Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Cape: The Complete Series (2011) starring David Lyons & Summer Glau.

(yes that is signed by Summer Glau)

I got really excited when I heard about this series – the promos looked great. It was a plot I ate up with a spoon, good cop framed for crimes he didn’t commit adopts the identity of The Cape, a superhero comic he read with his son.
Then the series aired and the reviews were less than stellar, the order of 13 episodes was cut to 10 and the finale only aired online in America.

The show aired in Australia on digital channel 7mate where it was banished to the wastes of 2am fairly quickly.

Did it deserve its rapid death? Well I feel it didn’t. One of the problems with modern life is we want instant hits, if a show doesn’t rate through the roof from day 1, it gets cancelled. Some shows need to build up an audience, look at Law & Order or Star Trek. Both were initially low rating but built an audience in reruns and became very successful franchises. 9 episodes is a very short period to build an audience.

Another criticism that I’ve heard is that The Cape was unoriginal, ripping off a number of other superhero /science fiction properties. Robocop, Heroes and Batman are the main examples cited. Nothing is totally original. C. Auguste Dupin inspired Sherlock Holmes who in turn inspired everyone from Sexton Blake to House, The X Files was inspired by Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Shadow begat a slew of imitators such as The Spider. This blog is devoted to the series that The Executioner inspired.

Another problem was that people had a lot of expectations for this series. NBC aired this the season after Heroes was cancelled so many saw it as a replacement to that series.

I really liked the premise Vince Faraday (David Lyons), one of the few honest cops in Palm City, is framed as the local crime lord Chess. In the chase there is an explosion and Faraday is believed dead.

Of course he survives and is rescued by a circus troupe who are also criminals. They train Vince in various martial arts, including Baritsu*, hypnotism and stage illusion and provide him with a costume including an impenetrable vest and a cape made of spider silk. The cape is able to stretch and retract and has incredible strength. (Frustratingly in one of the later episodes there is a hint of just why a criminal team would help train a vigilante, which won't get expanded on now)

Faraday then creates the identity of The Cape, based on his son’s favourite comic book. The Cape is also aided by a hacker named Orwell played by Summer Glau.

The big arc for the season is Faraday attempting to reveal Chess’ real identity as Peter Fleming the head of the Ark Corporation, a private security firm that has taken over the police duties for Palm City.

The other villains were interesting, a collective of assassins known as The Tarot who identify themselves by tarot cards who are hired by Fleming to kill business rivals and The Cape, a crime boss known as Scales.

The episode Dice has The Cape protecting Fleming from a precognitive. Another episode has a former owner of the cape trying to get it back.

The Cape was a really pulpy character that calls to mind The Shadow. Hopefully someone will take the character and make a comic series or series of continuation novels.

* Bartisu is a martial art first mentioned by Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Empty House and was mentioned in the DC Doc Savage/ Shadow Crossover and one of the Victorian era Tales of The Slayer stories

Why Oz Pulp? David Lyons is Australian.


  1. Thanks for the heads up, Brad. I just ordered it. I only got to see the first episode when it came to TV, so it will be fun finally viewing the rest of the series.

  2. No Worries Tom. I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did.