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.