In 2017, there’s a new class of superhero shows coming to the small screen. The first up, “Powerless” made its debut this past week on NBC.
This quirky, office comedy–yes, you read that right, it’s a comedy–takes place in the lesser-known DC Comics’ town of Charm City.
The show stars Vanessa Hudgens as the not yet jaded Emily Locke who has just started her dream job at Wayne Security. A subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises, Wayne Security is run by Van Wayne (Alan Tudyk), Bruce’s less impressive cousin.
As the show’s title suggests “Powerless” is about a ragtag group of non-supers who work to create tools to protect normal people from the dangers of living in a world filled with superheroes and villains.
Sounds amazing, right? And in many ways it is.
There are a few nerdy treats in there for fans of the classic Batman television series and comics. If the voiceover explaining Wayne Security sounds familiar, that’s because it’s that of the original Batman/Bruce Wayne — Adam West. And the opening credits embrace the color and style of the comics.
The concept itself is funny, but concept alone does not a successful sitcom make. This brightly colored spinoff of the well-known comic is just crazy enough to work, but it’s not quite there yet.
The pilot episode spent just a little too much time on establishing that life in Charm City is in fact the opposite of charming. Which is funny at first, but the jaded responses of the city’s residence to a derailed commuter train or a crazed pumpkin man wreaking havoc start to feel like a crutch.
The show sounds great on paper, but it feels like it should be funnier. After just the pilot episode, there’s definitely still hope that it will get there.
All you have to do is look at the cast to know that this show has some serious potential. As the wide-eyed dreamer ready to make her mark, Hudgens is perfect. Alan Tudyk as the Wayne family outcast with a huge chip on his shoulder is pure genius. Backed up by a cast that includes Danny Pudi from “Community” and Ron Funches from the failed, but funny NBC sitcom “Undateable.”
Assuming the show can find its groove, “Powerless” could be a great addition to the NBC comedy lineup that’s been feeling a bit lost since the departure of “The Office” and “Parks and Rec.”
With more than a few Marvel shows in the Netflix pipeline and the X-Men spinoff “Legion” premiering tonight on FX, it will be interesting to see if “Powerless” can find an audience in the increasingly crowded world of superhero shows.
…just for fun: