To honor Adam West, one of his final roles is being released for a limited time as a tribute to his DC legacy. DC All Access presents NBC‘s Powerless, “Win, Luthor, Draw,” for us to be entertained by an actor that means so much to many of us.
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The team gears up to leave for a company retreat when supervillain Dr. Psycho releases a toxic gas in Charm City; Emily does her best to make the most of a terrible situation.
Powerless doesn’t bounce back from last week’s episode as this one is a bit… blah, at best. The episode basically has the team stuck in a room with the threat of their dying if they head out of it and breathe Dr. Psycho’s toxic gas. The point of the episode is for the team to be stuck in a situation where they’re force to bond, it’s a tv plot we’ve seen so many times before, and this version doesn’t add anything to the formula.
Part of the episode’s issue, beyond it being a reused plot and adds nothing to it, is that there weren’t any jokes. The humor comes from props and no one really pulls it off. The biggest jokes involve either t-shirts the team is supposed to wear or the fact that Emily has to wear the pee bucket on her head in an attempt to free everyone.
When it comes to the interactions or what’s said, there’s not much there. Van makes a joke about wiping his own butt and there’s a joke about Ron using his cuteness to disarm folks. That’s it.
The series was looking good, but things have slipped these last two episodes where the concept is better than the actual final product. Where once I thought the series was finding its voice, it definitely is struggling now. The concept is there, the writing just isn’t
Overall Rating: 5.85
Emily has her first board meeting and must deliver on a big idea with the help of Green Fury; Teddy tries to find a way to get Green Fury’s attention; Jackie brings her daughter to work.
Powerless has misogyny on the mind with an episode that attempts to examine objectification of women through humor and falls so short in so many ways.
The episode kicks off with Green Fury being saved by Emily who uses that to then attempt to use her in a marketing campaign. That campaign then spirals our of control when the male dominated board gets involved and the intended add featuring Green Fury has her naked at one point. Then add in Teddy being obsessed with Green Fury and attempting to get her attention which only comes off as a stalker. Teddy is one of the main characters this show revolves around and this episode, along with the last, cast him in a negative way which taints the humor going forward. It also deflates the show a bit, you’ve just discovered one of the characters is an asshole (more than the snarky one he’s been shown as).
Where Powerless has succeeded most was when it was a workplace comedy that just so happened to have superhero elements thrown in. It’s when it’s focused on being a comedy. Here it feels like a concept episode first and then a comedy is attempted to be squeezed in. The comedy comes second and it attempts to achieve that comedy through Teddy presenting him in a negative way.
And what’s weird is, if the episode just focused on the board making negative decisions it’d have been all the stronger as these are characters we’ll likely never see and aren’t supposed to have an attachment to. There’s also the twist at the end of how the ad plays out that’s actually funny in a wink sort of way. You can see how easily a different direction in how it’s presented would make it all the stronger.
This episode is full of missteps and hurts itself going forward by doing so.
Overall Rating: 6.05
When Emily has to put up a fight to get her own office, she challenges Van to a competition. Meanwhile, after Teddy’s life is saved by Green Fury, he goes to great lengths to see her again.
Powerless is interesting with a bit of a shuffling of episodes and bringing this one to us a bit earlier than the episode release order that’s been released, but that’s not a big deal at all as the series gets back to its more humorous roots with the expected lessons learned from situations.
There’s two main stories, Emily wanting her own office and challenging Van to get it and Teddy becoming obsessed with Green Fury after falling off a ledge and being saved by her.
The Teddy story with Green Fury is a bit weird and what is supposed to be cute comes off as weird, especially when he’s an utter dick towards the woman he’s actually seeing at the end of the episode. He attempts to get Green Fury’s attention through various means and it feels like it’s a little stalkerish. It is nice to see tropes flipped and the man being saved by the female superhero, but Teddy’s follow up is a bit odd. And in fairness, I always though Lois falling for Superman after being saved was odd too.
The other part of the episode again revolves around Van and his being an utter dick to the staff. It’s a weird follow up to the previous week when he shows the same behavior over use of his bathroom. I think the use of Van of the series is some of its biggest missteps where it can’t decide if he’s supposed to be the bumbling comedic boss (like Michael Scott on The Office) or if he’s supposed to be mean and petty. These last two episodes lean too heavily on the latter making Van an almost unlikeable character sucking the humor from the episode and series. It’s weird to see and the writers feel like there’s just not a good handle on Van being the joke, the center of jokes, or just being mean.
