In the first episode of Powerless Emily begins her first day, and quickly learns that her expectations far exceed those of her new boss, Van Wayne, and her co-workers.
The concept of Powerless was something that had me excited when I first heard it announced. The concept of regular folks having to deal with the destruction of superhero battles sounded fun, plus it being a comedy had me intrigued. The cast of Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi, and Ron Funches had me really excited. And then I watched its debut episode.
The concept of the series has changed a bit since it was first announced. The new concept involves creating products for people to deal with the superhero world around them, which is fine, but writing that thinks that just dropping a superhero name is a passable script and acting that feels more at home on stage than the screen is a combination for a first episode that longs for the villain highlighted to snuff everyone out.
Lets start with the writing. You know this is a comic related show… because everyone name drops a character every segment there is. Superman, the Joker, whomever, it gets annoying to the point it feels like someone is attempting to remind you of it over and over. Unlike a comedy set in the world of DC Comics, this feels like DC Comics was first and the comedy is second. We even get a wink at the end that maybe they’ll get the meet someone comic fans will know! Seriously, there’s a wink.
The next issue is, it’s a comedy that’s just not funny. I laughed once during the half hour. The humor amounts to a villain warning the city to feel his balls… of fire. It’s top notch humor. Award winning stuff. Really breakthrough.
The acting is a massive issue. Hudgens is the lead and her style feels like it belongs on the stage. Everything is over the top for emoting and made for a view from the distance, not a small screen. Everyone else isn’t quite as over the top, but with her being the center it’s just not good. Everyone doesn’t feel natural but exaggerated. The choice is bizarre.
I don’t even want to get into the special fx…
After watching this first episode, I now know why NBC didn’t respond to my requests for a review copy to check out ahead of time. I thought I saw one of the worst comic tv adaptations in Marvel’s Powers, but Powerless tops it and then some in dreadful writing, special fx, and acting. This might be one of the worst television shows I’ve watched in years.
Overall Rating: 3.5