No Ordinary Family

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Some might call them just incredible or simply heroic .

An ABC TV series which began in September 2010.

The Powells are just an average suburban family, until father Jim decides they're long overdue for a family vacation and takes his wife Stephanie and their children Daphne and JJ to Brazil. On the way, a storm comes out of nowhere and their plane crashes into a river, where all four are bathed in strange luminescent water before making their way back to civilization.

Upon returning home, the family discovers that they have all been given (or developed) superpowers: Nigh Invulnerability, Super Strength, and super jumping for Jim, Super Speed for Stephanie, Telepathy for Daphne, and Super Intelligence for JJ. Now the question becomes, what do they do with them?

So far, Jim has used his powers to secretly fight crime (he normally works as a police sketch artist), Stephanie to get from work to home faster so she can spend more time with her family, Daphne tried to ignore hers but can't help hearing people's thoughts around her, and JJ tries to impress people with his. Stephanie has also been using her job as a scientist to investigate the origins of their powers.

Has a Recap page and a Characters page.

The show was cancelled after the first season.

Tropes used in No Ordinary Family include:
  • 90% of Your Brain: Played with in "No Ordinary Powell", where JJ comments on his brain being 38% more efficient.
    • Which allows JJ to recover from Daphne's mind control faster than everyone else eventually does.
  • Achilles' Heel: Jim isn't completely invulnerable. So far the only thing strong enough to actually hurt him is a high caliber bullet fired from close range. Jim tries to block bullets with his hands rather than his head as a result. On the other hand, his bullet catching habits means he also tends to block everything with his hands even force waves and electrical bolts from other supers. Fortunately, these he can stop just as well as he can bullets.
  • Actor Allusion: This isn't the first time Michael Chiklis has been a super-tough superhero. It's also the third time he played someone who worked for the police.
    • This isn't the first time Katie has been a comic-book loving sidekick in a superhero-ish universe.
    • After being startled by a home invader in the shower, Stephanie says she'll be taking baths from now on. That may not turn out so well.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Dr. King in the finale. Plus a healing factor.
  • Affably Evil: DOCTOR KING. The show is good in general, but casting Stephen Collins as the Big Bad is simply genius.
  • Anti-Villain: Played With with Doctor King. He only wanted to figure out permanency so he could cure his own cancer. But then, it turns out he only wanted to cure his cancer so he could gain enough power to kill Jim and take Steph for his own.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Played straight and lampshaded, in No Ordinary Powell

"Well she has to exist, no one can just vanish into thin air."

  • Double Take and "You did not just say that" face from Jim.*
  • Art Major Physics: It is true that, according to Einstein's theories, you can travel in time to the future by moving very fast. That time travel however does not include a way to go back to "the present" and it is actual time travel rather than merely seeing the future without interacting with the people in there.
  • Artistic License Law: Teachers aren't allowed to arbitrarily change grades on formal exams from B to F without providing some pretty strong evidence. Doing that and officially entering it into the system (almost certainly without following procedure) is a crime just as serious as hacking. It's like lawyers don't exist or something...
    • It's also pretty safe to say that teachers do not have the ability to arbitrarily hand out and take away scholarships.
  • Asshole Victim: JJ's math teacher. He more than qualifies and he gets what he deserves.
  • Awesome By Analysis: One of the many uses of JJ's Super Intelligence.
  • Ax Crazy: The arsonist.
  • Battle Couple: For one episode. Jim and Stephanie team up to catch a Pyrokinetic arsonist. It's at this point that Stephanie feels the thrill of crime-fighting and fully understands why Jim does what he does.
  • Beard of Evil: Watcher has a ragged face of stubble compared to everyone else in the cast along with a deathly pallor. After his Heel Face Turn, his stubble seems to be getting shorter and his color improving.
  • Berserk Button: Never accuse Jim of cheating on his wife. EVER.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Stephanie gives one to Jim to break Sophie's hold over him in "No Ordinary Love".
  • Big Eater: Stephanie. Justified, in that her increased speed causes an increased metabolism, though it would only work if she was converting the entire mass of the food into energy. This would mean that she never has to use the washroom.
  • Black Best Friend: George, Jim's district attorney buddy. He even sets up a "secret headquarters" for Jim in his garage.
    • Lampshaded by George himself: "Bruce Willis would have never gotten out of there alive if he didn't have that black dude helping him. Jim, let me be your black dude!"
  • Blessed with Suck: Stephanie, after a close shave with death, had been injected with the serum, which augmented her super speed to the point of allowing her to travel through time. A nasty side-effect of this, however, is that her chromosomes are beginning to decay.
    • It Gets Worse: As of the same episode she seems to have no control over this, meaning she is effectively cut off from using her powers AT ALL. Of course it resolves itself by the end of the episode.
  • Book and Switch: Inverted, with JJ, who is pretending to read a copy of Marvel Comics' Wolverine, but is really reading a complex mathematics textbook inside it.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Daphne is a milder version.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Dragon, as punishment for not getting the pyrokinetic out of custody in time.
    • Also, after he gives up his position for Katie, he's due to lose his powers.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Katie seems this way sometimes.

