The Hotness(Alex) -
OTHER SUPERHERO SHOWS
Birds of Prey
OTHER SCI FI COMEDIES
An ordinary city in all ways but one - there are superheroes. Most of these hang out at the pub known as the Fortress where powers are forbidden. The most successful superhero of all is Excelsor and The Hotness is well jealous of him, but tonight the master of fire has a date with a woman who has a penchant for getting it on with superheroes. Electroclash, on the other hand, is having a bad enough day when a store she is in gets robbed and Timebomb explains to She-Force why she shouldn't try dating any of the men in the place.
NO HEROICS is the new small-screen comedy from ITV2 about four slackers who also happen to be superheroes, even if they really don't want to be. Well, the Hotness wants to be, but he's not very good and the butt of all Excelsor's jokes. Electroclash could be good, but she's a bit of a bitch with an attitude and it's a 'couldn't give a stuff' attitude. She-Force is keen, but more keen on getting herself a boyfriend, which at least means she's the same as Timebomb who spends his days drinking and...other things.
NO HEROICS is an adult comedy, which means that there's lots of swearing and references to sex, but those alone do not a good comedy make. Good jokes make a good comedy and there are not enough of those to go around. The situations are more awkward than funny and much of the dialogue falls flat, although Electroclash's attitude does work well and Timebomb gets all the best lines. It helps that they're played by Claire Keelan and James Lance who both seem to have the extreme dryness down perfectly. Nicholas Burns' The Hotness and Rebekah Stanton's She-Force are too wet to be anything more than two others in a long line of British sitcom wet losers. Patrick Baladi's Excelsor is just loutish - exactly what the character should be, but not all that fun to watch.
This, though, is the first episode and a means of introducing the characters. Hopefully there will be better jokes and possibly even something resembling a plot next time around.
The Hotness gets a tip off about a big drug deal going off down Putney way, but since his car is off the road he has to take the bus where he completely fails to get off with an attractive woman and finds himself totally out of touch with the youth of today. She-Force and Electroclash go to a fan rally where they reminisce about their short stint as girl double act LadyTrouble. Timebomb finds himself left alone in the bar and fighting the urge to have sex with strange men just because he's bored.
It's a curious thing that a show relying on superhero fans as its core audience thinks it's a good marketing plan to show superhero fans as the saddest most maladjusted excuses for human beings on the planet. The fanclub meeting is, though, the main source of fun this time around. It's certainly better than the bus trip which is about as entertaining as most bus trips. The Hotness is far too embarrassing to actually be funny and you just end up feeling embarrassed for him all the time.
Even worse is Timebomb who still gets most of the good lines, but who gets a near to the knuckle fiddle in the men's toilet as the centre of his story, which isn't funny and is pretty much just unnecessarily blatant.
Whilst Electroclash, She-Force and Timebomb are growing on us as characters, they really need more to do in the way of evolving storylines rather than 'here's a faintly amusing situation to sit in for half an hour'.
Electroclash is in trouble for misuse of her powers and gets sentenced to community service mentoring a troubled teen. The question is whether she is going to make him worse than he already is. The Hotness decides that he needs exposure by doing some serious bad boy stuff at lapdancing clubs and forces Timebomb to take him. She Force, on the other hand, gets it on with a man whose powers derive from being part fish.
What starts off being a nice storyline about Electroclash being punished just turns into an endurance trial as the teen she is supposed to mentoring is so utterly unlikeable that there isn't anything funny in his being around at all and she becomes unlikeable by association. She-Force's story is just unpleasant whilst the trip to the lame lapdancing club where the girls are all dressed as Wonder woman with a wardrobe misfunction is just, well, lame.
NO HEROICS is some good characters in search of a joke. We've been here too many times already with science fiction comedies and it's becoming really hard to care.
Timebomb comes out of retirement to bodyguard the most objectionable young prince ever. She-Force goes to visit a supervillain that she put in prison to find that he wants her to talk dirty to him and the Hotness and Electroclash try to spend the whole evening without insulting each other.
She-force trying to talk dirty is about the only funny thing in this episode and it's only mildly funny at that. The whole young objectionable prince is too close to the young, objectionable sidekick from the last episode and when you're recycling ideas in only the fourth episode you should know that you're in deep trouble.
NO HEROICS is going to need a hero with the superpower of writing miracle scripts if this show is to get past season one.
Electroclash's troubled relationship with her parents reaches a new phase when she learns that they hated her relationship with the Hotness. She persuades him to pretend that they are together just to annoy them, causing her father to take a nasty revenge. She Force tries to hold down a normal job in her alternate identity, but that suffers when her colleague turns out to be a cape-hating activist. Timebomb cheers himself up by torturing a superheroes anonymous group meeting.
The situations in which the 'heroes' find themselves this week are better than previously and, as a result, the episode is somewhat better. There was a lot of mileage in the capeist would be boyfriend idea, but it just sort of fizzles out and when he mentions that he is going to be present at a rally against superheroes you just long for the superheroes to crash the rally. That would be funny.
The show's mean-spirited approach to its characters is also ratcheted up as the so-called 'lax-attack' is particularly unamusing. The superheroes anonymous meeting, though is the only strand of the show so far that has shown true wit and been genuinely funny.
Thundermonkey, the bar's bouncer, is dead and the heroes gather together to attend his wake. Excelsor turns his attention to once more getting into Electroclash's knickers and it looks like she might let him to get back at the Hotness who is in negotiations to join a big LA based superhero team as the comedy relief. She Force decides to enforce the rules of the club in memory of Thundermonkey and Timebomb tortures a villain to find the whereabouts of his killer.
It's quite a shock that the opening sequence is the funeral of one of the minor characters of the show, but that doesn't hold it back from being its usual self. Timebomb's torture style provides the better moments this week, whilst the business as sex talk of the american superhero recruiter starts off as obvious and then becomes tedious. There's a rare straight moment where the Hotness asks Electroclash not to shag Excelsor that hints at what the show might have been before reverting to 'swearing as jokes' type.
There's a moment towards the end of the episode when the four friends are sat at a table thinking that this might be the last time that they will all be together and that is a very real possibility. If the show doesn't return, but shuffles off to swell the already too large ranks of failed sci-fi sitcoms then we won't crying into our superbeer.
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