NBC will air a pilot for it’s new show The Cape on January 9th, but if you’re an iPad owner you can catch an exclusive version of it right now, thanks to a groundbreaking deal between NBC and DC Comics. By way of the free DC Comics iPad app, you can watch an unfinished first episode (with temporary titles and credits) streamed via the app, a few days ahead of a finalised two hour pilot to air on NBC. Obviously this is a great way to garner publicity for a new show, and is also fitting, as although not based on an actual DC Comics character, it is inspired by the genre and features DC artwork in it. So then, is it actually any good..?
Well yes, I really enjoyed it overall. It took a little while to get going, and had it’s fair share of cliché-ridden comicbook dialogue, but a pretty good cast and hard to fault special effects lifted it above the average, and I felt it showed a lot of potential. It even managed to survive the appearance of one Vinnie Jones, playing….the sort of character you’d expect Vinnie Jones to play. The rest of the cast may not be household names on this side of the atlantic, but there were a lot of familiarish faces from other US shows, the most recognisable to me being that of Summer Glau (playing the mysterious Orwell), well known from shows such as Firefly, Dollhouse and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I’ll give a brief synopsis in the next paragraph and there’s a brief YouTube promo at the end of this article, so avoid these if you don’t want any spoilers.
Vince Faraday is a happily married cop with a son who loves comic books, especially one called The Cape. His world is turned upside down when he is framed for the assassination of the Mayor by the mysterious masked character called Chess. The real identity of Chess is Peter Fleming, head of the privatised police force called ARK, who plans to use this as a way to take over the policing of the city as fear and anger grips the population. Vince, now on the run from the “authorities” is cornered and trapped under a train carriage. Just at the last moment he manages to escape below in to some hidden tunnels before the train is blown up. All of this is broadcast live on tv news and is watched by his wife and son, who now believe him to be dead. After falling unconscious, he awakes in the company of a mysterious traveling circus where he learns many skills (hypnosis, disappearing acts) and obtains The Cape that will hopefully allow him to fight back against ARK and clear his name. One day he hopes to be able to see his family again, and for them to once more be proud of him…
I don’t know if or when this show will get a UK airing, but I’ll definitely be looking out for it, and recommend any iPad owners, or comic book fans to check it out while they can.