Katie: That reminds me of a funny story. I was on a trip to Russia and thought I was allergic to the water. Turns out, it was vodka.

  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': A large amount of the teen sub plot is based on them playing a zero sum game where they can never profit from using their powers.
    • Well, if they use their powers to try to benefit themselves it usually comes back to bite them, but if they're helping someone else, it usually works out.
    • Slightly averted in the poker game. While they don't make a profit, they do avoid getting in trouble for hosting the poker game in the first place.
    • Averted with Daphne in N.O. Double Standard. She looks like she is going to get in trouble for disobeying Jim but then uses her new Jedi Mind Trick to escape punishment.
  • Career Versus Man: Natalie seems to believe this in regards to escaping the foster system, or at least, that having a boyfriend is too much of a distraction to risk having one.
  • Chekhov's Skill: JJ's Improbable Aiming Skills
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Katie, oh so much.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Daphne's reasoning for going to her dad about the home invaders, and Jim's (among others) for asking the police to keep the sketch discrete.

Daphne: How could I live with myself if I knew I had the chance to help somebody, but chose not to?

    • Also the reasoning JJ used to convince his mom to help save his teacher's life, using an almost-indentical line to Daphne's.
  • Compelling Voice: Both Daphne and Watcher develop this power, with different applications: Watcher uses it to erase/change memories, while Daphne uses it to influence decisions. In both cases, the person under their instruction repeats what they are told to do (or forget), but without changing their tone of voice; this lead to an armed mugger saying "I'm gonna put the gun down, and I'm gonna walk away." in the most threatening manner possible.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Jim seems to be turning into this. When facing a purse-snatcher in "No Ordinary Proposal", he allows the guy to use up his ammo. Then Jim shoves him into a fence hard enough to allow the rebound to knock the guy into Jim's hand and knock him out. As opposed to any sort of attempt to fight. Likewise, when fighting Victoria, he doesn't bother with the typical 'find something and smack 'em with it' favored by other brick-type superheroes until he actually has a reasonable chance of using a weapon to good effect.
  • Continuity Nod: Used occasionally during some conversations such as JJ's crush on Katie.
  • Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Usually the person will think a clear sentence related to what Daphne is trying to find out, but sometimes it'll just be random nonsense.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Rebecca, a woman who shoots shockwaves from her hands, has just nearly killed Jim after a drawn out fight. She is then taken down afterwards by the Watcher inside of ten seconds immediately afterwards.
  • Curse Cut Short: Jim has one cut with the sound of a train door opening...because he just stopped it with his bare hands.
    • Jim gets one again in #12 when talking to Daphne about Jim's brother's bull--
  • The Danza: Jimmy Bennett as Jim Junior "JJ" Powell.
    • For now, Josh Stewart as the Watcher's (Joshua) current alias.
  • Dawson Casting: Averted with JJ. Played straight with Daphne. JJ's actor Jimmy Bennett is the same age as the character he's playing. Kay Panabaker as Daphne, on the other hand, is a 20 year old playing a high school sophomore.
  • Dating The Watcher: Katie and 'Joshua'
  • Deadly Dodging: Stephanie finally gets into the heroics too.
  • Description Cut: In "No Ordinary Friends", when George is concerned about Jim letting his wife confront a criminal/her new friend alone, Jim assures him "There's one thing I know about my wife--she would never put herself in danger."

[Cut to Stephanie following said criminal to a meeting with an accomplice.]

Katie's thoughts: Besides telling her not to wear stripes. Oops, she probably just read my mind. Um, if you're in here, those jeans look super cute on you.

  • Disney Villain Death: How the pyrokinetic goes out, sorta.
  • Disposable Pilot: The Powells get their powers after a plane crash in the jungle of Brazil. The pilot of their plane is never seen, implying this is what happened.
  • Disposable Woman: Detective Yvonne Cho.
  • Ditzy Genius: JJ may have Super Intelligence and all, but he's still makes reckless and foolish decisions. Daphne lampshades it.
    • He also goes through with a plan to pose as an internet love-interest for Kat, even though it was a really bad idea and he didn't even "know how internet dating works", so his Super Intelligence is very limited by his personality.
    • Refreshingly though, despite being a ditz, JJ is shown to have genuine interest in learning rather than his Super Intelligence just 'happening'. And similarly, rather than his super-intelligence giving him information and letting him slack off, it's shown to require him to actually study and learn. This especially applies to advanced information; while he can figure out the motion and physics behind football, he doesn't necessarily know what's going on and the strategy.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Oh my god, it's an earthquake! It's my very first earthquake! ...And it's already over."
    • Jim to JJ: "So, I guess you're having trouble...performing...brain wise. I've found that sometimes it makes it easier if you concentrate on other things..." Referring to JJ's Weaksauce Weakness that causes him to lose his abilities talking with his crush.
  • Double Standard: In "No Ordinary Double Standard," Jim refuses to allow Daphne to date a senior boy, but congratulates JJ-- who is younger than Daphne-- for scoring a date with a senior girl. Note that this is an in-universe example as Stephanie calls Jim out on the double standard and the show, for the most part, agrees.
  • Drugged Lipstick: In one episode, Jim loses his superpowers. It turns out that cynoxate, an ingredient in Stephanie's lip gloss, is the kryptonite to Jim's Applied Phlebotinum, the trilsettum coronis. She claims to have gotten rid of it, but apparently still has it lying around, because in a later episode, the evil shape-shifter Victoria turns into Stephanie and steals the lip gloss, neutralizing Jim's powers when she kisses him.
  • Enhance Button: Used in "No Ordinary Sidekick". Now with fancy interface!
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Daphne's crush Bret, apparently.

