TV shows always seem to be an all or nothing proposition in Amazon reviews. If someone watches a show, they automatically feel that it is five star quality despite its limitations. If someone tries a show and doesn't like it, they generally relegate it to a one star status despite its good points. Don't believe it? Go to the reviews of any program you absolutely hate and look at the glowing five star reviews from its fans. In truth, most shows fall somewhere in between--not every show you watch should automatically be considered as great entertainment and not every show you dislike merits a dismissive one star. I bring this up with NBC's short lived "The Cape" for one reason--I have only heard the show described as terrific or as terrible with very little middle ground. Personally, I think the show is neither terrific nor terrible but falls into the TV netherworld of a show with potential that never really fulfilled its promise.
Capitalizing on the notion that every story with comic book origins deserves a Hollywood treatment (in itself, a specious idea), "The Cape" was introduced to capture the audience left when the increasingly problematic "Heroes" left the air. But lacking that show's complex mythology and appealing cast, it was an uphill battle from the start. I do contend that the elements to have developed a successful show were all present, they were just never assembled in the right way.
The Good: David Lyons was a likable lead--a family man and cop who is forced into a heroic alter ego when framed (and seemingly murdered) by the town's super villain. James Frain has a nice menace as the unstable foe. Morally corrupt Keith David and a bevy of carnival performers provide unlikely support to our new hero. And sci-fi stalwart Summer Glau is on hand as the altruistic, and completely underdeveloped, Orwell. And best of all--Vinnie Jones!
The Bad: The show never loses interest in Lyons' wife and child. And, I'm sorry, they just aren't compelling characters. The show's momentum grinds to an absolute halt every time they appear. Excruciating.
The Frustrating: I don't think the show ever determined what it wanted to do and is tonally all over the place. Veering from maudlin to comedic from one moment to the next does little to shore up the inconsistencies in the show. Frain, Glau, and David all have great potential--but none are given fully developed plot lines. There is simultaneously too much going on and not enough--there needed to be more focus on the elements that worked. There needed to be more emphasis on the bigger good versus evil concept as opposed to lesser stand alone episodes.
The DVD set collects the series' ten episodes (one was only shown on the NBC website, but never aired). With so many choices in this overcrowded genre, I don't know that "The Cape" rates particularly highly. But it is far from unwatchable and its cast is game. A show I wanted to like more than I did, it still boasts nice production values and a laugh or two--but never gelled to one cohesive vision. KGHarris, 4/11.
on May 13, 2011
The Cape was an attempt to tell a costumed crime-fighter's story, straight and simple. It harkened back to the pulp roots of today's comic book heroes, and offered up a look at how these scenarios would actually shake out in that world.
That's what I really liked about the show. The creators were telling their stories in an earnest, non-campy fashion, and having their characters actually dealing with the situations they found themselves in. Evil hides behind the institutions of law and order, with the biggest threat coming not from our hero, but Evil's competitors. Those people our hero was forced to leave behind are shown dealing with the ramifications of the frame-up, and the loss of the primary bread-earner of the family; and we also see how our hero inspires others into standing up for what's right.
This is all heady stuff, which allowed one to question the conventions of the genre, and look at them with fresh eyes, especially with how they would fit into today's world.
The problem came in the execution ... as the previous reviewer noted, tonally it was inconsistent as the world seemed to reside on the borders of the mundane and the bizarre. Then, also, the writing was inconsistent, with certain matters glossed over when they should have been examined, and other matters scrutinized when they should have been glossed over.
So, yeah, this series wasn't perfect, and it did provoke A LOT of love it/hate it discussions ... so, obviously, it isn't for everyone. But, given the relative scarcity of original costumed crimefighters appearing on TV, I do give the series credit for at least trying.
The series really started to click when the characters discovered their sense of humor, but by then it was too late. Consequently, it was when the series was hitting its creative stride, that it was cancelled because it couldn't attract and hold an audience.
on May 31, 2011
The Cape had all the right elements: an honest cop, a beautiful wife, an adoring son, a super villain, an alluring, intelligent young woman, a best friend with a secret, and a group of circus criminals who were really not a bad lot when you got to know them. So, what went wrong?
