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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fall TV preview: Chiklis goes from crooked cop to superhero dad

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Michael Chiklis is a menacing guy. Shaved head, steely eyes, with the physique of a heavily muscled hydrant, the actor was a convincing bundle of unrestrained rage during his seven-year stint as The Shield's Vic Mackey.

He was also a perfect pick to portray The Fantastic Four's chiselled hero-Thing, Ben Grimm.

He was much less believable in his mercifully short stint as a sitcom father in the rightfully ignored 2000 NBC sitcom Daddio.

So it seems Chiklis faces a bit of a mixed challenge in his new role, as average suburban parent who suddenly becomes a super-strong crimefighter in the new drama No Ordinary Family, which premieres tonight at 7 on ABC and CTV. He's on familiar ground doing the heavy heroic lifting, but he's got to prove himself in the sensitive-spouse/doting-dad area.

Thankfully, he's aided by a strong supporting cast, led by Julie Benz (Dexter) in the role of his onscreen wife, and a storyline that seamlessly mixes light domestic drama with super-hero action and special effects that would not have been available to TV-series producers even a couple of seasons ago.

The premise is simple -- Jim and Stephanie Powell (Chiklis, Benz) are desperate to connect with their teenage offspring while also trying to save their ailing marriage; he arranges for the family to take an exotic vacation together, but while en route their plane crashes in the Amazon jungle.

They survive, because the plane's landing was cushioned by a mysterious swamp, but when they return to civilization, each family member discovers that he/she has suddenly developed hyper-normal abilities -- Jim's unbelievably strong, Steph is super-fast, daughter Daphne can read minds, and son JJ has made an instant transition from straight-D student to genius.

Think of a well-executed live-action version of The Incredibles, and you're on the right bound-for-fun path.

No Ordinary Family is one of four new shows premiering tonight. For full details, see page D3.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2010 D1

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