The overall episode is better than the previous week but when half of the episode is borderline mean spirited it’s hard to get completely into the show. When Van’s character gets better settled, the show will see vast improvement.
Overall Rating: 6.35
When Emily learns that Jackie needs some extra cash, she tries to help her out; Van is on a witch hunt and sets his eyes on Teddy, Ron, and Wendy.
Powerless is a bit of a mixed bag with an episode that mainly feels like its role is to address Emily’s personality and how it generally clashes with the rest of the cast. Her pluckiness is in contrast with everyone who I’d generally describe as sarcastic and a bit dickish.
When it comes to Emily the story has to do with her and Jackie’s relationship and Emily’s habit of meddling. There’s some solid jokes about using people’s names as a way to describe an act or habit. It’s a topic that’s been discussed on other shows before but the patter shows the solid chemistry of the cast as a whole and the easy back and forth. The story itself at least addresses an issue I’ve had at times with the series and it feels like maybe the episodes are out of order since Emily dials it down a bit in various episodes. After this one, that makes some more sense.
The second half of the episode is Van accusing people of using his private bathroom. The punchline is obvious and not all that funny since it’s so predictable. As Van grills Teddy, Ron, and Wendy over the incident the episode forgets the laughs. In fact, it emphasizes a lot of the negative aspects of the characters making them snarky and again dickish. It had me cheering for one of them to be fired. Through the whole situation, the focus seem to be that the situation itself was the joke for folks to laugh at. It wasn’t. It just didn’t click.
We’ve seen better episodes from the series, so it’s a bit disappointing to see it take some steps back these last couple of episodes. They can’t all be winners, but when the show as a whole isn’t running on all cylinders one misstep seems amplified. And what the show seems to truly miss is that it’s a comedy first, a superhero show second. Get the laughs down and the rest will follow.
Overall Rating: 6.05
Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!
We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.
Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.
Top Pick: Batman/TMNT Adventures #5 (IDW Publishing) – This book has just been plain all out fun! I was skeptical of the quality it would be after the last Batman/ TMNT crossover, which was good but this story so far just ninjas the previous teams ass! It takes the very best aspect of Batman: The Animated Series and melds it together in the Turtles world. Each issue is better than the previous and even though they are leaning to The Mad Hatter being the big boss behind it all, when Tetch is written correctly he is quite the villainous force. I can’t wait to see how this joyride through my childhood icons ends.
Action Comics # 976 (DC Comics) – Well here it is, the battle for Superman’s future! Can Supes defeat Myx (not spelling his damn name) and get back his family or will he lose more than he gained in the process? All I know is if Jon becomes a casualty out of it, I’m going hunting with Kryptonite bullets. Nevertheless a good twist on a classic Superman character and I am enjoying the various runs on my hero since Rebirth. Can anyone say New New 52?
Reborn #5 (Image Comics) – I have really dug this team up of Millar and Capullo thus far. I don’t think it has tremendous long term value but the short term storyline has been fantastic. The art is some of Capullo’s best and Millar’s writing is less Millar-y than usual which keeps it at a nice tempo for me. Very interesting look into the theory of reincarnation and one that wants to make sure my pet gets all the love he can get before I meet him in the afterlife. A fun ride for sure, not ready to get out of the car yet.
Iron Fist #1 (Marvel Comics) – The timing for this couldn’t be better as I have just reached the middle of my binge watching of “Iron Fist” on Netflix and I love it. My Danny Rand – ometer is at it’s peak right now so more firery chi punching for me is a must. This book is welcome, hope it meets my kung fu needs.
Top Pick: The Unworthy Thor #5 (Marvel) – What did he do to make him unworthy?! It seems like this is the issue where we should finally learn what was whispered into Odinson’s ear.
Action Comics #976 (DC Comics) – The end of the fantastic Superman Reborn arc! I loved this entire run so far and this arc has been so crazy it works.
Doom Patrol #5 (DC’s Young Animal) – This is one of the most fun and wacky comics out. I am obsessed with Nick Derrington’s art and wished he was drawing everything lately.
Black Hammer #7 (Dark Horse) – It has returned! One of the best comics out in the medium and written by one of my favorite writers, Jeff Lemire.
Dept. H #12 (Dark Horse) – Matt and Sharlene Kindt have been so consistently good on this book every month. I love this cover and I am excited to return to the deep and find out whodunit.