Daphne: He could date every girl in the school, and some of the guys, and instead he chooses her.

Katie: "Hi, it's me. Katie. Oh, I didn't need to say it's me since I said my name afterwards."

  • Eye Scream: How JJ takes out King.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Dr. King. Takes a needle to the eye, then has a decades worth of cancer rapidly attack his body. It ain't pretty.
  • Foreshadowing: Detective Yvone Cho finds out about Jim's powers. She thinks he is dangerously interfering with police business and basically ignores Jim's warnings that they will need his help from the bad guys with powers. Later, she is interrogated and killed by Watcher. On the bright side, she covers for Jim so the bad guys know nothing. Of course, even Jim is unaware of the whole "bad guys" thing, so...
    • Daphne tries to read Watcher's mind but only gets static.
  • Free-Range Children: JJ and Daphne tend to show up at Stephanie's lab with little fanfare (or else where) and people don't seem too shocked by that or ask why they might not be at school. Or even how they got there since that Daphne doesn't get a car until several episodes in.
  • Forgot About His Powers: In No Ordinary Powell it seems that the family will take any opportunity to loudly exclaim what their powers are, up to and including Jim's weakness. Daphne also tends to leave her mind reading in the "off" position more than is wise.
  • Geeky Turn On: Katie has them and also she is the embodiment of such. For instance, in "No Ordinary Sidekick", she notes she hasn't fallen in love so hard since a Comic-Con where she fell for a metrosexual wookie.
  • Genki Girl: Katie can be a mild version of this.
  • Genre Savvy: George and Katie, as the "sidekicks".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When discussing JJ's psychoactive powers going on the fritz due to wanting to kiss a pretty girl, he suggests if his powers were not working due to his brain being distracted. Daphne replies that it probably wasn't his brain that was being distracted.
    • Also in that episode, we have this conversation between Jim and JJ:

JJ: She's so pretty. And every time I'm with her it's like all the blood rushes out of my head and into my...
Jim: Got it!

    • And, at one point, Jim and Stephanie have taken down a supervillain. Jim then hears sirens and grabs Stephanie with a throaty "Come here!" As he pushes her into an alley (to protect their Secret Identities), she exclaims, "Whoa! Shouldn't we wait 'til we're back at the hotel?"
  • Gold Digger: The school's Alpha Bitch realizes that being with a genius will pay off far more in the long run than a hot jock. However, this is actually subverted when Daphne finds out that Bailey actually does like JJ.

"I'll bet whoever dated Bill Gates in high school is kicking herself right now."

Katie: Holy frak!

    • Justified in that as a total nerd, she would say like that.
  • Ground-Shattering Landing: Jim started out doing this with his In a Single Bound shenanigans (those poor, innocent rooftops...), but he's gotten better, and can land without shattering concrete, except when he misses.
    • A good thing too when he starts roof leaping on suburban homes.
  • Happily Married: Sure, they have their spats, but Jim and Stephanie's dedication to each other is very obvious and rather endearing. In fact, when accused of cheating by his father-in-law, Jim nearly goes into a tirade.
  • Healing Factor: Stephanie has a minor one due to her enhanced metabolism. Notably, she just heals faster and not better. She assumes she has the 'better' aspect; she is sorely mistaken after getting stabbed by super-claws.
    • Jim has one too, for the rare moments he gets injured.
    • Doctor King.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Sure, Jim has Super Strength, Daphne has mind-reading and Compelling Voice, and Stephanie can run fast. But JJ's power is definitely the most versatile. He's learned a language in half a day, identified a species of bacteria without a microscope and solved a ten-year murder case. Not to mention being immune to mind-affecting abilities if he thinks about it hard enough. Furthermore, his ability to see physics itself has proven rather useful; he's no slouch in a fistfight because of it.
  • Heel Face Turn: Watcher, who now decides to have Katie over his powers.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Watcher knows that Jim has superpowers, but has actively avoided telling Dr. King about it, likely due to his desire to find out how to make his own powers permanent.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Katie, her favorite X-Man is Kitty Pride, and she is constantly bringing up Superhero Tropes.

Katie: Interesting tidbit, most superheroes don't even have mothers. Most are either dead, or back on their homeworld, or something.

