TV Geek Review: Powerless (Pilot)

It’s gotten quite good to be a comic book geek in recent years, having going from a real niche area of fandom, looked down upon, save for children’s entertainment.  Nowadays, I’d say more often then not in the movies and on prime time television, you’ll hit something comic book based, and usually they’re quite well done, these days.

There are of course the occasional misstep, see the majority of the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for example, or this show I’m talking about right now, NBC’s new sitcom, Powerless.

The best way to describe this show for a long time comic book reading fan is that this show is the DC equivalent to Marvel’s hilarious Damage Control miniseries’ over the years, which have been a workplace sitcom style comic book about the company that fixes all the damage caused by superhero battles in the Marvel Universe.  But not as funny.

For a non comic book reading person, this is essentially a workplace sitcom set in a comic book world, but once again, not as funny.

I was intrigued by the opening of the show, as Emily Locke (Vanessa Hudgens-High School Musical) makes her way to work on the subway, bright eyed and bushy tailed, super hopeful to change the world, making her way through Charm City, a new addition to the DC Universe made up for the show I believe, as superhero The Crimson Fox  (Atlin Mitchell) battles Jack O Lantern (Kimani Ray Smith).  It very much reminded me of a DC version of Damage Control, so I was onboard with this.  Especially since Marvel has been talking about doing a Damage Control show for a while but hasn’t done anything with it yet, so somebody might as well do a show with the concept.

I also was enjoying the opening theme sequence, with the characters inserted into classic comic book cover moments, the normal people in the background.      And then we get to another 20+ minutes of semi funny jokes, and cheesy performances from the cast, including geek genre cred talent like Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Rogue One),  sitcom talent like Danny Pudi (Community) and funny comedians with geek tendencies like Ron Funches.   (@midnight)

Like I mentioned earlier I enjoyed the setup of the show, and the basic concept.  What I really enjoy about it, being a longtime comic book geek is the deep cuts they throw in the episode, like a Starro appearance.


That guy.  A starfish alien conqueror, whom the JLA battled in their Silver Age debut in the 1960s.    I love how ‘Inside Baseball’ they get with these references, no need to hold back to try appealing to a mainstream crowd.  The mainstream crowd will hopefully like the character relationships and the dynamics, but the geeks in the crowd will get the references and character cameos.      I do just wish that it was funnier, and after knowing know that this comes from writers like Justin Halpern (Sh!t My Dad Says-the book)  and Ben Queen (A To Z)  I know that the capacity is there for a good sitcom, so hopefully what they have can find their creative stride and the audience is there at least enough to get them to a second season.   It doesn’t often happen but sometimes a bad show gets better as time goes on.  Look at Parks and Rec season 1 compared to what it became later on, there can be tweaks that can be done, to make a mediocre show better.  As it stands right now, it’s not that great, but there is some good to be found in it, I’ll keep watching, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.  We’ll see how it goes.

Final Grade- C





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