Mania Grade: C-

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    • Episode: Pilot/Tarot
    • Starring: David Lyons, Summer Glau, Keith David, Vinnie Jones, Martin Klebba, Jennifer Ferrin, James Frain, Dorian Missick
    • Written by: Tom Wheeler
    • Directed by: Simon West (“Pilot”), Deran Sarafian (“Tarot”)
    • Network: NBC
    • Series:

    Dark Knight Lite

    By Kurt Anthony Krug    
    January 09, 2011

    The Cape
    © NBC/Robert Trate

    The Cape, the much-ballyhooed mid-season replacement eventually taking the time-slot of The Event (more like “The Non-Event”) makes its debut.


    In the fictional Palm City, honest cop Vince Faraday (ER alum David Lyons) is framed by the villainous Chess (James Frain, TV’s True Blood). Faking his death, he’s taken in by Max (Keith David, Article 99) and his Carnival of Crime, a group of circus freaks that includes Pirates of the Caribbean’s Martin Klebba whose methods are criminal as they rob banks but are altruistic as they want to take down Chess. Max trains Faraday, who becomes The Cape.


    Plenty of Batman parallels as The Cape dresses in black and has a long, flowing, um, cape. There’s some scenes where he looks like the Midnighter, Night Man (remember that comic-based TV series?), Cloak from Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, Ezio from the Assassin’s Creed video game, and the Shadow – take your pick. He’s aided by Oracle… er, that is Orwell (fanboy fave Summer Glau of TV’s Firefly and its movie sequel Serenity), a computer hacker par excellence.


    The dialogue is stilted in parts and clichéd (“one man can make a difference”), it’s very rushed in parts (whereas The Event is slooooooooow), some parts are campy (the bank robbery scenes, for instance) and others are dark – not a good mix, given that’s what Joel Schumacher did to the Batman franchise in the mid/late 1990s. The plot device of poisoning the drink of potential victim Patrick Portman (Richard Schiff, TV’s The West Wing) was used in The Dark Knight when Joker did the same to Commissioner Loeb. The fight scenes have a “been there, done that” feel to them.


    The grade The Cape received of a “C–” is a generous one. Bottom line: It needs some work.


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