"The Cape" is a one-hour drama series starring David Lyons ("ER") as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead. He is forced into hiding, leaving behind his wife Dana (Jennifer Ferrin, "Life on Mars") and son, Trip (Ryan Wynott, "Flash Forward"). Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Vince Faraday becomes "The Cape" - his son's favorite comic book superhero - and takes the law into his own hands.
I started watching The Cape shortly after it aired, through On-Demand. From the early ads I saw for it, I was convinced it was supposed to be some gritty realistic take on vigilante costumed heroes, riding on the last bits of popularity of The Dark Knight, as a bad TV show written by people who don't get comics. The commercials really portrayed it that way and that was Problem #1. I was ready to hate it. How can you reach your target audience if your ads miss them completely? (Also of note. I was at San Diego Comic Con and didn't hear anything about it there.)
I started episode 1 with complete reluctance. I laughed, a lot. I tweeted, "Is this a joke?" but I kept watching. It was probably around episode 3 or 4 when I finally got it.
It wasn't supposed to be anything. It just was a comic book without being based on one. Look at the cinematography, the harsh contrast of light and shadow, the intense camera angles, the editing.. you could take screen caps of every scene and it would look exactly like a comic book come to life. I really love that!
The formula was good, an equal balance of an ongoing story and a story within the episode, with the mini titles for each chapter. Again, "reading" like a comic. Then we have the homages, where everyone on the internet cried "rip off!" and missed the point: the difference between an homage and a rip off is love.
Maybe you haven't watched mecha anime, its a niche where the writers of newer robot shows grew up on beloved classic robot shows and inject their writing with homages to those classics. Gurren Lagann is the best example of that, an enjoyable stand-alone show made better by tons of homages to Getter Robo and many Gainax anime. While younger fans enjoyed it for the show itself, older fans found a deeper enjoyment in all the references. Before calling out a rip off, consider the context. (ex: Scales' back story flashback to his origin is an homage to Killer Croc's original origin (before he got re-written a bunch), brought to life in a fun way. "No cake for you!")
The Cape's overall plot is super over the top, expecting you to suspend your disbelief farther than you might be comfortable with. The concept of keeping a secret identity in a digital age is a tough one. Don't know how Superman continues to do it.. but maybe you just have to let go in order to have fun sometimes (ex: those who picked apart the plot of Tron: Legacy and couldn't just enjoy the ride). Once you can have a sense of humor and let go, you open yourself up to more fun experiences. This goes for life in general. (Or you can just pretend everyone knows Vince is the Cape and they are just playing along to make him happy, it's also very funny that way.)
After letting go, I grew to really love the cast, especially all the magnificent circus folk and their wonderful wardrobes and tricks. New characters were brought in for each episode and they were great! The acting and writing was delightful. A big world unfolded and threads were left hanging to bring back characters after they left.. more and more threads came together, the show got even crazier and more ridiculous... and then CUT! The end.
That's it, everyone go home. What was Tarot? Will we ever see Hicks again? What the hell is up with Orwell? No really, what is up with Orwell? Does Vince ever get to be just Vince again? Would he continue fighting crime if he brought down Fleming and proved himself innocent? What about that guy who originally had the cape, Kosmo? So much was set up - such a colorful rogues gallery - and then.. NOTHING.
Episode 10, "Endgame", felt like the first half of a two parter.
The show was supposed to run for a 13 episode season, but was soon cut down to 10. It seems the script was not adjusted for that and just abruptly stopped. The 10th episode did not even air on TV, but was a web-only, streaming episode available on the NBC website.
Here we are, the tiny bunch of loyal fans who eagerly enjoyed every episode... betrayed like this by NBC.
I just saw a preview picture of Booster Gold's appearance on Smallville. That show's success baffles me, I watched the whole first season and disliked it so strongly, I couldn't stomach the idea of ever watching more. What started as a re-imagining of young Superman for a broader mass market started bringing in more characters from the DCU in later seasons and it just didn't make sense to me. Shows based on existing, long-running comics have a canon, and breaking the canon is asking much more of me than suspending my disbelief. Booster Gold's TV costume design bothers me and he's paired up with the wrong Blue Beetle, I just can't watch that. Ten seasons, seriously? DC fans watched 10 seasons of this and The Cape can't even get 1 more episode to tie up just the main plot line? Really?
Oh, I am butt hurt.
Finally, a shiny new TV show that isn't a remake of British TV, rehash of a movie, rewrite of a comic, re-re-re-re whatever, and it doesn't get a chance to really come into its own. And now I have to read about the new Wonder Woman show... which sounds more like Power Girl wearing a latex Wonder Woman porno costume & wig. I'm not even going to give that steaming pile of failure a chance because it's a lose/lose for everyone.
Please please please, for me, give The Cape a chance. Catch up on the measly 10 episodes, let go and have fun, and spread the word: give it an ending!
I would be perfectly happy if the writers took it to paper and finished the story in a comic, if they can't afford to do more web-only episodes. That beats nothing! Nothing is just unfair, don't the loyal fans deserve better than that? Small bunch as we may be?
I know I'm not alone.