Archana Ram
September 28, 2010 AT 10:40 PM EDT

Shield fans, rejoice! Michael Chiklis is back on the small screen in ABC’s new series No Ordinary Family, which centers on a stereotypically busy American family who inherit superpowers after a freak accident. We talked to the show’s executive producer about choosing powers, nabbing Chiklis, and what we can expect for the premiere tonight (8 p.m.):

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tell us about the show?

GREG BERLANTI: It’s a real blending of a family show with a high concept show. Hopefully it has all the heart and warmth and intelligence and wit of a family show with all the bells and whistles of a high concept, action drama that a whole family can watch together. They can cheer together but also address issues they’ll want to talk about.

How did you decide on superhero powers?

We think of the powers as a metaphor — that idea of a family or a person feeling different or less special than those around them. They get the opportunity to repair the things they feel are lacking in their lives. You look at the powers as kind of fixing the family in a fun, big way, but also the show focuses on the repairs that need to happen within the family as well.

Having Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz is huge for Shield and Dexter fans!

Just getting Michael Chiklis in a role like this, it turns it from an idea into a television show. He’s as iconic himself as any character we could create. Julie came after that because they seemed like the perfect couple. They’re adorable. Those lead actors really set the tone a lot of times. You want to see these two people succeed as a couple and separately. That’s the nature of any great superhero. You want to see them win. They both have that in their DNA.

How did you choose the super powers?

We went through them systematically. There are very arcane superpowers obviously. There are also the four to five big ones we’ve seen represented through time and comic books. It just seemed like we wanted each one that would help us with who their character was emotionally. Dramatizing a really successful working mom, who feels like she’s failing in both areas, it just seemed like giving the character speed was the natural thing to do. A dad who feels like he hasn’t been as successful and hasn’t found his strength, so to speak, giving him strength seemed like a natural thing to do. The notion of a 16-year-old who only thinks about herself being forced to think about everybody else. A boy who’s always felt less-than in terms of intelligence suddenly becoming a super genius — it all seemed like a lot of fun, and they’d create fun complications. Part of what’s fun is watching how the characters experience these powers. How they try to learn them and make sense of them and how it complicates their interpersonal lives. The things that they initially thought might offer the solution to the shortcomings of their lives maybe creates more problems. It creates opportunities and a chance to be special but also problems on the home front.

Will you guys be watching? Take a look at the trailer and sound off below!

Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

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