Last week, we got our first real look at DC's upcoming comedy, Powerless, which is expected to air later this year on NBC. The first trailer offered us plenty of office gags and enough Easter eggs to fill our baskets and last us 'till next year. Powerless is a completely different type of superhero based programme- a lot more Office and a lot less Arrow. Of course with a show taking as different an approach as this, it's completely natural for us to be curious, if not skeptical. I, for one, think this sounds like a good idea and could be a move in the right direction for comic based shows. Powerless could be good, if not great if handled correctly.
The trailer's availability seems to be limited so here is a lower quality copy so you can get an idea about the show before we get into it.
The comic based shows that we are currently immersed in are high drama and lots of action; they are presented to us from the hero's perspective as these things normally are. And while that's very entertaining and a lot of fun for us to become disjointed from reality to a world full of meta-human beings, one thing that they often aren't is relatable; sure, there are some very human elements to these shows and it's characters- but we can't put ourselves fully in their shoes.
Powerless centers around an insurance company dealing with superhero level damages and offers us at a look at a superhero filled world from a normal person perspective, something we don't often see past tech savvy allies, journalists and cops. Powerless makes us think of what we might be doing in a world where Superman exists, while some of us might have wanted to have been affected by Harrison Wells's particle accelerator (using our powers for good, I hope!), some of us would no doubt be the ordinary folk dealing with the messes that superheroes often tend to create.
This means that although this is a 'superhero' show, it'll appeal to more than just comic book and action fans. This is a great move by DC to reach out to a wider audience and perhaps get more people interested in the DC universe. In contrast to the dark and at times all too serious tone of the DC cinematic universe, DC seems to be trying to appeal to as many people as possible with their television universe; Arrow is dark and brooding like Batman but is also very human and we have some what Sam and Dean Winchester call "chick flick moments", whilst The Flash is more light hearted but has it's dark and depressing moments. Supergirl looks to appeal more to the female demographic as well as maintaining the male audience and that is further aided by the launch of DC's Superhero Girls. As well as the procedural comedy drama with zombies, iZombie. Now DC looks to cater to the casual TV watchers and people that perhaps don't have time to become immersed in a serious, high stakes drama. And frankly, if you're like me and try your best to keep up with all of them, you'll know how much of a pain that can be.
Powerless also boasts a popular cast in High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens, and even though she still identifies with her character of Gabriella, Hudgens has proven herself elsewhere as a capable actress in a variety of genres such as Machete Kills, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island alongside Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and the theatrical Grease: Live. The actress holds a strong and loyal fan base that'll follow her wherever she goes.
Also included in the cast is television favourite Danny Pudi- best known as Abed on cult favourite, Community. Pudi looks as though he'll be playing pretty much the same lovable character, except less socially awkward. Alan Turdyk of the short lived sci-fi series Firefly. Although it only lasted one season, Firefly has maintained a hugely loyal fan base with Turdyk's character, Hoban "Wash" Washburne, being a favourite. Christina Kirk (Love Is Strange) also stars. Another familiar face appears in the form of Kate Micucci, known as Lucy from The Big Bang Theory and Stephanie Gooch in Scrubs.
So all in all, a recognizable cast made up of popular faces enough to generate an interest among television fans.
If there's one thing that comic book fans love, its Easter eggs. Little nods and references to unseen characters and stories. Comic fans love dissecting shows right down to it's bones, searching every nook and cranny to find that clue that can somehow connect Arrow to Batman V Superman. With Powerless, however, we seemingly won't have to do much diggin'. The references are so far all there right in your face. The difference here is that Powerless is taking place firmly in the DC universe- unlike with DC's other shows that tend to be a little weary about what they can and can't mention, Powerless lays it all out in front of you. Hawkman is on a Rolling Stones cover and Wonder Woman gets a name drop.
"Since the damage was caused by Wonder Woman, should we deny it as an act of God?"
Emily: "Technically, she's a demigod, so... Kind of a grey area."
People will eat it all up like they do with the constant references on The Big Bang Theory. This also brings into question if Powerless will be connected to other shows in the DCTV universe or if it'll be doing it's own thing.
All in all, Powerless can appeal to all types of people and will hopefully succeed in bringing more fans to the DC universe and the world of superheroes. The premise offers with endless possibilities in terms of it's humor and a familiar cast that we all love. Who knows, maybe DC will find a place in the comedy genre and offer us a much welcome change of pace in a new but familiar world with something that doesn't screw with our emotions and make us think too hard.
Powerless is expected to air on NBC for the U.S this fall