Ellen Gray: Chiklis' dad redux

Julie Benz (left) and Michael Chiklis play a couple who undergo a big change after a trip to Brazil.
Julie Benz (left) and Michael Chiklis play a couple who undergo a big change after a trip to Brazil.

Portrays father of 2 in new ABC show

Posted: September 28, 2010

NO ORDINARY FAMILY. 8 tonight, Channel 6.

MICHAEL CHIKLIS, the family-friendly star of "The Commish" and "Daddio" who reinvented himself as a crooked cop in "The Shield," is back on the daddy track tonight as the head of ABC's "No Ordinary Family."

And while it's tempting to call Jim Powell the anti-Vic Mackey, it's probably unfair.

Not to Jim, an ineffectual police artist who's having trouble keeping up with his scientist wife, Stephanie ("Dexter's" Julie Benz) and her high-powered career, but to Vic.

Say what you like about the guy who literally got away with murder in "The Shield," but he loved his kids.

So, too, does Jim, who barely shuts up about his desire to reconnect with his wife and their two teens, Daphne (Kay Panabaker) and JJ (Jimmy Bennett), in tonight's premiere, which includes alternating narration - at least when Stephanie gets to talk - that probably won't make much sense until the episode's next-to-last scene.

That's when co-creator Greg Berlanti introduces a face from one of his old shows, "Everwood."

Don't expect as quick an explanation for the powers the Powells begin to display after the whole family, at Jim's behest, tag along to Stephanie's business trip to Brazil and end up crash-landing in the Amazon River.

(If this happens in the Hudson, it's considered enough of a miracle to survive.)

This being the network of "Lost," it's safe to say that there's some larger explanation out there somewhere for what's happening to the Powells. This being the network of "FlashForward," it's not so safe to say we'll ever completely know what it is.

But we are safely in comic-book territory now, so while Stephanie's instinct is to use her cool new skill to try to improve the balance between her work and home life (and Daphne's new skill inadvertently becomes a sort of chastity belt), Jim and his assistant D.A. buddy, George (Romany Malco), almost immediately seize on crime-fighting as the way to go.

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."

If Chiklis and company find a way to stop that speeding bullet, ABC might actually have discovered a superpower of its own.

'Amazing' auditions: A.C.

The latest edition of CBS' "The Amazing Race" kicked off Sunday, but there's another race around the corner, and CBS-owned KYW (Channel 3) will be holding auditions for it from 2-6 p.m. tomorrow at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Teams of two, 21 and older, may videotape auditions in which they can explain why they should be given the chance to speed around the planet, shouting at cabdrivers in English.

Details are at www.CBSPhilly.com.

'Blue Bloods' wins

It seems that Tom Selleck still has it.

CBS' "Blue Bloods," a new drama about a family of cops headed by Selleck's character - who also heads the NYPD - premiered Friday night to an audience of 12.8 million, according to the preliminary Nielsens, easily winning the hour among total viewers as well as the 18- to 49-year-olds advertisers target.

NBC's "Outlaw," facing real competition in its second week on the air, drew fewer than 5 million viewers, and ABC's "20/20" averaged 5.43 million.

The season premiere of Fox's "The Good Guys" drew just 2.9 million viewers, the time period going to CBS' transplanted "CSI: NY," which averaged nearly 10.3 million.

And offering evidence that it's not just CBS viewers who stay home on Friday nights, the CW's "Smallville" and "Supernatural" came close to matching Fox's "Human Target" and "The Good Guys" in total viewers and did well enough in 18-49 to place third in both their hours. *

Send e-mail to graye@phillynews.com.

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