No Ordinary Family

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
No Ordinary Family TV Poster Image
Superpowers bring family closer; fun for teens and up.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Raising a family is tough these days, with parents juggling demanding careers and kids pulled in many directions by schoolwork, extracurricular activities, the constant distractions of technology, and the ever-complicated minefield of adolescent social lives. Sometimes it seems like parents need superpowers to handle everything. When the Powells really do develop amazing abilities, they help a little. But learning to manage these new powers forces them to turn to each other for support -- and that helps much more.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jim Powell is a big, strong-looking man, but he feels powerless in his own home. All he wants is for his family to be closer and spend more time together, but he struggles to find ways to make it happen. When he develops superpowers, yes, he uses them to fight crime, but he also hopes that this unusual new development will be good for his family.


Some fight scenes involving a super-strong man who doesn’t know his own strength. Car doors and people are both thrown around. Some gunfights/shooting, and people do get wounded. A villain shoots someone at close range, drawing blood, but the scene isn't especially gory or intense.


A married couple is shown naked in bed, relaxing and talking after presumably having sex. A teenage girl and her friends make numerous references to sex, especially about the fact that she's a virgin but some of her classmates are not.


Language includes “crap,” “bitch,” “whore,” and “dumbass.”


A few consumer brands and logos are briefly visible, such as Lexus.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters sometimes talk about going out for cocktails or sharing a bottle of wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this fantasy drama focuses on a fairly typical family -- overworked parents and busy teens who sometimes seem to have little time for each other -- who begin to develop superpowers. Yes, there’s some crimefighting, but the main thrust of the show is how this incredible event can bring them all closer together. There’s some mild swearing (including words like "whore" and "dumbass"), violence (including guns and shooting), and several references to sex -- notably from the teen daughter and her friends, who talk about who's a virgin and who isn't.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 14-year-old Written bycrazi4mykidz October 17, 2010

okay if you don't object to foul language

This is not a show that can be claimed family-friendly, unless the family is one that accepts foul language and blatant disrespect for parental authority.
Parent Written byknit3tog October 12, 2010

Had potential, but disappointed us...

This show had potential. We watched the first episode, and I was extremely disappointed to hear a mother of a middle school aged girl explain to her husband th... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 5, 2011

My favorite show

They have a few swears but this show is my favorite. They come up with great people ( I like Joshua and Katie) and though it can be intense it seems like they... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCritiNumba1 February 11, 2011

Family Fun

I like this show, it is fun and great for the family. But in one episode nothing is shown because they close the door, but clearly Katie and her boyfriend, who... Continue reading

What's the story?

Jim Powell (Michael Chiklis) is starting to feel like his family is drifting apart. His wife is a high-powered biotech executive, and his teenage son and daughter always seem to be busy with homework, extracurricular activities, and texting. He misses the togetherness they once had and can’t find a way to bring them all together. Then, after a freak accident during a family vacation, they all start to develop amazing new powers. Jim becomes super strong, while his workaholic wife, Stephanie (Julie Benz), acquires super speed. Their daughter, Daphne (Kay Panabaker), can now read minds, and son JJ (Jimmy Bennett) has become a super genius. While figuring out how to live with these powers isn't as easy as it seems, it might help bring the Powells closer.

Is it any good?

NO ORDINARY FAMILY is certainly no ordinary superhero series. Yes, there’s some crime-fighting -- can you imagine a show about super-powered people who don’t capture bad guys? But the focus here is more on how an average family tries to adapt to a very unusual situation. Besides criminals, there are dramas at school and conflicts at work with and spats at home -- you know, real life. These characters seem just like anyone else, except for their new abilities.

Chiklis is in familiar territory. He already looks larger than life, and he’s already played a super strong hero, the Thing, in the movie version of Fantastic Four. But the look of wonder that comes over his face as Jim starts to grasp his new capabilities is pure fun. Panabaker also stands out as a mind-reading teen who quickly learns that hearing her classmates' inner thoughts is both enlightening and painful. Jim thinks his family is drifting apart -- and he hopes he can use his super strength to pull everyone back together. It’s an intriguing premise -- and an insightful perspective on the busy modern family.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about superhero stories. How does this series compare to standard superhero tales? What do the Powells get out of their powers?

  • Do you think the family seems realistic? Does the show do a good job of portraying high school life?

  • Do you think it’s common for busy families to suddenly realize that they don’t actually spend much time together? What contributes to that feeling? Is your family ever like that?

  • What role does technology play in today's family life?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love superheroes

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