• Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 28, 2010
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Ordinary is super at capturing a middle-class family suffering from self-imposed Kryptonite poisoning
  2. 80
    As each individual seeks his or her limits, the group is coming together, sharing their difference and their secret. No Ordinary Family is set up to develop these relationships. It is off to a promising start, tweaking a lot of superhero conventions without seeming like a parody.
  3. 80
    No Ordinary Family is no comic-book kiddie show but a perceptive and engaging comedy-drama about domestic dysfunction.
  4. What's different--and refreshing--about ABC's No Ordinary Family is that the efforts made to convince you that the Powells are normal, while entirely sincere, don't last long. Their supposed normalcy disintegrates into something more fun and potentially more compelling well before the pilot's end credits begin to roll.
  5. 75
    Chiklis and Benz fit together like bioluminescent water and oil, but somehow the show is still surprisingly entertaining--in a "Heroes" meets "The Incredibles" sort of way.
  6. To its credit, there are a few extra twists along the way that make the show more intriguing and which hint at a slightly darker feel (but not too bleak) and a chance to have a more complicated story than simply one family with super powers.
  7. 75
    The cast plays out the adjustment with the right touch of pleased humor. [4 Oct 2010, p.37]
  8. The show wants to work on two levels: as an action piece and as a drama about the stresses of modern marriage and parenting. If anyone can make the family stuff nongloppy, it's executive producer Greg Berlanti. [1 Oct 2010, p.72]
  9. 75
    Who doesn't want to see Vic Mackey catch bullets with his bare hands? [But] You might be longing for Vic Mackey to crush skulls with his bare hands after a few minutes of this happy-go-lucky, discovering-the-importance-of-family romp.
  10. Chiklis ("The Shield," "Fantastic Four") and Benz ("Dexter") are appealing leads, and "No Ordinary Family" will most likely rise and fall on their backs.
  11. Just what they'll do with all this newfound mojo is hard to say, so packed is the pilot with varying sorts of business and attitudes, the soundtrack obligingly swinging from comic-bright to melancholy-minor, to action-bold. Developments late in the episode suggest that No Ordinary Family will look a lot more like "Heroes" than it will, say, "The Adventures of Superman," a course we have seen to be fraught with danger.
  12. 70
    Shows like those lean more toward seriousness and away from the colorfully ridiculous old comic books. Although this often strikes non-fanboys and non-fangirls as woefully atonal, it mostly works here, but it would be nice if No Ordinary Family had more humor about it.
  13. 70
    The pilot is entertainingly lighthearted, but in a twist that I won't spoil here, a serialized back story begins to surface that could push the show down a more convoluted path.
  14. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    70
    It's fun if a little forgettable, and the joy it takes in its characters discovering their new powers so far works better than the fairly familiar parent-child conflicts and midlife crises that play out in the background.
  15. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    70
    This one is trying something different, although its look and tone are conventional enough not to shake the TV fan from their comfort zone.
  16. 63
    It was all a bit too corny and predictable for my taste, though. Add a mutant strain of irony, and they just might gain another super-fan.
  17. Reviewed by: Kris King
    63
    The pilot offers up the promising and the bland in about equal measure. With its accomplished adult cast, and writers from Chuck and Smallville, the show could go on to make for a pretty fun adventure series, but the looming threat of boring teenage gloom and the hints of a convoluted plot involving Stephanie Powell's sinister employer could sink whatever potential there is.
  18. 63
    Ordinary just feels too crowded, as if it's straining to serve too many genre masters at once. Still, there is pleasure to be found, much of it provided by Chiklis.
  19. Reviewed by: Kyle Lemmon
    60
    The Powells' snarky dialogue can be a bit annoying, but executive producer Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters) cares for the family dynamics. Even the special effects are commendable. Some of the acting and line delivery can be a bit hokey, but that comes with the comic book-esque material.
  20. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    60
    As a show about average people who become superheroes, No Ordinary Family is very promising. It's the "Family" part of the title where the series has problems.
  21. They each have a glorious, fearsome secret, and can truly confide only in one another. But it's not clear whether this series--a hybrid of family drama and graphic novel--can sustain interest once the premise is fully established.
  22. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    60
    So is it super? Not yet. But there's enough spinning around these extraordinary visitors to at least provoke a second visit.
  23. Maybe there are superheroes who specialize in improving organic-farming methods or eradicating bedbugs, but they probably won't be getting network shows any time soon. Shows that parents might be willing to watch with their kids--and kids with their parents--remain few and far between, so it's too bad that the so far ordinary but at least well-meaning No Ordinary Family is facing off this fall against the phenomenon that is Fox's "Glee."
  24. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    50
    Family is a trifle--part comic book, part kids' show--that is perfectly pleasant but without edge, bite or dramatic heft. With Chiklis aboard, it's like witnessing a concert pianist execute an elaborate version of "Chopsticks."
  25. Again and again, the show takes what should be subtext and turned it into stilted dialogue that grows repetitive very quickly.
  26. To put it bluntly, it's more fun to watch some guy pick up a car than to hear him contemplate its impact on his family.
  27. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    40
    Though No Ordinary Family bears many hallmarks of an interesting failure, it falls slightly short of the distinction on account of its resistance to being consistently interesting.
  28. The show's premise has enormous potential--it's essentially a live-action version of "The Incredibles," about a family that gains superpowers--but Tuesday's premiere disappoints with its slow-moving plot and whiny characters.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 24
  2. Negative: 6 out of 24
  1. Nov 19, 2010
    3
    I wanted to like this show . The premise sounded fun and exciting , promising laughter , drama , suspense and perhaps a touch of I Love Lucy on steroids . I admire Michael Chiklis from his previous work . I suppose if I had grammar school kids we could watch it together but I can barely sit still through an episode on my own . Sorry , Micheal and cast . You are just too ordinary for me . Full Review »
  2. Nov 16, 2010
    5
    I've always been a sucker for shows about people with superpowers, so I was more than ready to love this show. The premise is fun and they could have done some cool stuff with the show, but they haven't. In fact, I find it almost impossible to believe that any of the writers of this show have written for Chuck and Smallville, which, granted, aren't Emmy-worthy shows, but are still entertaining. The writing, pacing, and direction of this show is painfully clunky and dull as can be. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching a show that was meant for but rejected by even ABC-Family or the Disney channel, meaning, ridiculous plotlines, amateur dialogue, caricatured characters, and simplistic conflicts. This is the kind of show where you start feeling like your brain is starting to slow down and get more dull, by being exposed to something equally so. I am just so disappointed by this poorly imagined and executed show, that I just can't stand watching it anymore. And, seriously, my standards aren't that high. :-) Full Review »
  3. Oct 27, 2010
    1
    Wow a complete bore -- how many times can we watch Chiklis land on a rooftop? I loved Julie Benz in Dexter, but here she seems inert and ineffectual. Pass! Full Review »