NBC gave The Cape a good time slot. NBC promoted it heavily.
As the storyline developed, the main characters were filled out with their back ground stories. Episodes were improving in plot and character development.
Peter Fleming's Chess alter ego was given a sympatric storyline. Max Malini and Rollo were just two great characters, brave, courageous and of course thieves.
Keith David is a fine actor, and he played Max Malini to the hilt with a devilish glee. Martin Klebba's Rollo was a delight as he interacted with Max and The Cape. His fight with the evil Scales was one of those rare moments.
Summer Glau's mysterious Orwell character was just stunning. The evolution of her character was well done as her feelings for The Cape intensified as each episode progressed. Her true identity was revealed in bits and pieces.
Trip Faraday represented every boy and his love for comic book heroes. His belief in his dad was very touching. The Cape, his own personal superhero, gave him a sense of hope and wonder.
Dana Faraday's steadfast belief in her husband's innocence was a constant in the series. She truly loved her husband and took every opportunity to prove his innocence.
I watched every episode and enjoyed it. Of course, it was not perfect.
In this day and age of economic ups and downs, a television program needs to click with viewers real fast in order to survive. It is unfortunate that series are not given a full season (22 episodes) to develop viewership.
Of course, The Cape's ratings fell from 8.6 million to 4.06 million over the course of its short airing. It was a dismal failure in terms of revenue generation for NBC as were some other new series-The Event, Chase, and Undercovers.
Should you buy this series? Only if you have an interest in this genre.
on October 26, 2015
Warning ! You will be sadly disappointed if you have never seen this series and buy it unseen like myself. I sat and watched the entire season in a day and pion completing the last episode I was completely left empty. Why?? It's awesome! One of the best comic hero series I've watched and it was cancelled. I can't believe they cancelled it. It's real action, real actors and effects. I just wish there were more series. This show needs to come back. I never caught it on tv but if you like Arrow and Flash you will be a fan of this show but like myself you will want more episodes.
on September 22, 2013
The first rule of any good super-hero t.v. show: the audience wants to see the super-hero, as much as possible and for as long as possible, come on in and save the day and do great heroic things (set to a rousing and heroic musical score).
It's so funny how most t.v. show producers/writers completely keep forgetting about that one very simple golden rule. Especially right here on THE CAPE television series.
The first episode(the pilot episode) of THE CAPE was truly fantastic and gets 4 humungous big stars! Plus, I really loved KEITH DAVID'S(DISNEY'S:THE PRINCESS & THE FROG) haunting portrayal of MAX MELINI, the leader of the Carnival of Crime! Another great reason for the 4 star ratings.
Sadly,though, the rest of the remaining 9 episodes of THE CAPE were nowhere near as fun as the first episode. On an average 39 minute episode, VINCE FARADAY (DAVID LYONS) was only in his dark super-hero outfit doing heroic deeds for like about 6 minutes or so. The other minutes of this show are just grossly invested on all this set-up and character building. Many's a time, while watching THE CAPE, I kept wanting for there to be less talking and way more super-hero action and fighting.
I mean, THE CAPE character declared all-out war on the insanely corrupt police force in Palm City! Half of this show should've been about THE CAPE busting corrupt ARK Corps. cops on the take, rescuing kids from burning buildings, fighting real super villains with real powers,storming drug houses, gliding over rooftops and dodging ARK helicopter gunfire, and slamming gang members against brick walls and then disappearing back into the shadows.
Like the NBC t.v. series before it, HEROES, THE CAPE just wasted too much time on set-up and character building and bored and exhausted it's audience away. Us comic book/super-hero fans are tuning in for cool action and hot super-powers. Not 40 minute talk-fests. Remember this: A way-too chatty girl-friend is an ex girl-friend waiting to happen.
Plus, I could already tell from just from these 10 episodes alone on this disc that the writers/producers of this show was just going to drag and drag this "THE CAPE vs. the villain, CHESS, and the crooked cops of Palm City" thing on out for like another 2-3 seasons. THE CAPE should've taken down CHESS in just one season and then kept moving on to even bigger and badder villains per episode and per season. Now that's how you do a great super-hero t.v. show, baby!
