×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: Nickelodeon’s ‘The Thundermans’

Sitcom about a super-powered family clones "The Incredibles," without the wit or charm

With:

Kira Kosarin, Jack Griffo, Chris Tallman, Rosa Blasi, Addison Riecke, Diego Velazquez

There’s a secret power at work in “The Thundermans,” all right — namely, the ability to brazenly pilfer the plot of Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and transform it into a live-action series with virtually no wit or charm, except perhaps in the eyes of prepubescent kids who might find the attractive teen leads dreamy. Granted, there has been no shortage of similarly themed fare in the cable space — having super-powers remains one of those enduring childhood fantasies — but this lifeless effort makes virtually no pretense of original thought, other than perhaps the audacity to harbor absolutely no fear of copyright attorneys.

In one of those moves that makes about as much sense as anything else here, the show actually premieres with its fourth episode, which skips all the exposition in the pilot (also screened) about how the Thunderman family relocated to this quiet town, having given up crime-fighting with the hope the kids could “have a normal childhood” free of their costume-clad origins.

Dad (Chris Tallman), the original Thunderman, is a little paunchy these days, but he still thinks nothing of flying through the roof and zipping off to Hawaii if he’s craving macadamia nuts. Mom (Rosa Blasi) and the kids all have powers as well, though it’s not made clear if these were inherited, which is probably giving the whole exercise more thought than anyone associated with it bothered to do. (Incidentally, someone forgot to give them the “no capes” memo.)

The focus is primarily on the 14-year-old twins, Phoebe (Kira Kosarin) and Max (Jack Griffo), who, in what’s now the premiere, engage in a war of pranks. Both have powers — she can levitate and zap things; he yearns to become a super-villain — while their little brother (Diego Velazquez) runs super-fast (yes, also straight out of “The Incredibles”) and their sister (Addison Riecke) can shoot beams out of her eyes.

Aside from the initial flurry of special effects to establish the premise, “The Thundermans” quickly degenerates into just your run-of-the-mill live-action sitcom for small fry, albeit with a shared family secret they do a pretty poor job of keeping. The rule “No non-supes in the house,” for example, is quickly violated.

“Thunderman, away!” dad shouts before embarking on one of his leaps into the great unknown.

Indeed. And if flying through the roof isn’t an option, for these purposes exiting through the door or simply using remote control at lightning speed will work equally well.

TV Review: Nickelodeon's 'The Thundermans'

(Series; Nickelodeon, Sat. Nov. 2, 9 p.m.)

Production:

Produced by Nickelodeon Prods.

Crew:

Executive producers, Jed Spingarn, Dan Cross, David Hoge; co-executive producer, Nancy Cohen; producer, Patty Gary-Cox; director, Jonathan Judge; writers, Hoge, Cross; production designer, Josee Lemonnier; editor, Timothy Ryder; music, Ron Wasserman; casting, Christine Smith Shevchenko, Alexis Frank Koczara. 30 MIN.

Cast:

Kira Kosarin, Jack Griffo, Chris Tallman, Rosa Blasi, Addison Riecke, Diego Velazquez

More TV

  • Pete Davidson Sits Out Final 'Saturday

    Pete Davidson Sits Out Final 'Saturday Night Live' Sketches of 2018

    Just hours after “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson posted a message on social media that said he “really [didn’t] want to be on this Earth anymore,” he was absent from the final 2018 live sketches of the late-night sketch comedy show. But although Davidson did not take part in the sketches or appear [...]

  • Pete Davidson photographed by Peggy Sirota

    Pete Davidson Posts Unsettling Message, Deletes Instagram

    UPDATED: “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson posted a disturbing message Saturday morning stating he doesn’t “want to be on this earth anymore,” then deleted his Instagram account. In the post, Davidson wrote, “I’m doing my best to stay here for you but i actually don’t know how much longer i can last. all [...]

  • Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor

    Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor Arrested for Plotting Sex With Minor

    Disney Channel has severed ties with “Andi Mack” actor Stoney Westmoreland following his arrest for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old. “Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series ‘Andi Mack,’ was arrested in Salt Lake City today,” a Disney Channel spokesperson said in a statement Friday. “Given the nature of [...]

  • Russian Doll

    TV News Roundup: Natasha Lyonne's 'Russian Doll' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    On Friday’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “Russian Doll” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Brexit” film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, “Black Monday,” which will premiere Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars and is executive produced by Don [...]

  • Vanity Fair Review

    TV Review: 'Vanity Fair'

    There’s something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content