    • brought up in "No Ordinary Mobster" where Stephanie goes to Katie to tutor JJ and mentioned as a reason she's Hollywood Dateless.
  • Hot Scientist - Stephanie Powell, played by Julie Benz, and Katie Andrews, played by Autumn Reeser. Also, Mrs. X as played by Lucy Lawless.
  • Ho Yay: There's Les Yay between Katie and Stephanie. There's Ho Yay between George and Jim. There's Foe Yay between Stephanie and Dr. King. Lotta yay going around. Given all the Yay going around, one could be forgiven for not realizing that Stephanie and Jim are married with children without the scenes where they're in their bedroom or what have you.
    • The Victoria!Joshua/Katie kiss in the Season One finale, if you think about it.
  • Ho Yay Shipping: An in-universe example: Katie has "suspicions" about Power Man and Iron Fist.
  • Hypocritical Humor:

Katie: They say that internet dating is for socially awkward, geeky types, but I've actually been finding a lot of people on there like me.

    • The look on Stephanie's face says it all, but she's kind enough to let it go.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: After the pilot, the theme seems to be "No Ordinary (X)". That way, if the pilot from the first episode turns out to be alive, they can title an episode "No Ordinary Pilot".
  • Idiot Ball: A lot of episodes practically hinge on the Powells and their friends suddenly forgetting there's such things as super-powers and other people also have them. Sophia's case is the most egregious as it takes forever for anyone to consider there might be some mind-control powers at work when George acts almost suicidal ("lets eat lobster!" "you're mortally allergic to lobster!") and then Jim goes from "I don't trust Sophie" to "I love Sophie and I'll abandon my family to be with her" after a peck in the cheek.
    • Victoria also takes advantage of this, since its the only thing keeping her cover is the Powells forgetting there's a shape-shifter even after discovering there's one interested in them a few episodes prior. Jim doesn't even get suspicious of his best friend shooting him for no reason at all, even though he knew of Jim's resistance, it should at least award a raise of eyebrow, as he already knew there was a shapeshifter. Finally, the very first thing he does when he goes to Stephanie to warn her about a shapeshifter spying on them to try to discover their weakness is tell her his weakness for no reason at all. It turned out that it was actually Victoria, and not Stephanie.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Daphne, because being a teenager is hard enough.
    • Although, she might be having fun with her new mind control powers
    • According to The new Dragon Victoria Morrow, this is what all the people who have been given powers want, and what The Watcher wants.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Jim is loving his powers as he wants to help people, as is Stephanie who wants to spend more time with her family. JJ is also thrilled that his parents are proud of him for the first time.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: JJ wins a ring-toss game offscreen, and it is implied that he used his Super Intelligence in order to do it.
    • It also allowed him to join the football team, as it's "all math."
    • This skill is used in the finale when he uses it to throw a needle of the trilsettum antidote at Dr. King's eye, causing him to die as his cancer rapidly came back
  • In a Single Bound: Jim insists that his friend George refer to it as, instead of "leap" or "jump."
  • Infant Immortality: Double subverted with Katie's baby.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: In the alternate future that Stephanie goes to the Powells are denied basic liberties on the basis that quote:

"Last I checked, civil rights only applied to Human beings."