Still, I do say to please check this series out just for KEITH DAVID'S spectacular performance and a few other cool super hero moments that'll bring a smile to a COMIC-CON fan-boy's lips!
on June 20, 2015
The Cape is a lot like the CW's Arrow but it just wasn't given a chance by NBC. It did premier in the Summer and we all know a show has to be really great to survive a Mid-Season premier.
A policeman in a corrupt police force taken over by a privet firm who's CEO is an arch villain is seemingly killed for being that arch villain. He is aided in his recuperation by a band of misfit thieves calling themselves the Carnival of Crime. After the ringmaster teaches him how to use a cape with special powers an alliance is formed. Vince Faraday, the policeman, adopts the name of his son's favorite comic book character The Cape and goes after the arch villain Chess. The Cape is aided in his crusade by a mysterious, beautiful computer geek whose skills help him keep his eyes on the workings of the arch villain with the dual personality, Chess. The story-line has a resolution but the series has no conclusion. The Cape is still after Chess and Orwell remains a mystery, who are her parents and what dark secrets does she hide. If you like Arrow or Batman's Dark Knight series you'll like this. There's plenty of action -- fist fights, gunfights, explosions -- and the special effects are up to the best 2010's standards as well as costumes, props and sets. David Lyons , The Cape, was Sebation Monroe on Revolution and James Frain is Eric Renard on Grimm.
on May 18, 2016
Just finished the series. The series is not bad, so far as it went. It is unfortunate that just as things were heating up and getting especially interesting that the series ended. For that I should give it two stars. The first few episodes were kind of ho hum, but after that we started getting into it and rather enjoyed it as a whole. Wish there was more. Wish the writers and actors could have at least brought closure to some of the dangling plot lines. Shame on the producers parts or whoever makes these decisions. The episodes are clean and there is no sex. Don't think I noticed foul language either. That doesn't rate high in the minds of many people these days, but it does in our home.
on February 12, 2016
Ending aside...this is a great show. I don't understand why they cancelled it. It's got an original storyline, and it gets better as the series goes along. Ending-wise, you can tell they cut it off without allowing them to at least wrap it up and it feels like there should be a lot more coming. Ugh! Still, I highly recommend it! Maybe someday we'll be lucky enough for them to actually bring it back (along with Terra Nova, Firefly, Pushing Daisies, and so many other great fallen series).
on January 21, 2016
This was a very interesting series. Very unique plot lines but it never seems to be going anywhere. I'd buy it again but I'm glad it only ran one season.
Two Discs containing 10 Episodes.
Episode List (Spoiler Alert)
Palm City police officer Vince Faraday is framed for a series of crimes that were actually committed by the mysterious villain Chess, revealed to be Peter Fleming, CEO of the mega-corporation ARK. Farady manages to elude custody, but is presumed dead and taken in by a gang of circus performers who are also bank thieves. Their leader Max Malini trains Vince and imbues him with the abilities of a superhero. Determined to clear his name and be reunited with his family, Vince takes on the persona of his son's favorite comic-book hero, the Cape. On his first outing in his quest to bring down Chess, Vince meets Orwell, an anti-corruption electronic espionage expert who keeps a whistleblower blog on the activities of ARK and Fleming/Chess.
The Cape must battle Chess' latest accomplice: a serial murderer named Cain who specializes in poisons, and who is a member of the secret Assassin Order called the Tarot. Chess tries to take down the one man who keeps him from controlling the prisons, Patrick Portman, the secretary of prisons, but the job proves difficult when The Cape, Orwell, and the circus gang help him save the target.
Russian convict Gregor Molotov, previous wielder of the cape, escapes prison and seeks to reclaim it for himself. Vince is able to defeat Gregor and decides to allow him to live despite warnings that he will likely escape from prison and come back for the cape again. Dana discovers a witness that informs her husband was not Chess. Orwell meets Max and the circus.
