Outhouse tvphile Nightfly reviews Stan Lee's Superhumans on The History Channel.
Four episodes into this series and I find myself at a crossroads, with questions. The first two entries weren't half bad, but the most recent two are more akin to Ripley's Believe It or Not, as Outhouser Kolimar noted (two weeks ago). And whether or not these folks are 'superhuman' or not, I wish Stan would just consolidate locations. Stan sent Daniel Brown Smith to India in the premiere episode, did he really send him there multiple times? If not,... why not just spotlight an Indian superteam instead of sprinkling them in amidst epis otherwise dominated by Americans?? Anyways...
'The World's Most Flexible Man' first profiled 63yr old abdominal strongman Tom Owen a.k.a. Speed Bump. After confounding the scientist's tests, the 'strongest stomach on the planet' lied down on some Alabama concrete and withstood the crushing weight of a truck driving over his belly. Tom is a geezer, and his stomach is certainly not as he boasts made "of steel", however, all that said I have a strong feeling punching him in the rectus abdominus muscle would result in a (potentially seriously) hurt hand. Essentially, he seems to have mastered the 'Iron Stomach' technique from Kung Fu without being a martial arts master.
Hopping the pond, Daniel next trekked to London to meet piano savant Derek Paravicini, dubbed by Stan, The Human Jukebox. I'm not sure I consider savants 'superhuman' but according to DBS there are fewer than 100 officially recognized savants in all of recorded history -- now, that I did not know! Blind and Autistic from birth, Derek's power is a musically eidetic memory which he translates via piano, allowing him to replay any song / note pattern he's ever heard (even if only once) with near-perfect fidelity. Being a consummate musican, he also can vary the replayed tune(s) by altering the musical style he performs 'em in. Paravicini's power of musical recall truly is 'superhuman'.
While contemplating suicide, Jyothi Raj decided not to jump from a high Indian wall but rather to follow the nearby makak's example and climb the wall higher (barehanded) instead. Some call him 'India's Spider-Man', but DBS & Stan call him, Ultimate Climber. Raj's superstrong fingers and unconventional (monkey inspired) climbing style make him an amazingly fast and efficient [vertical] freehand climber, and one of the most entertaining 'superhumans' profiled on the series thus far.
The Man Who Feels No Pain a.k.a. Tim Cridland, closed the show by grossing out this reviewer as well as on-the-street New Yorkers and the scientist that tested him by piercing his arms and face with 10" steel skewers. With an uncanny ability to control his neurology, Tim 'The Pain Proof Man' simply switches off his pain receptors allowing him to ignore agonizing levels of pain that would easily knock non-superhumans unconscious. Mysteriously, Cridland not only controls pain, he also seems to control his blood loss. Some might be tempted to label him a Geek, but I doubt many would reject his abilities if offered them.
This episode surely isn't the strongest of the series so far, and thinking of this crew as a superteam is disappointing. I think it makes more sense to imagine Stan forming a League, rather than many individual superteams. From this League, Stan can assemble 'n dispatch custom squads for highly specific missions. Yeah, that makes more sense. This installment could've been better, it could've been worse... it ended on a freakishly gruesome profile so I'll give it points for that.
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About the Author - Nightfly
A proud member of NBCUniversal's and A+E Television Networks’ Digital Media Teams, Nightfly routinely interviews producers, creators and stars of various network programs and films with a concentrated emphasis on the Syfy channel. Formally educated in Communications, Computer Science and Music, his résumé reflects more than a decade broadcasting in the fields of television and radio. With pieces routinely published at ScreenFad and Press Pass L.A., his primary areas of interest include TV, film, music, web series, comic books, fashion, pen 'n paper RPG gaming as well as various other pop-culture topics. An avid Twitter user, Nightfly supports the arts, the entertainment community, numerous charities and crowdfunding projects through his journalistic netizenship and non-partisan, multicultural-centric activism.
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