  • In Love with the Mark: Watcher falls for Katie and severs ties with Dr. King to be with her.
  • Instant Trigonometry: JJ's Super Intelligence is shown to the audience as graphs and numbers forming in his field of vision, at least when this effect can be applied. In some cases, such as when reading at an accelerated rate, the sound-effects used for his Super Intelligence plays anyway. Later, whenever he's using it in general (pure exposition aside), we get to see it, whether it's a car, medical texts, or what have you.
  • Jerkass: The family seems to be surrounded by them, apart from George and Katie.
    • Jim's coworkers at the police station, the next door neighbors.
    • Stephanie's coworker, who is jealous her project got the funding, but he goes out of his way to be obnoxious to them.
    • JJ's teacher. "Even this is a stretch for you." Sure, he has a right to be suspicious, but that's just being a dick.
    • And a Bailey at school for Daphne.
    • Stephanie's parents definitely counts, though only her dad gets called out on it.
  • Jerkass Facade: Daphne's new crush, Chris. He pretends to do drugs so people don't find out its actually his brother.
  • Kryptonite Factor: For Jim, a chemical called cinoxate...somehow.
    • Potentially a very oblique reference to Superman as cinoxate is used in sunscreen. The current explanation for Superman's powers is that he absorbs energy from the sun.
  • Lampshade Hanging: When Stephanie's underling, Katie, tests her speed and asks things like: "How is it possible you're not burning your clothes off right now?". She doesn't have an answer yet but posits one solution (a plasma shield generated from kinetic energy) and the fact that Stephanie's a scientist means the scientific problems should at least be explored.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: When she learns of The Watcher's murder of Dr. Chiles by seeing his memories, The Watcher wipes Daphne's mind of all her memories from the past three months.
    • The Watcher's (and Daphne's) memory erasing is a mild subversion--its not laser guided, its extremely general and non-specific.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Watcher's second fake name.
  • Loan Shark: Jim's brother borrows $150,000 from the biggest loan shark on the West Coast.
  • Magic Floppy: Possibly subverted: Katie finds the remain ink work of a doctor working on super powers on a floppy. Considering he was in the company in its infancy, and Katie is using a external device it could be a SuperDisc (120MB) but still.
  • Mama Bear: To a lesser extent than Jim as Papa Wolf, but Stephanie definitely has her moments.
  • Matrix Raining Code: When JJ uses his "super brain" to look at the DNA algorithm, he solves it, very simply, by seeing it like this.
  • Meaningful Name: The family is named Powell, which might invoke similarity to the word "powers".
  • Mind Over Matter: Watcher, Dr. King's Dragon.
  • Mirror Match: Jim vs. himself (Victoria Morrow)
  • Missing Mom: The present physically but not emotionally variation. Stephanie cites working 80 hours a week to support her family, and she stares at Jim in shock as he tells her what's going on with her kids -- Daphne is worried about losing her boyfriend because she won't put out; JJ is failing because he has a learning disability and Stephanie refuses to admit it.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Stephanie's father Allan thinks Jim is cheating, then rationalizes what Jim's really doing when he tries to tell the truth.
  • Mockumentary: Used in the pilot as a Flash Back because they were relating the events to their marriage counselor.
  • Morality Pet: Katie seems to be this to Watcher so far, at least in regards to his outward willingness to be Nightmare Fuel. At the same time, as seen in "No Ordinary Detention", just because he's not working for King any more, doesn't mean he doesn't dream of horrible things to do to you if you threaten the woman he loves.
  • Muggle Best Friend: Kate to Stephanie.
  • Mundane Utility: All of them, constantly.
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin: Katie is a virgin. Watcher reacts badly when he finds out about it, though mostly because while he initially was only using her to get to Stephanie, having become the mask, he was having second thoughts about using Katie in this way. But he comes back, and well...
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The preview of "No Ordinary Accident" implies from the mention of the storyline of Jim losing his powers that he is the one that JJ and Stephenie are operating on, but it's actually JJ's Jerkass teacher.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: So, other than telekinesis, the Watcher can apparently wipe memories
    • Daphne suddenly gaining mind control powers.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Played with. Katie is a cross between Stephanie's lab assistant and secretary, and clearly hero worships her. Stephanie is polite to her, but ultimately treats Katie as her assistant/secretary. After she gets her powers, they become best friends.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Jim is able to be run over by a car several times without more then a bit of pain. Stephanie's plasma field protects her from the dangers of super speed.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Dr. Dayton King's death after the Trilsettum serum's effect are nullified and his cancer spreads at an accelerated rate
  • Not Wearing Tights: Goes through several stages. First, despite all their talk about super heroes Jim, George, Stephanie, and Katie never even consider Jim or Stephanie wearing masks. Then George considers it, but Jim shoots him down. He wears a ski mask in 'No Ordinary Mobsters' but promptly loses it, and as of 'No Ordinary Friends', Jim has embraced masks and gloves. Which make him look no different from the thief he was trying to stop. So he drops them again.
    • And Stephanie moves too fast to be seen. Of course, she doesn't seem to consider the possibility of her losing her speed mid-run.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Played straight in "No Ordinary Detention". The IAB officer is shot in the shoulder and this is treated as a serious injury yet she's in good enough shape to... well, finish out the episode in otherwise perfect health. Yet at the same time, Jim also gets shot tickled by a bullet in the shoulder in front of same officer who can only suggest that he should be dead due to Instant Death Bullet. Which, Jim, in a show of Genre Savvy, fakes by the magic of a Bulletproof Vest to bring it back to Only a Flesh Wound levels.
  • Only the Knowledgable May Pass
  • Opening Narration: The show loves to remind you that this is a show about a family with superpowers and listing everyone's powers. And don't forget about the evil Dr. King.
  • Papa Wolf: Jim, usually mild-mannered and not very prone to anger in general becomes a whole different person when you threaten his family. Or his friends as seen when he bullrushs a SUV containing a sniper ready to shoot George (in an alternate future). He hits it hard enough to send it a good twenty feet in the air and across the street. He also seems to get a massive power boost (or maybe just Heroic Resolve) in these situations, such as rapid recovery from his Kryptonite Factor or being able to deflect things (like lightning that just should not be deflectable at all.
  • Personality Powers: The powers given to each family member appear to reflect the character's personality, or at least address an insecurity that they have had about themselves. This may or may not turn out to be plot-relevent.
    • Jim previously had to carry the weight of his family on his shoulders, he gets super strength.
    • Stephanie is seriously lacking in time, she gets super speed.
    • Daphne is constantly worrying about what people think of her and about her boyfriend, she gets telepathy.
    • JJ knows he has trouble learning and feels inferior because of this, he gets super intelligence.
    • The villains for the first and second episodes have powers that a criminal would have a lot of use for (teleportation and telekinesis).
    • A serial arsonist getting pyrokinesis definitely qualifies.
    • Victoria Morrow, a shapeshifter who has replaced Watcher as Dr. King's Dragon wanted to be someone Joshua could love.
    • The steam guy could fit in due to be fairly hot headed much like the pyro.
    • The violent murderer gets animalistic powers.
    • The Unfettered Dr. King has the ability to ignore any fatal injury.
    • The only exceptions seem to be Rebecca (shockwaves) and Watcher (lots).
  • Playing Cyrano: Daphne goes on a date with her crush to a museum, and has JJ sneak along so she can read his mind as he thinks about facts concerning the paintings. Subverted in that it works.
  • Playing with Fire: The aforementioned serial arsonist.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Compare and contrast: "I think Katie's boyfriend is not who he says he is." and "I think Katie's boyfriend is not who he says he is because I CAN'T read his FRAKING mind!"
  • Precocious Crush: JJ develops one on Katie.