The Cape informs villain Scales that Peter Fleming/Chess has betrayed him in the business deals when he's paying money to the same person twice. This information eventually leads to Scales confronting Fleming on the Monte Carlo train during the costume gala. Meanwhile, Max and his "carnival of crime" plan to rob the same train during the party. Additionally, it's Trip's 10th birthday and Vince feels frustrated that he will be is missing it, so is Dana as she is stuck in traffic and races home to celebrate with her son.
When Peter Fleming reveals a new program called T.R.A.C.E. that's capable of predicting every single move a person makes in the future, he inadvertently attracts the attention of a very special, deadly mastermind: the daughter of research physicist Henry Jerrod and one of Chess' victims, Tracey, a savant who calls herself Dice (Mena Suvari). Since Dice also knows Fleming's alter ego, Chess, the Cape must do whatever it takes to keep Fleming alive in order to clear his name—including elevating his skills to new heights by learning to walk a high wire. Meanwhile, Dana tries to bond more with Trip as they cope without Vince. Also through the episode Flemming is trying to retain control and fears that these assassination attempts will reawaken Chess. By the end of the episode Chess returns; glad that Peter wants to play again.
6 "Goggles and Hicks"
After Faraday's last adventure, which resulted in broken ribs, Max decides the Cape must take a day off. While Faraday recuperates, Fleming hires two professional killers, Goggles and Hicks (Pruitt Taylor Vince and Chad Lindberg), also members of the Tarot known as Chariot, to kill the Cape once and for all. Meanwhile, Dana confronts Marty after his promotion to Police Chief about telling her the truth about Vince's case.
7 "The Lich (Part 1)"
After a woman Rollo dated named Janet Peck is found dead, Max enlists Vince, the cop to gather evidence at her grave site. Meanwhile Vince, The Cape tries to alert Police Chief Marty Voyt of an impending threat to the city during the Founder's Day parade. However, his attempt backfires when Marty follows Fleming's orders to set up The Cape. Orwell receives some help from Patrick Portman about Conrad Chandler (Glenn Fitzgerald), the founding heir of Palm City.
8 "The Lich (Part 2)"
With Orwell's location unknown, The Cape must seek Dana's legal connections to track down the Lich's whereabouts. She enlists the help of her boss, Travis Hall so he can get access to the interrogation room where one of The Lich's followers, Preston Holloway (Tom Noonan) is being held. The Cape, Max and Rollo then break into the Orchard to rescue Orwell who has been drugged by Conrad Chandler's paralyzing toxin. She struggles to fight the effects of this potent serum and has hallucinations of her wedding day and an uninvited guest, Peter Fleming, who claims he is her father.
Scales makes a tenuous alliance with Fleming to protect his gang's territory and calls a dangerous villain, Razer (Grant Bowler), to the city. However, Vince interrupts Razer's arrival and takes his place by disguising himself to gain entry into Scales' gang. With the help of his doctor, Fleming battles his alter ego, Chess, while Orwell battles her own demons, alluding to an unclear future, trapped in isolation with a dark state of mind.
The Cape and Vince Faraday's world collide and hard truths are revealed—Police Chief Marty Voyt lands behind bars, in the hands of ARK Corporation, fearing he may receive the same fate as Vince. Attempting to learn more about Vince's disappearance, Dana takes on Marty's case, and the impervious ARK Corporation, only to discover secrets of betrayal. The Cape's double identity becomes blurred when Max and the carnival of crime attempt to protect Dana, Marty and his family.
on December 4, 2011
this show took a while to find its footing. a genre show like this needs to catch attention very quickly to survive. unfortunately the first episode plays out like a 45 minute 'previously on' segment and the next couple of episodes, while they are better, can still feel a little clumsy and inconsequential. they at least serve as a decent introduction to the universe though, and make the later episodes, starting with the two-part "the lich," very compelling. unfortunately, the show was already dead by the time it got there. I wish shows like this were given more time to find an audience, or at least get a second chance on cable. as NBC cut the original order of 13 episodes down to 10 mid-season (and only aired 9 of them) the finale doesn't get a chance to offer much in terms of closure. that said, if you're looking for a solid super hero show, pick this up or check it out on Netflix.