Let’s be fair, it is hard to judge any show by the first episode, especially one that has been through the wringer the way that ‘Powerless’ has over the past year. I have read that the final product barely resembles the footage that aired at Comic Con last summer, and that is not all that surprising considering the fact that the series changed showrunners, setting, and even swapped out an actor or two between then and now. With all of that in mind, I went into the pilot episode trying to keep an open mind, remembering that this was the first comedy from DC comics, and NBC was once the home of all-time greats like ‘Friends,’ ‘Cheers,’ and ‘Seinfeld.’ Well let me tell you right now, this isn’t ‘Seinfeld,’ and if you were thinking maybe it would have the kind of super-hero action that you would find on a CW/ DC show, this might not be right for you either.
However, the show is not without it’s potential. The science team definitely has a ‘Better off Ted’ vibe that if done well, could be very entertaining in episodes moving forward, and I always enjoy Danni Pudi in whatever he’s doing. Same goes for Alan Tudyk, who is arguably the best part of the pilot as Van Wayne, the narcissistic and arrogant cousin of Bruce Wayne, who wants nothing more than to shut down Wayne Security and move to Gotham City to work at corporate and enjoy being a Wayne. Tudyk had the best lines of the night, and repeatedly got laughs from me, but I also found myself laughing at other aspects of the show, which is definitely a good sign. If a show can go through that many changes and upsets on the way to the pilot, and still deliver something even mildly entertaining, you know there is something there.
The highlights of the show so far (aside from Tudyk), have to be the pretty epic opening title sequence, the above average effects work done for the fight scene between Crimson Fox and Jack-O-Lantern (which admittedly is not the best I’ve ever seen, but not bad for network television on what I am assuming is a relatively small budget), and the way they manage to squeeze in nods to other DC properties (aka the anti-Joker venom shot the company invented, or their rivalry with LexCorp) that make sense in the context of the show. Vanessa Hudgens’ Emily Locke character should also be mentioned for carrying the weight of the show on her shoulders, and even if she seemed a little too chipper and happy, at least she appeared competent and actually got the job done, which is something that often bothers me about sitcom characters. When a character is so dumb, or so useless, and things just happen to work out for them, the whole thing just seems way too easy, and from the pilot at least, it feels like Emily is going to have to work for her accomplishments, which in a way might just make her a new Leslie Knope-type character, which I would be alright with.
All in all, I would recommend giving the show a chance and remember to reserve final judgment till we are at least 3 or 4 episodes into this first season. The pilot had just enough going for it to deserve that opportunity from the audience it is aiming for, and the way I see it, if we (I am indeed including myself in that audience) were willing to sit through Seasons 2 – 4 of ‘Heroes’ on NBC (not to mention the god-awful revival), there must still be plenty of interest out there in the world of superheroes that we could give this show a chance and find something entertaining about it. Of course, this being NBC, even if it turns out to be amazing, it could still go away after a single season (***cough***Constantine***cough***), but I’m going to hope for the best.
Did you check out the premiere of ‘Powerless’ on Thursday night? Share your thoughts on the new series in the comments section below!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.