JJ: She's cool.
Daphne: And old enough that she would go to jail for doing what you're thinking.
JJ: Stop reading my mind!
Daphne: Like it takes a mind reader.

    • And also:

JJ's Mind: Super hot. Like a fourteen year old Katie. I wanted to kiss her so bad-
Daphne: Ugh, JJ, gross!
JJ: Would you stop!? My mind is a private area!

    • All of which also counts as Hypocritical Humor since Daphne's plots tend to rotate around her own romances.
  • "Previously On...": week in, week out, plus whatever was in the immediate episode preceding.
  • Product Placement: Marvel stuff -- understandable, if not completely justified, given Disney now owns Marvel Entertainment.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: How Watcher kills Dr. Chiles.
  • Psychoactive Powers: JJ's super-mind fails a chess game against a cute girl.
  • Put on a Bus: Josh is literally Put on a Bus after it's revealed he erased Daphne's and Katie's memories.
  • Reality Subtext: Autumn Reeser (Katie's actress) is pregnant in real life, and her pregnancy is being worked into Katie's character after Kaite got knocked up by Josh.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jim gives a truly epic one to his deadbeat brother Mike.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Katie asks questions related to these to Stephanie, such as how she can breathe, how her clothes stay on, etc.
    • Notably though these effects don't extend beyond themselves. When Stephanie first runs at superspeed, the touch of her jacket's belt buckle is enough to violently shatter a rear view mirror. Though she's not traveling faster than sound, Rule of Cool dictates that she hears no sound until it 'catches up' to her when she stops.
      • A force field ala The Flash's is mentioned as a possible explanation.
      • She's also a bit more durable than do you explain her surviving the superspeed trip-over-the-bicycle in episode two?
      • At the very least, she's also far less destructive to her environment than a human-sized mass traveling at around 600 MPH on the ground would be.
    • Jim seems to have slightly enhanced reflexes. He was able to catch bullets twice in the pilot out of instinct (possibly due to the fact that his muscles are suddenly much lighter?) and was able to fight-off the teleporter fairly easily.
    • On the other hand, he notably does not have "super-anchoring" powers: Every time he tries to stop a car, he gets run over. Which is pretty much what should happen as he's not necessarily any denser. Fortunately, he thinks with his head and when he really needs to stop a car, he lifts it off the ground.
      • In the next episode, he is sent flying the first time the shockwave girl attacked him after a few minutes of Jim struggling to stay in one spot. The second time, he was able to anchor himself a lot better. The show, notably, took efforts to show the difference. The first time, he was standing upright and casual while the second time, he's leaning forward as walking into a stiff wind.
      • Even as of the most recent episode, despite the train feat and the ability to stop a car, it's still shown that Jim will brace himself for things to stop them.
  • Rescue Romance: Or Rescue Crush, anyway: The dry-cleaner owner asks if "Mr. St. Cloud is single?".
  • Sadist Teacher: JJ's math teacher is convinced he's cheating (after he gets his super-intelligence) and at one point remarks "I'm not the stupid one here."
  • Secret Keeper: At least four so far exist outside the family.
    • Jim has revealed his secret to George and his brother.
    • Stephanie revealed her abilities to her lab assistant, Katie, who seems to be a bit of an ascended fangirl.
    • Both have appeared to have told the entire story to their marriage counselor, although it's possible he doesn't yet believe them.
    • Detective Cho sees him fleeing a crime scene; he reveals his powers and she threatens to bring him in on vigilante charges. She dies shortly after.
    • Inside the family, Daphne is a Secret Keeper for JJ, who wants to keep his acquired Super Intelligence from his family.
      • JJ comes out to his parents in episode 5, after he lets Katie in on it, and she squeals to Stephanie.
    • Daphne wants to tell her best friend, but backs out at the last minute, when she realizes it will change their relationship forever.
    • The Watcher is a secret keeper to at least Jim and Daphne, although the family doesn't know it. Chances are he knows that JJ and Stephanie have powers too, but not what they are.
    • Katie does double-duty secret keeping now that she knows about Watcher's powers and how he has them.
    • Now Doctor King knows about Stephanie and Jim having superpowers from seeing security footage, but like the situation with Watcher, they don't know that he knows.
  • Second Season Hook: The Powells have just been recruited by the government, Mrs. X and eighty more permanently-superpowered criminals are still out there, Katie just gave birth to a potential Tyke Bomb, and George may have superpowers as well.
  • Shapeshifting: the new Dragon, Rebecca Morrow
  • Shock Party: George has to fake being surprised for the surprise birthday party Stephanie has thrown him. The shock comes once the festivities are over and the ADA he's almost-dating gets shot as she's walking from his car.
