Outhouse tvphile Nightfly gives thumbs up to the freshman season finale of Stan Lee's Superhumans.
If this was the season finale of Stan Lee's Superhumans, the History Channel sure didn't mention it. With thirty-three (33) so-called 'superhumans' profiled, it seems reasonable to end it here, and since the next two Thursdays have repeats scheduled... If it was the finale, which I believe it was, it was a good one. Having spotlighted so many questionable subjects (bee keeper, beatboxer, etc), I'm glad they went out on a high note. This was one of the infrequent weeks that watching, much less reviewing, this show was a treat. Lending more credence to the 'Finale Theory', is the fact that the History Channel is now accepting applications for 'Superhumans' hoping to appear on season two. Even though some installments were painful to review, when the next season comes I'll review it (again). In this episode specifically, Daniel Browning Smith ('The World's Most Flexible Man') seemed quick to doubt - though the two subjects he most doubted proved worthy. It was the first Superhuman examined that the tv ads had made me skeptical of,...he also ended up being highly impressive.
The first profilee was remarkable Florida stunt pilot Greg Poe. I've been to numerous airshows and I've never confused the pilots for superhumans, but Poe (a.k.a. G-Force) is truly in a league apart. Sans pressure suit, Greg pilots his aircraft while effectively weighing 2,400 lbs., proving he's an athlete on par with any other. Battling blackouts and redouts, Poe really lives up to his name and this series'. Believe it or not, if I were to bestow a superhero name on this cool customer it'd automatically be "G-Force" too. On its face it may not seem overly impressive that a stunt pilot can withstand twice the gravity force of a normal person (6 Gs blacks out most people, Greg pilots through 12), but perhaps his superhumanness has to be seen to be believed. I'm a believer.
Daniel next trekked to Marrakech to meet Salim Haini, a man who claims he can eat anything, dubbed by Stan Jaws of Steel. That moniker really has no bearing here since jaw-strength has absolutely nothing to do with Salim's unusual skill. DBS was notably skeptical, almost aggressively so (in voice-over), yet the medical tests ultimately prove that the glass & wood 'n stuff he eats doesn't actually digest but passes straight to (and through) his superhumanly large colon. I'm not sure eating lightbulbs and nails deserves a cape, but it certainly was astonishing and authentic.
From Morocco to Chicago, Daniel's next subject was also highly doubted by him: Tom Cameron, Human Stun Gun. This segment was a true believe it or not scenario, with Mr. Flexible deciding not to believe in the end. The mystical power of ch'i (or ki in Japanese) is tested by the series again here, in a highly suspect presentation of Sensei Cameron's "touchless knockout" attack. His ethereal strikes effectively dispatched his students but had no impact on DBS. Debate ensues as to whether or not Tom is or is not registering on their electrical detection/measuring devices. One might think I'd be hard on this 'superhuman' but I don't blame him for the debacle. We've seen proven (with Ultimate Fighter) that ch'i force superpowered his blows, his 'one-inch' punch especially,... and in this segment the doctor rules out hypnotism [which I somewhat question]. 'The Man' chalks it up to the Power of Suggestion but I believe it was just a poorly produced experiment (by both parties). Shouldn't Sensei Cameron have tested his power on some regular folks, not just his paying/loyal students, before applying to the tv show? Shouldn't the show have questioned whether or not such was done? Daniel Browning Smith isn't exactly the most normal baseline example of humanity - why didn't Cameron test his touchless technique on some grips or crew standing by? This whole segment was exceedingly odd - I call it a wash. Testing ch'i is almost as elusive as testing the power of prayer; it's mystical territory and as such should be handled thoughtfully (this segment was not, though it was entertaining).
The last Superhuman highlighted was Ron White, Super Memory. A self-described "memory athlete" Ron is the U.S. Memory Champion and one of the few subjects this season that had me smiling throughout. Ron convincingly demonstrates his power in multiple tests (passing each by 100%), but in scientific testing it's proven he actually uses a higher percentage of his brain than the rest of us - 35% more. Using his right frontal cortex "like a computer", Super Memory cheerfully amazed Daniel Browning Smith, all testers, and me. A great subject to end the season on (if that ends up being the case). Ron's is a power I sincerely wish I possessed.
This series lives exactly on the edge of my loving it and/or (sorta) hating it. Some episodes I loathe, this was one I loved. Entries like this finale, and the hope for more of them, is why I've stuck with this program despite my frequent complaints. 'Superhumans' hoping to be showcased in season two need to apply now at the the History Channel's official website. Hopefully next season will feature at least one female superhuman in it. Or even better, how 'bout counterbalancing this season with an All-Female Superhumans next time!
Till Next Season.
Written or Contributed by: Nightfly