With the success of superheroes on the big screen, it is no surprise that television networks have tried time and again to recreate that success on the small screen. None have proved successful enough to maintain their budget for long.
“The Cape” is among those shows, but proved to be of far better quality than similar shows like “Heroes” and “No Ordinary Family”. The series starts with a simple premise: that a father (played by David Lyons) reads his son the adventures of a superhero named The Cape. When the father, a police officer, is framed as the city’s crime boss he ends up wearing a specially designed cape as he takes on the comic character’s identity.
While the premise is a bit silly and the cape effects are sometimes strange, the show succeeds not on its premise as much as it does on excellent character storytelling. The cast is filled with veteran character and genre actors and they all shine.
Summer Glau plays Orwell, a computer expert with a strange relationship to the show’s villain, the excellent Peter Fleming (played by James Frain). Keith David co-stars as Max Melini, leader of the Carnival of Crime that serves as allies to the Cape. The hero’s son and wife also play a role in the continued storyline.
The large cast probably worked against the show’s success as ratings tanked early in its run. Like so many great action shows of the past, it ended unresolved. The Cape was still on the run and the villain still ruled over the city.
But despite bad endings, the show proved to be solid from beginning to end. It would be the week spots of the show’s pilot that cost it most of its fans as well as a poor advertising push by NBC.
Now on DVD, all 10 episodes of “The Cape” can now easily be watched and judged as the solid lost show that it was. Pick up a copy on Amazon. It is also available streaming through Netflix.