There clearly aren’t enough TV shows about comic book properties on the air. We definitely needed a new half-hour comedy that’s just nothing but site gags and in-jokes about DC Comics characters.
It’s just a shame the show had very little going for it in its premiere episode last night.
I’m not sure if, as a (casual) geek, I’m supposed to be happy about a new comic-based show takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to how people deal with a world filled with superheroes or if I should be insulted at how terrible it is. Unfortunately, the show inspired very few feelings either way. It was just kind of there.
Originally, the show was going to be set at an insurance company dealing with the consequences of super-battles. Somewhere along the line, someone thought, “hey, maybe we need more of a connection to DC Comics than the Crimson Fox and Jack O’Lantern, two characters only the most hardcore fans know,” and the setting of the show was changed. The show now takes place at Wayne Security – yes, as in Bruce Wayne – with a team trying to come up with new and innovative ways to keep regular people safe.
I can only assume something got lost in translation when they reworked the pilot, and the show will be a lot better going forward. Otherwise, I’d be shocked if the show lasted six episodes.And considering the low ratings reported for the premiere, that might be generous.
For a concept like this, you need a cast that is overwhelmingly likable, even as they prove to be less than stellar human beings. Steve Carell pulled it off in The Office. Alan Tudyk as Van Wayne – Bruce Wayne’s cousin – does not pull it off here. And the rest of the cast just comes off as obnoxious. Vanessa Hudgens is the perky new middle manager trying to prove herself to her new staff, which includes Danny Pudi (Abed from Community), Ron Funches and Jennie Pierson, all who show open contempt for the new supervisor, because they’ve had six bosses in the last year.
Tudyk’s Van gets the most character explanation, as he wants to work out of the corporate headquarters in Gotham City and not in the podunk Charm City. But he’s an idiot who Bruce seemingly wants nothing to do with. The only thing missing from Tudyk’s poor man’s Michael Scott is a Dwight. But I’m sure he’ll be introduced at some point.
The first episode revolves around the threat of the branch being closed – and Van happily being moved to Gotham – as Hudgens’ Emily tries to save the jobs of her team through innovation. She succeeds, with a tracking app that finds people through scent. And SURPRISE, Batman ends up using the same technique to catch The Joker to close the episode. Who could have possibly seen that twist coming?
One bit I really did enjoy was Hudgens’ character carrying around Bruce Wayne’s book, which was filled with catchphrases and tidbits – frequently read aloud mockingly by Van’s assistant – that are completely vapid and meaningless. Because Bruce would never have time to ACTUALLY write a book about business given his night job… It was small, but I needed something positive to focus on…
As of this writing, the show has yet to be cancelled, but don’t be surprised if that comes sooner rather than later. Until then, you can catch Powerless on NBC, Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. or on Hulu.