Top Pick: X-O Manowar #1 (Valiant) – I have the review copy sat on my desktop just waiting to be opened up and read again, but before I did that, I realized that this was honestly one of the few comics this week I’m looking forward to reading (again) when I pick it up i print so I can see the art without the watermark on it. I can’t wait to see it.
Hulk #4 (Marvel) – I read the first issue of this entirely by accident and immediately found one of my favourite new series. The tension you feel as Jen struggles to not change into the Hulk is palpable, and so well written. I don’t even need a villain in the series, I could read about Jennifer Walters living her life all day long.
Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #20 (Marvel) – The war between the X-Men and the Inhumans has come to an end, and the X-Men need to figure out their next move. I am very excited for the upcoming ‘ResurreXion’ event and looking forward to seeing the new paths the X-Men take.
Top Pick: Hulk #4 (Marvel) – This has been a great book from the start, showing that even a superhero can be shaken to their core after traumatic events. Jen has definitely seen her share, from losing her cousin to almost dying by Thanos’ hand. This book is doing a fantastic job of showing her struggle to try and gain back her life while keeping her Hulk side at bay. If you aren’t reading this book, jump in now while it’s still early; you won’t be disappointed.
Invincible Iron Man #5 (Marvel) – I’ve been enjoying this book and getting to know Riri Williams. It’s a fun book, seeing her being mentored by AI Tony Stark, and seeing her show him a thing or two in the process. This issue should be fun as well, as various heroes are approaching her to join their teams but, of course, we’ll some villains tag along. This should be fun.
Unworthy Thor #5 (Marvel) – Will Odinson just pick up the damn hammer already?!?!
Top Pick: The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation (Arcade Publishing) – On December 9, 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report condemning the CIA for its secret brutal torture during the Bush administration. This graphic novel summarizes and makes that important document understandable for individuals. The illustrations add poignancy to the facts.
The Circle #4 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – A solid teenage horror tale that mixes fantastic art with a creepy story.
Heathen #2 (Vault Comics) – The first issue was great, the second issue is somehow better. This is a fantastic new series from a relatively new voice in comics and definitely a unique spin on things. Two words: lesbian. vikings.
Powerless #1 (Vault Comics) – Everyone has powers, but a new disease takes away those abilities. A cool concept from the upstart publisher.
Terms and Conditions (Drawn & Quarterly) – R. Sikoryak has taken the iTunes Terms and Conditions and created a word for word graphic adaptation.
Emily convinces Teddy to enter a revolutionary invention into the Wayne Innovation contest; Van has Ron assemble a toy in hopes of preoccupying his new girlfriend’s child.
Powerless gives us a perfectly acceptable episode that has a few chuckles as it plays things as a pretty standard comedy. While the last few episodes showed improvement, this one has plateaued in a way. That’s not bad, it’s just this episode hasn’t shown the growth like previous episodes. I can bet describe this as a mediocre episode of The Office. It’s not bad, it’s also not good either.
The set up of the episode is an invention contest for Wayne Enterprises which sets off a series of jokes about gloves that warm things up. It’s interesting in that it’s not a bad idea but the episode feels like the writers were focused on fitting in as many jokes revolving around the gloves as possible. They’re not a part of the comedy, they are the comedy. It works at times, but it’s a little tiring after a time.
The funnier aspects of the episode involve Van and Ron. Ron is tasked with putting things together to impress Van’s girlfriend’s kid. It paints Van in the shallow corner that he inhabits but jokes involving Wonder Woman’s invisible jet are actually inspired and original. One particular scene gave me the biggest chuckle of the episode.
Again, this wasn’t a bad episode, it just ends the growth we’ve seen the last few. Hopefully, the show continues to involve and improve down the road. There’s lots of potential and we see that here. It’s taken a while for the series to find its footing, now it just needs to up its game a bit.
Overall Rating: 6.95
When Emily sets her sights on the dating world she unknowingly falls for one of the Riddler’s henchmen; Teddy and Ron find a Batman artifact and discover Van’s superhero fantasy.
Powerless continues it’s slow climb in improvement as it adds a little personal dating experiences to the workplace comedy. While it’s still focused on the office, the various stories in this episode gets characters out of work for what feels like more than usual.
This series is absolutely the most improved of the comic batch. After a rough debut, each episode has improved on the last delivering cute chuckles though not quite the comedic slamdunk that we’ve seen in previous NBC Thursday night comedies.
This episode focuses on two stories, the first being Emily meeting a guy at a bar… and he turns out to be a henchman. The second involves Teddy and Ron finding a batarang and attempting to lure Batman in to meet him.