  • Shooting Superman: Applied to Jim, along with a realistic application of what happens when bullets ricochet uncontrolled.
  • Shout-Out: Jim discovers his jumping ability while experimenting to see if he can fly, likely a reference to the original version of Superman who could only "leap tall buildings in a single bound" rather than fly.
    • The connection is enhanced when George, later discussing Jim's abilities, mentions that he can go over buildings with one leap. Jim prods him until he changes the word 'leap' to 'bound' (as in "able to leap tall buildings with a single bound!")
      • George also tells Jim he's supposed to be more powerful than a train. Jim automatically corrects, "locomotive".
    • Stephanie's lab tech has a Kitty Pryde (with Lockheed) figure, and natters on about the X-Men before Stephanie reveals her powers. (This doubles as a meta-shout out because ABC Family is owned by Disney who now own Marvel, so expect more Marvel references)
    • Another X-men reference: A guy who can teleport, in a cloud of smoke.
    • This may be reaching, but did anyone else notice the number on Daphne's basketball jersey?
    • Criminals dying of mysterious heart attacks you say? That rings somewhat familiar...
    • Brother Mike brings up George and Jim being heroes for hire.
      • Beyond simply the name drop, it also works well as Luke Cage shares similar powers to Jim. One can only wonder George will end up with powers of his own that are similar to Iron Fist.
      • He's got Hollywood Boxing skills now, which is kind of similar if you squint.
    • When JJ finds out Daphne implanted commands in her boyfriend, he exclaims, "you pushed him?" The same term is used for the same ability in the appropriately named movie, Push.
      • The term was also used in the Stephen King novel and movie Firestarter, and for the same ability. (The little girl can start fires, her father can "push" people, though his ability burns out very quickly.)
      • Don't forget The X-Files episode "Pusher".
    • The entire detention storyline in "No Ordinary Detention" is a massive shout-out to The Breakfast Club.
  • Smart People Play Chess: JJ and the girl at the aptly named "Genius Club."
  • So My Kids Can Watch: Michael Chiklis mentions this as a reason for being on the show during an interview on Good Morning America (9/28/2010).
  • Sound-Only Death: The killing of Detective Cho is only a heard cry for help followed by a gunshot.
  • Spiritual Successor: to Heroes.
  • Spot the Imposter: Victoria knocked Katie out and impersonated her, but Katie woke up and returned to Stephanie earlier than expected. Stephanie tried asking them geeky questions to tell the difference, but only figures it out when Katie tells her she used to be a virgin until the previous week.
  • Start of Darkness: Potentially Daphne after the events of "No Ordinary Double Standard", in which she discovers the Mind Control aspect of her telepathy. The first use is to save herself and Chris from a mugger, but later she uses it on her own father just to avoid being grounded for two weeks. She did not seem at all guilty afterward, either.
    • Though to be fair, Daphne was partially pissed and partially really anxious about her newly developed mind control which she was trying to confide to Jim about. Since Jim never let her say anything, she's reacted like anyone else would - get more pissed.
  • Stood Up: Katie, letting us know it happened once. It would've happened again due to JJ except The Dragon Did Do the Research and found out about her cyber date and took on that identity.
  • Super Family Team
  • Super Intelligence: JJ, which has thus far been noticeably applied to mathematics, history, and used to learn Hebrew off the internet in about a day. Later, he gets into medicine, jenga with a collapsed shelf, art history/appreciation, and all sorts of things. Considering that all of his plots involve social problems, he really should put some time into reading a psychology textbook (or acting).
    • It's worth noting that, unlike some people with Super Intelligence (that spontaneously gain all kinds of knowledge), JJ's is defined as learning faster, better knowledge retention, and higher-order logic functions. So, he might become a Gadgeteer Genius and build a hovercraft at some point, but he'll have to learn the physics and mechanics behind it first.
      • And even his retention of material is still bound by some limitation as Katie noted after testing his intelligence that he only retains material for about six hours. Whether this means he forgets or whether it just means he has to make an effort to actually learn rather than repeat what he just read was unclear. However, it seems to be more the former; if he doesn't bother to study a subject, he only knows it in passing much like someone simply scanning the headlines of a newspaper and thus not really remembering anything a few hours later.
    • He flirted briefly with joining the football team, because, as he puts it, "it's all math". Then he found out that it's not all math, because he's still a little guy in a sport with much bigger guys.

JJ (to Daphne at an art museum helping her on a date): Don't paraphrase me. You completely misrepresented my whole stand point.

