If rating trends continue, it may be curtains for The Cape. After a mediocre start for the freshman NBC show (8.6 million viewers), Monday’s episode netted only 5.8 million. That’s a drop of nearly 40% in just two weeks.

Fox won the night with new episodes of House and Lie To Me. It wasn’t all bad news for NBC, as their new courtroom drama Harry’s Law caught 10.3 million eyeballs in the 10 PM slot immediately following the hooded hero.

Appropriately, The Cape seems to be struggling with an identity crisis. The campy action and self-deprecating humor on display in the two-hour premiere episode was enjoyable (Screen Rant writer Anthony Ocasio likened it to a modern version of Adam West’s Batman), but the writers, producers and actors seem hell-bent for leather on playing the drama straight. The next two episodes try to portray The Cape in a dark and gritty matter that just doesn’t suit the comic book framing and fast-paced action. For example, the second episode centered around Vince Faraday’s struggle to keep the otherwordly darkness of The Cape from consuming him – this from a show that featured a bank-robbing raccoon just a week previous.

In my opinion, the problem lies with The Cape‘s protagonist and antagonists. Faraday is about as interesting as his generic-brand alter-ego, and his rogues gallery isn’t much better. The most compelling part of Batman (the character The Cape wants to be when it grows up) is the villains – without the twisted bad guys, he’s just a nut in a costume beating up thugs. Dick Tracy-knockoff characters like Chess and Scales just can’t compare, leaving an already bland hero with no one interesting enough to hate.

There is a lot of fun to be had with The Cape‘s supporting cast, like Orwell and Max Malini. The last few episodes gave us some enjoyable scenes at the Carnival of Crime (including some very intentional Summer Glau fanservice), but it wasn’t enough to make us forget about Faraday’s dark, angsty and altogether uninteresting quest. It’s odd that bloggers and carneys could become more compelling than a vengeful masked vigilante, but they have, and the writers should capitalize on them.

'The Cape' could use more of The Carnival of Crime, and less of, well, The Cape.

If The Cape is to survive, it needs to deliver on what its remaining fans want: the camp. The show shares a lot more in common with ABC’s No Ordinary Family than the Heroes it replaces, and the people behind The Cape should embrace that. The next few episodes should feature over-the-top action and goofy fun, not brooding anti-heroes ruminating on the nature of justice. And if worse comes to worst, there’s always NBC’s upcoming Wonder Woman TV Show to look forward to.

The Cape airs Monday nights at 9 PM on NBC – for now.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter