Rugged Australian actor David Lyons is pretty much unknown in these parts, his appearance as Dr. Simon Brenner on ER’s last two seasons giving TV fans a glimpse of his talents. In The Cape he plays as cliche a superhero as you can get, as close to Batman as NBC can bring the character without a copyright infringement suit. His “cape” is made out of spider’s web, given to him by Max Malini (actor Keith David), who is – for all intents and purposes – Morpheus from The Matrix working with Neo, Lyons’ Vince Farraday/The Cape character. If you thought The Matrix took every element it could from movies and tv that came before, series “creator” Tom Wheeler thought so too. You’ll find pieces of The Terminator TV series, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Spiderman 1, 2, 3…and The Matrix, of course, all wrapped up in this serious version of the Batman TV series from the 1960s, sans Robin, of course. But there is Orwell, played by Summer Lyn Glau from, gee whiz, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles where she was a terminatrix called Cameron. You can’t get away from how the producers cleverly are picking up on the fan base built by the Terminator TV series which aired for two short seasons in 2008 and 2009, and for those who enjoyed that program, many of the atmospheric touches transfer over to this.
Is character development too pushy? You betcha, but Max Malini (how bad can you get with a name like that? Mad Max indeed…) is one of the better characters with his philosophical ramblings making the show a clear case of “give the people what they want”.
It’s a weekly Dark Knight program for television which will settle in on Monday nights starting with the repeat of “Pilot” and “Tarot” on Monday, January 10 (2 hours) and one hour programs beginning on Monday January 17th.
There are no disguises, the villain who runs ARK Corporation, Peter Fleming (played by James Frain) might as well be the head of Blackwater or Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum. His henchman, Chess, might as well be Scarecrow/ Dr. Jonathan Crane from Batman Begins, the masked fellow who uses drugs and psychological terror, much like Chess does in The Cape. Scales, played by Vinnie Jones, could be Harvey Two Face from Batman and/or The Kingpin from Spiderman, take your pick, the producers don’t care, long as you watch. As Marvel and DC Comics had similar super heroes and super villains, NBC is quickly cashing in on the power of the comic book mystique doing so well on the big screen, hoping it translates to home viewers. It’s instant replay, and it worked a couple of seasons for the 1960s Batman and for the Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles, though both series diving rather quickly. If this blatant amalgam is to take off it needs to find its own identity quickly and break some new ground. Time will tell if The Cape can find its niche.
You can find more out about The Cape at www.nbc.com/the-cape/