Powerless is a workplace comedy sitcom set in the DC universe. It’s set around the work life of powerless everywoman Emily Locke as she delves in to the hectic and insane work environment of Wayne Security. As the show is mostly about normal people, the DCU is more of a backdrop rather than serving any kind of integrated purpose, as a result it’s choc full of name drops and not much else, it’s not the type of show that really worries about over-arching story, or story in general really. It boils down to wacky things happening to wacky characters in a wacky universe, you could say it’s all Flash and no substance.
The many, many… many namedrops start to get tedious quite quickly, it’s clear the majority are clearly just there for fan service as the largest DC hero to make an appearance so far is “Fire” (going by Green Fury) and I’m pretty sure Batman is mentioned more in Powerless than he is in Dark Knight, mostly because the boss of Wayne Security played by Alan Tudyk, is Van Wayne, cousin of THE Bruce Wayne. Van, as well as being generally incompetent is obsessed with Bruce and with moving to Gotham.
(I call this one, I love you Bruce)
I expected Alan Tudyk to be the main draw of the show but honestly, in Powerless he’s just alright, nothing to complain about, nothing to compliment, it’s a little sad that he’s still one of the best characters just because he’s one of the least irritating. Vanessa Hudgens as Emily Locke is actually pretty good, her character’s constant pep gets on my nerves, but that may just be me viewing her through cynical coloured glasses. Every other character is the same infuriating blend of snark, overconfidence and obnoxious “randomness”, each pumping out attempts at back-handed one-liners. Jennie Pierson’s character “Wendy” being particularly over the top and irritating from the start.
(God damn it Wendy you Bitch!)
The most annoying thing is how much potential it has, and how much the premise had, but apparently lost between the original pilot, shown at E3 and the show we were given. According to sources across the internet the pilot at E3 was practically a different show and a much better one. As it turns out, the majority of the issues I have with the show weren’t in the original pilot, the constant Batman references, every character being the same 2 dimensional blend of horrible characteristics, and of course, Wendy. All were added after E3, but since we common folk will probably never get to see the E3 version we’ll have to deal with what we got. On the bright side it’s a fantastic source of gifs.
Powerless (Honestly, “Pointless” would have been a more appropriate title) has very few redeeming features but it still somehow manages to grow on you, well I’m not sure if it actually gets better as it goes or if I just developed some kind of Reviewer Stockholm Syndrome but I’d say some people could enjoy Powerless quite a lot and at the very least it could become a bit of a guilty pleasure to a good few more. It has a bit more room for growth as the series isn’t over yet and I’m hopeful that it will continue to grow on me. Hopefully the recent introduction of Natalie Morales could do a bit to redeem the show and make it more than just a poor man’s Better Off Ted.
All in all Powerless is a show that is constantly on the verge of finding it’s feet but never quite gets there, leaving us with hit or miss episodes and overall a perfectly average show. Chances are it won’t make the cut for a season 2 but hey, crazier things have happened. Especially if they take their own advice…