Each have their good and bad and the series as a whole is doing a much better job of working in the comic aspects of the world its set in, more so than just a name check here and there. The henchman? He works for the Riddler in a getup that has a bit of a throwback to Batman ’66 in its simple style. Robert Buckley guests as the henchmen and for those who watch The CW’s iZombie, you’ll recognize him as Major. Buckley brings a similar swagger to this role as he does that one. He has solid comedic timing in a dry sort of way and it’s fun to see yet another “comic” actor cross over into another property. It’s the details of this plot that really stand out like a ring’s imprint left on Buckley’s face that he chalks up to a rock.
The batarang plot is a bit mixed. The concept is good, but the execution doesn’t quite work. Van comes into it and his inclusion complicates what could easily have been a funny plot of the two trying to meet Batman and using the weapon to do so. Alan Tudyk‘s Van distracts a bit making what is two kids excited to meet their hero into something that’s a bit odder.
The show seems strongest when it keeps things simple with subtle hints and jokes. It’s not the outright name drop that makes the series work, it’s when a ring’s imprint is the ring of a superhero. The series seems to be recognizing that and going in that direction. Four episodes in, it’s getting its footing and showing some impressive improvement. I almost gave up after an episode, but happy I’ve stuck around and excited to see where the series is by the end of its first season. While it’s not quite breaking new ground, it’s getting its formula down and so far that’s working for it.
Overall Rating: 6.95
After the ream loses a client due to Van’s incompetence, Emily tries to clinch a deal with Atlantis; Van’s father gives him a chance to redeem himself; Teddy and Ron are convinced that new employee Alex is a superhero.
The third episode of Powerless continues to show improvement as the series finds its footing and this third episode brings the funny with a twisted humor mostly at display in the beginning.
I panned the first episode of Powerless. I hated it, really really hated it. That was to a point I almost didn’t watch the second episode. But, like the second episode this third one continues to improve and it’s clear the writers are getting a better sense of their characters and vision for the show.
The core entertainment of the show isn’t Vanessa Hudgens’ Emily Locke, it’s the trio of Danny Pudi, Christina Kirk, and Ron Funches as Teddy, Jackie, and Ron. The trio are nailing it when it comes to the comedy of the show and the writers are giving them solid material to work with. This episode displays a bite with running jokes about race and nationality and does so in a way that’s actually funny. Hudgens does show improvement too as her enthusiasm is dialed back making her character fit in a bit more with the rest of the ensemble.
The episode itself is goofy workplace comedy that mixes the company’s need to get a big client after losing Ace Chemicals (yes the company that created the Joker, with clown joke included), with the new employee who might be a superhero, and jokes about Atlantis. It all comes together and works in a non-groundbreaking but still entertaining way. The show is generally safe, though shows it might not always play it as such in the future.
The third episode improves on the second which was a massive improvement on the first. I’m hoping we see more of this as the show mixes a workplace comedy with nerd cred. While it looks like the writers are getting that down they’re also allowing its actors to begin to shine and doing that by delivering entertainment material to work with.
Overall Rating: 6.95
The second episode of Powerless sees a superhero power up in a good way. When Emily tries to get the members of her team excited about a new product idea, she can’t get them to break their obsession with a Fantasy Super Hero League; Van makes plans to be included in the Wayne dream-team photo.
I panned the first episode of Powerless. I hated it, really really hated it. That was to a point I almost didn’t watch the second episode. But, I’m glad I did as the second episode is a vast improvement, quickly being the most improved show I’ve watched of the season.
The superhero battles are minimized instead focusing on workplace situations we can relate to and actual jokes! The first few minutes of the show display the weird humor I was expecting and the first episode lacked.
Danny Puddi’s Teddy and Ron Funches’ Ron are allowed to connect with wonder twin superpowers and a sly twisted humor. A dialed down Vanessa Hudgens as Emily plays the straight man to their comedy chops.
After seeing the first episode, to me it feels like it was worked over and over creating a muddled mess. This second episode is much more straightforward in its humor, writing, and situation.
This is a workplace comedy now that just so happens to have superheroes, as opposed to a comedy that’s trying to show its superhero chops. There’s a difference and a big one.
With such an improvement I’m hoping we see more over the coming episodes. We see glimpses of a potentially really funny show with some awesome nerd cred. The key is whether those behind the scenes recognize that as well.
Overall Rating: 6.85