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First Impression: Who Wants to be a Superhero

O Loyal Reader, we are nothing if not subservient. We like to think of ourselves as the protectors of common decency. That is, when we aren’t going on and on about supermodels and licking super heroes.

Speaking of superheroes, tonight was the premiere of the SciFi Channel’s new reality show Who Wants to be a Superhero, created and hosted by comic book legend Stan Lee. In an effort to shield you from Galactica 1980-like atrocities, I’m taking one for the team and subjecting myself to its promise of suckage.

Here, then, are my impressions.

[0:00 – 0:03] The opening sequence shows a bunch of grown men and women running around in costumes. The winner of the season-long elimination contest gets to be the subject of their own comic and also featured in an original SciFi Channel movie. Mansquito 2, anyone? They’re previewing some upcoming scenes (convict rehabilitation, running past a junkyard dog, etc.). The contestants are then introduced: Major Victory, Cell Phone Girl, Levity, Creature, Feedback, Lemuria, Nitro G, Fat Momma, Iron Enforcer, Monkey Woman and Tyveculus.

[0:03 – 0:06] Stan Lee recaps the audition process. Suffice it to say that the cream of the crop includes Cell Phone Girl and Fat Momma. One contestant bared her breasts to an embarrassed Stan Lee, Go, go gadget Tivo rewind! Lee attends the show via an in-program TV monitor. This doesn’t bode well. If he won’t deign to appear “in-person”, why should we?

[0:06 – 0:15] The contestants are profiled. Levity is a gay superhero who, in real life, works in a toy store makes custom action figures. (Must…not…judge…) The female contestant Creature is a raw foodist who drives a waste-vegetable oil car. Major Victory, a former exotic dancer, is trying to be a role model for his daughter. Playing the family card early on, I see. The buff Iron Enforcer wields a menacing (as much as anything foil-covered can be) weapon strapped to his arm. Major Victory’s question as to whether it can caulk a bathroom is met with a menacing but foil-less glare. Monkey woman screeches like a monkey. Fat Momma is a 42-year-old woman whose power is apparently derived from the donuts and Twinkies that hang from her waistband. Nitro G is a huge comic book fan who works in a comic book store. Cell Phone Girl likes…talking on the phone. Feedback quit his job as a software engineer to be on this show because he couldn’t get the time off. The Roman-garbed Tyvecius, father of 3, is otherwise a fire captain. Lemuria is the contestant chosen by the readers. Did I mention her low-cut costume?

[0:15 – 0:24] The disembodied TV head of Stan Lee transports the superheroes to their headquarters; a deserted warehouse that offers another TV featuring the disembodied TV head of Stan Lee. Lee informs them there is a spy amongst them. My money’s on the geeky one. Oops, I’m wrong. It was the minor character named Rotiart. That’s Traitor spelled backwards. How emal. Rotiart has videotaped some of the contestants in weak moments like greed, flirting and violence. Not good news in an elimination contest.

[0:24 – 0:26] Lee immediately eliminates Levity for wanting to make millions off of the figurines he was going to sell based on his winning character. Buh-bye.

[0:26 – 0:30] The League of Costumed Contestants move on to their secret lair – a modern studio apartment that has colorful furniture and a TV featuring Stan Lee. They get personal communicators (obsolete in the age of cell phones, but the heroes are all giddy anyway.)

[0:30 – 0:47] The heroes’ first challenge: a race to see who can get into their costumes the fastest – in public. But wait! A crying, lost child is placed in their path. What to do? Feedback, Tyvecius, Monkey Woman, Iron Enforcer, Nitro G, and Creature run right past her. No whiny child in need will keep them from their red-herring goal.

[0:47 – 0:59] The elimination round atop the secret lair. Lee appears on a giant rooftop TV screen. Where the hell is he broadcasting from? He singles out Nitro G, Iron Enforcer and Monkey Woman as the worst offenders of superhero ethics. Each contestant must defend their actions. Nitro G apologizes. Monkey Woman is in tears. Iron Enforcer offers a poorly spoken apology. In his defense, I think he was too focused on flexing his pecs. Not that I noticed. The TV form of Stan Lee makes his decision: “Turn in your costume, ” he says to the loser This lacks some of the impact of Donald Trump’s “You’re Fiedfired!” but, hey.

[0:59 – 1:00] The TV version Stan Lee gives the remaining 9 contestants a stern warning about the challenges to come.

Common sense says I should not watch the rest of the series. But who doesn’t like a good car wreck? It is repulsive, yet I cannot look away. Unless someone knocks some sense into me, I think I may actually tune in next week, same time, same….oh, you know the rest.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

5 Comments on First Impression: Who Wants to be a Superhero

  1. I caught the very tail end of this show and the cheese factor was cranked up to 11. I am a superhero fanboy – I read em as a child and still find the concept of a superhero facinating. The problem is that these guys are not what I want to see. The elimination round was embarassing and none of these folks represent what I want to see in a comic book. I won’t be watching any more of this crapfest and will return to my reading and netflix list while I anxiously await BG to pick up again so I can see more Boomer… mmmm Boomer

  2. Thanks, Tim. After your level set – and a good night’s sleep – I can see the error of my ways. What the heck was I thinking? I guess morbid curiosity got the better of me… 🙂

  3. Oh, this was so bad. The only thing that was worse were the t-storms that came through and knocked out the satellite signal so I missed “Screw-On Head”.


  4. So, I will admit I caught the end of the second episode where Stan Lee eliminated another hero. The positive news is that pec-boy got the heave-ho since heros don’t shoot people, but super villians are more than welcome to launch shells at unsuspecting heroes. Now you are interested aren’t ya 🙂

    Or not…

  5. You mean it lasted to a second episode?

    Holy bat****, Batman!


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