It has been a dismal fall premiere season for television. Three of the season’s new shows, The Event, Running Wilde, and Undercovers are on the verge of dropping out of my weekly viewing schedule. (Actually, I’m done with The Event. If people are going to come back from the dead on your show, you’ve got to do it at least as well as Chuck, and admittedly, Chuck has set a pretty low bar in that regard.) Community has had a massive misfire and one hit, so I’m still apprehensive about it. Chuck, which a few weeks ago was my favourite show on television, might be going through its worst season yet.

Amidst all the disappointment, there has been a bright spot. No Ordinary Family is pure genius. The first two episodes of the series have been nearly pitch-perfect, and I’m already itching for more.

So, what do I love about No Ordinary Family? From start to finish, “No Ordinary Marriage” was an hour of pure fun. The series’ second episode covered a lot of ground, as Jim and Stephanie learned about the limitations of their powers, Daphne learned to harness her powers, and JJ attempted to prevent others from discovering his powers. Each of the characters had a significant role to play, and even the sidekicks, George and Katie, got in a lot of good bits.

Perhaps realizing that they’d painted Daphne as too much of a typical angsty teenager in the pilot episode, the show toned her character down a couple of notches, and she was much more likable in this episode. In fact, everyone was pretty likable, and that’s a rare thing. I root for the Powells, not because they’re a typical North American family to whom one can easily relate, but because despite their flaws, they don’t do anything unforgivably stupid. That might sound like a negative way of framing things, but it’s so refreshing to see a group of characters that isn’t acting like a bunch of idiots so as to make me want to punch them in the face.

I loved some of the subtle humour that this episode employed. Julie Benz has great comic timing, and the scene where she ate all the muffins put a smile on my face. I also enjoyed seeing JJ give the giant stuffed panda to a little kid who was clearly too small to hold it.

I’m intrigued about the show’s mythology. In the pilot, we saw a bad guy who could teleport, and in this episode, we saw a villain who could use telekinesis. Apparently, this villain is working with Dr. King, Stephanie’s boss. Maybe Global Tech is secretly an evil corporation, or perhaps they’re in a moral grey area, like Massive Dynamic on Fringe. Either way, I’m interested to see where all this leads.

If I had complaint about the episode, it would be that the tertiary characters’ dialogue was way too heavy-handed. Teachers don’t call students stupid. Married couples don’t point out other married couples’ insecurities and failings to the world. That kind of heavy-handedness is just weak writing, and I hope that it disappears in the coming weeks.

Despite that tiny complaint, I haven’t been this excited about a television series in a while. I’m hoping that No Ordinary Family keeps up the excellence. This disappointing fall season could use it.

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