: 3/6 The first episode”s major flaws have been addressed under “Low Points.” The second hour fares a little better, and the show may yet improve.

Acting: 4/6. The actors do a passable job, and Summer Glau finally gets to appear in a genre show as someone who doesn’t present as disturbed.

Emotional Response: 3/6.

Production: 4/6.

Overall: 4/6. The show plays like an accurate adaptation of a mediocre comic from forty years ago. In its defense, it manages to imitate some of the entertainment value such a comic would have—but it will need to do more to survive.

In total, The Cape: the First Two Hours receives 23/42