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Five Fall Shows You Must See: No Ordinary Family Leaps in a Single Bound to No. 3

No Ordinary Family, Julie Benz, Michael Chiklis ABC/ERIC MCCANDLESS
Fall TV Preview

It's the story idea you've never heard before...never, never ever: A group of ordinary people discover they have extraodinary powers!

What's that? No, this isn't Heroes. Or The Incredibles. Or X-Men. Or the Greatest American Hero. Or Charmed. Or Unbreakable. Oh, dangit, I guess that whole mind-control thing didn't work. But even though ABC's new series No Ordinary Family might seem similar to "extraordinary" shows you've seen before, we're still ranking it as the No. 3 new show for fall, and you best keep reading to find out why:

No Ordinary Family (ABC)

Premiere: Tuesday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: Glee (Fox), NCIS (CBS), The Biggest Loser (NBC)
Cast: Julie Benz, Michael Chiklis, Romany Malco
Status: We've seen the pilot episode.

When we meet the Powells, they're pretty angsty. Mom Stephanie (Dexter's Julie Benz) is preoccupied with her demanding career as a research scientist, dad Jim (The Shield's Michael Chiklis) seems lonely and adrift, and their teenage kids are, well, teenagers. To reconnect, Jim insists the family make a vacation out of Stephanie's business trip to Brazil. Naturally their plane crashes (a requisite in the post­­-Lost sci-fi era) in the Amazon River.

The family does bond, briefly, until they return home to their normal lives. Soon, however, Stephanie, Jim, and the kids, Daphne (Kay Panabaker) and J.J. (Jimmy Bennett), learn that they aren't normal, and can do some pretty amazing things. This is where things get gooey.

If you're looking for the dark mystery of Lost or Heroes, you've come to the wrong show. But if you're up for some fun, straight-forward action and comedy, served up from an extremely likeable cast (did I mention Weeds' awesome-sauce Romany Malco plays Chiklis' cop pal?), you've come to the right place.

Full disclosure: We've heard from quite a few people who were underwhelmed by No Ordinary Family's first episode. Call it a sixth sense, or sheer insanity, but we are completely on board with this series and the promise it holds. It's Michael Chiklis. Julie Benz. Romany Malco. And the kicker? It comes from Greg Berlanti. You know, Greg Berlanti. The guy behind Everwood, Eli Stone and Brothers and Sisters. He is a TV mastermind we trust.

No Ordinary Family has a terrific cast and formula—especially with the kids' gifts of genius and telepathy. If they douse the bubbly with a little more grit, people might choose the Powells over Glee. (Ahem, minor competition.)

Verdict: Watch it. One warning, though: If you're a working mom or dad you are so gonna get swept away in the fantasy element of this series. Why can't we all have Julie Benz's superspeed?

OUR TOP FIVE LIST SO FAR

5. Running Wilde (Fox)
4. Nikita (CW)
3. No Ordinary Family (ABC)

OUR REVIEWS SO FAR

Hellcats (CW)
Raising Hope
(Fox)

Lone Star (Fox)

What's your take on No Ordinary Family? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Click through E! Online's Fall TV Preview photo gallery, check out all our reviews for this season's new shows, and be sure to bookmark our calendar of premiere dates!

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