Posted by: Mark | May 12, 2015

The Completion List : The Cape

As Weird Al says,

“Oh the sand keeps falling through the hourglass
and there’s no way you’re going to slow it down
you say we gotta treasure each moment
who knows how long we’re gonna be around”

I can’t argue with that so knowing that we only get a short time on this Earth of ours, why would anybody spend it watching The Cape? I came up with four possibilities:

1. You watch anything related to comics.

2. You want a better understanding of Cape jokes from Community.

3. You have far too much free time.

4. You are related to someone from the show.

I had the first three.

The show wasn’t as bad as I expected but the writers didn’t leave a superhero cliché untouched.

In the first five episodes, we have:

The requisite origin story;

A “Spider-Man No More” story where the Cape quits being the Cape;

A Bizzaro/Abomination/Frightful Four/Owlman story, where an evil version of the Cape appears; and

A “Superman must save Lex Luthor” story, where the Cape must save the life of his archenemy.

The later episodes got better. In the unlikely event that someone asks “What were the best Cape episodes?” I think the only answer can be “The Lich, Part one ” and “The Lich, Part Two.”

The Cape has a reputation as being a complete bust but what was good about it?

Keith David played the Cape’s mentor and provided the eponymous cape to the hero.  He’s one of my favorite actors which made me like the series much more than I otherwise would. The trouble is that the Cape’s nemesis captures David in the first episode, perhaps not realizing his full relationship with the Cape, and then never follows up on it. This could have been explained away but it seemed like the writer needed another draft to polish.

Vinnie Jones played a recurring villain. If he’d been the big bad and Keith David had been the hero, I think the show would have been much better.

What was bad?

The tone, half campy, half serious. That just doesn’t work. Mel Brooks said, “When you go up to the bell, ring it, or don’t go up to the bell.” Either commit to an Adam West Batman/Tick superhero or not. Comic relief and a lighter tone are much needed to the superhero, but camp just doesn’t spread.

Palm City. If you’re committed to a fake location, come up with a better name than that. Why even make it a fake city? Superheroes have flocked to NYC since the Fantastic Four left fake Central City, California to the real Big Apple. Sure, the main villain was a CEO in charge of local government but that’s not far removed from Robocop in Detroit. My parents live a few miles from Palm Coast. My sister used to live near Palm Beach. But Palm City? Again, they needed another draft.

The cape itself never clicked with me. A magic power ring. Okay, I can go with that. A flaming motorcycle. Yeah, sure. An unbreakable shield. No problem. But a cape made from spider silk that essentially has magical powers despite the writers wanted to try to make things realistic. I’m the ideal audience for this stuff and it still doesn’t work with me.

Overall, The Cape doesn’t deserve the abject ridicule it got. It had two good episodes out of ten. That’s better than most series.



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