    • Haha! At last he superlearned criminology!
  • Super Speed: Stephanie. Note that she does not have Super Reflexes, which is used to keep a lid on her Story-Breaker Power. In fact, when she's not using her power she has normal reflexes, allowing people to take her out before she can react.
  • Super Strength: Jim
  • Super Serum: Creating a stable one that doesn't require multiple injections is Global Tech's primary goal.
  • Super Smoke: The villain in "No Ordinary Double Standard."
  • Surprise Checkmate: happened twice in the "smart people's club" that JJ went to. I guess they let anyone in these days...
  • Telepathy: Daphne and The Watcher, though he also shows many other powers.
  • Take That: In the episode No Ordinary Romance, Stephanie discovers that the weekly villain Sophie, has been using her powers to control Jim.

Stephanie:You don't think she's a super, do you?
George: Well, it would explain why Jim's acting like Charlie Sheen.

  • They Would Cut You Up: Stephanie and Katie's concern about Global Tech drawing the Powell's blood. The Bad Future that Stephanie saw when she traveled forward in time makes this fear entirely justified.
    • Except... ...when it isn't as the season finale the government seems quite happy to recruit the Powells unharmed in order to fight crime. More likely, the reason the Bad Future was so bad was because Jim played demolition derby in public with no (as far as the public was concerned) provocation against a police officer, making him seem like a super-villain.
  • Time Stands Still: Whenever there is a POV shot of Stephanie superspeeding.
  • Title Drop: During the first season's final episode.
  • Too Good to Last: Lasted all but one season.
  • Triple Shifter: Deconstructed. With Jim spending more time hunting down criminals, his family life was suffering.
    • He's found some way to balance it all, like letting the police handle most of the minor stuff.
  • True Companions: The Powells don't count, since they're an actual family, but the villains have a darker version.

King: You won't leave. We're family.
Watcher: Families don't hurt each other.
King: Families hurt each other all the time. It's what they're best at.

    • Stephanie calls Katie part of her family.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Jim and Stephanie.
  • Unwitting Pawn: JJ is forced by his math teacher to take part in his academic decathlon team and solve a complex equation. This was actually given by Dr. King so that JJ would use his super-brain and solve that equation for him. King hopes the equation will allow the Trilsettum formula to permanently grant abilities.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface / Holographic Terminal: Stephanie has one at work, though it's more realistic than most versions as it's shown to be a specific pane of glass on her office and doesn't really do much more than act like a multi-point touch screen.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Grandpa Allan for both Jim and JJ. He finally comes around at the end, complimenting Jim and letting JJ have his precious precious car. Meanwhile, Stephanie's mother was like this as well.
  • Wham! Episode: It begins like any other episode. Then the Watcher corners Daphne and wipes her memory...
    • No Ordinary Double Standard Jim and Stephanie now have reason to believe Doctor King is a bad guy, Katie almost finds out about all the bad things Watcher has done with his powers until he wiped her memory, Daphne discovers how to use her telepathy for Mind Control and at the end of the episode uses it on her father, and Doctor King finds out that Jim and Stephane have superpowers, and judging by the preview for the next episode...
    • No Ordinary Proposal whams you several times: We see Chris's father walk only for him to become a bank robber and child abuser and Chris still sticks up for him. The Watcher looses his powers but his dirty little secrets are revealed and he is dumped by Katie and leaves town. JJ is blackmailed to join the academic team but his brain is used to perfect some formula Dr. King provided, which can't be good. At least we get a slight reprive when the stray bullet Jim deflected uncovers a tumor that saves the kids life.
    • The season one finale is a fantastic Wham! Episode. Let's see, we have Mr. Litchfield being murdered, Dr. King being fired by Mrs. X, Joshua coming back, Victoria revived, Katie has a miscarriage but then the baby revives itself, JJ is kidnapped, The family gets kidnapped trying to save him, turns out Dr. King isn't so bad. Then he shoots Jim. Jim tries to kill Dr. King, who turns out to be immortal, and has Jim and Stephanie's powers thanks to a fresh dose of trillsettum. Until JJ nails him with an antidote, and he loses his powers, withers, and then dies. Then we find out that eighty criminals plus George, now have powers. And the NSA stops by the Powell residence to ask for their assistance catching them. Damn.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Pacific Bay, though not specifically mentioned to be in California, has really strong evidence that it is. It's shown to be near/next to an ocean/very large body of water, the license plates look similar to California plates, and it's about 500 miles west of Arizona. The family has a mostly calm reaction to an earthquake as well.
  • Would Hit a Girl:

Jim (to Victoria): Even without my powers, I'm pretty sure I could still kick your ass.

  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: In "No Ordinary Visitors", when the home of one of Daphne's classmates is hit by home invaders, he sees one of their faces, but one of the guy's partners stops him from shooting the teen, for no other reason than "we're not killing a kid".
    • Watcher on the other hand has no such scruples. While he doesn't hurt Daphne in any physical sense, he messes with her pretty badly even before the mind wipe.
    • In No Ordinary Powell, Melissa Rainey, who killed Natalie's mother, also seems to have no problem with the idea of shooting JJ and Daphne. Fortunately, Jim stopped her before she could do anything.
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: This is why you don't use a urine specimen of unknown provenance to fake a urine test.

Katie: JJ, you're pregnant.