Superhero shows can be expensive to keep going, what with the cost of showing super-powers and fantasy battles, but superhero comedies are easier to do, as powers are rarely if ever used and most of the action is verbal instead of physical. This is certainly the case with No Heroics, an acerbic and amusing British comedy about a world where super heroes (or "capes") are real and have to deal with mundane issues.
No Heroics revolves around four lesser superheroes, who usually hang out in a bar called the Fortress (whose rules are "No capes, no powers, no heroics.") The Hotness/Alex (Nicholas Burns) has heat powers and wants to be a famous superhero, but he winds up either unknown or a laughingstock; he's also mocked by Excelsior/Devlin (Patrick Baladi), an arrogant, sexist jerk who gets all the fame, fortune, and women that elude the Hotness. Electroclash/Sarah (Claire Keelan) can control machines with her voice, but she'd rather steal money from ATMs than help people; she also used to date the Hotness, though the two have trouble not insulting each other. Timebomb/Don (James Lance) can see 60 seconds into the future and is an expert on torture, but he's an alcoholic and drug addict who has sex with strange men in public toilets. She-Force/Jenny (Rebekah Staton) is "the third strongest female in the world" but is quite desperate for romance. Oh, and the bounces at the Fortress is Thundermonkey/Simon (Jim Howick), who can summon and control monkeys -- but he has to wait for them to get to where he is, which usually takes 45 minutes.
There are a couple of comic book references here and there through the series -- drinks like "V for Vodka," the Paradise Island strip club where the women all wear Wonder Woman costumes -- but No Heroics revolves mainly around the four dysfunctional friends. And the show manages to be damn funny with them, dealing with everything from cape-rape to pathetic fans (when one lonely guy tells Electroclash "You were seminal," she replies, "You smell seminal") to trading cards to superhero therapy (shown below). There's even some pretty hilarious dark humor in the final episode, "Monkey Gone to Heaven."
No Heroics only has six episodes and wasn't released in the U.S. on dvd (though all the episodes are currently on YouTube) but it's definitely worth watching for any comic book fan with a slightly dark sense of humor.
Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch