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TV Review: Powers S1E9 Level 13

Powers March 10In the penultimate episode written by the Powers comic co-creator Brian Michael Bendis, Walker (Sharlto Copley) decides how far he is willing to go to regain his powers as Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor) sets the plan in motion to kill Wolfe (Eddie Izzard). Meanwhile the Powers Division sets a plan to catch Royalle in the act and discover where Walker’s true allegiance lies.

The series has gotten better the last couple of episodes, but has flattened out in quality in this episode which still includes horrible acting, and so many twists and turns as far as which side people were on that it became a mockery of itself by the end.

The episode continues to dance around good material, that’d make an excellent television show. Walker and Royalle keep debating and talking about their sins of the past, and wanting to make up for it as well as what it means to be a hero. That theme alone could have been drawn out the entire season and been the real focus. Instead, its lines every couple of episodes. There’s also Walker being torn as to whether or not he wants his powers back, and where his loyalty actually is. That is a focus of this episode, but that’s only shallow deep, as when we get to a juicy part, the episode and characters veer as if everything was not big deal. It also might be the fact no one can act like something is a big deal.

Powers Cast PhotoThere’s only one more episode left in the series, and there’s still lots to explore and wrap up, including Wolfe and the potential of an anti-powers movement. Either of those could be done over a bunch of episodes on their own, and both are prime for good material to come out of them. But, I’m expecting much of the same as the series wraps up.

To say this experiment by Sony and the Playstation was a failure in my eyes is an understatement. It fails on almost every single episode, never creating a voice of its own, unless B-Movie quality is its voice. With so many other choices out there, there’s many other shows featuring powers I’d choose before this series. It’s a shame because this one has so much potential as far as what can be done, it just isn’t quite using its powers right.

Overall Score: 6.85

 

 

 

 

TV Review: Powers S1E8 Aha Shake Heartbreak

Powers March 10Royalle (Noah Taylor) reveals to Walker (Sharlto Copley) the true nature of Sway and the inevitable devastation it will cause if Wolfe (Eddie Izzard) is ever to escape, in order to persuade him to join his new cause to annihilate Wolfe. Meanwhile as the message of Kaotic Chic spreads rapidly with fatal results it finds its biggest platform yet in a publicity stunt orchestrated for Retro Girl’s charitable foundation.

The series is actually getting better as it gets closer to the season finale, but as much better as the series is, it falls into the usual issues with horrible FX that either looks cheesy or goes over the top.

The episode, and series seems to be best when it focuses away from the powers themselves and just looks at the characters and what it’s like to live their lives. Its gotten much better as well amping up the Kaotic Chic storyline and moving away from Wolfe.

Powers Cast PhotoThe episode ends though in a way that sullies much of the quality of the previous 50 minutes. The publicity stunt above involves a villain named Red Hawk attacking Zora. Red Hawk’s flying looks so bad, it might as well have been a high school production of Peter Pan. Zora’s powers look a bit better this episode showing where the budget went. Then things go wrong, and it feels like someone on the show has a fetish for buckets of blood, because we see blood flowing in an over the top way again. Did the person responsible work on horror movies before? Because it reminds me more of that than anything else. It’s just bad. The storyline of Calista also drags on as she continues to click her heels hoping to have powers. A bit more of her past is revealed, but at this point the character and her arc is just grating.

The show is getting better. Its focus on a younger Christian and Johnny and how their lives intertwined with Wolfe is actually good. If the series focused on that more, and used the fx sparingly, it’d have been much stronger. It could have taken a queue from The Walking Dead, using its draw only every so often, making it a bit more special. But the series is now pivoting more towards Christian and Johnny making up for their pasts, and that has lots of potential. Sadly its come with only a couple more episodes to go. If there’s a season two (which I’d doubt), I’d hope there’d be lessons learned and a new focus and direction.

With so many other choices out there, there’s many other shows featuring powers I’d choose before this series. It’s a shame because this one has so much potential as far as what can be done, it just isn’t quite using its powers right.

Overall Score: 6.95

 

 

 

 

TV Review: Powers S1E7 You Are Not It

Powers March 10After Wolfe’s (Eddie Izzard) plea to end his life, Walker (Sharlto Copley) and Pilgrim (Susan Heyward) must act quickly to stop Johnny Royalle’s (Noah Taylor) petition to meet with Wolfe in The Shaft. Meanwhile Zora (Logan Browning) struggles with her new-found fame, while Calista (Olesya Rulin) becomes more desperate to discover if she truly is a Power.

Seven episodes in, and the series is slowly getting better. With the Drainer in place, the Powers police division is clamping down on Powers and putting them in jail where they’re getting their powers sucked from them. Which leads to an interesting question, do clones from a power count as a person? There’s some interesting moments like that peppered throughout the episode, but many of these we’ve seen before tackled in X-Men comic books. Hell, I think Jamie Maddrox/Multiple Man has had this very same issue.

The series is really now split into a couple of storylines. There’s the drug Sway, which Johnny Royalle is attempting to put the genie back in the bottle. There’s Walker’s debate if he really wants his powers pack. Then there’s the Calista and her continued belief she’s a power. That go old about the third episode. Finally there’s this anti-powers movement beginning that actually has an interesting thing revolving around it.

Powers Cast PhotoAll of this could be interesting, if so many issues didn’t remain in the series. The acting is beyond hit or miss. I really think this is about the point the actors decided to just cash in their check and either not care about their performance or go balls to the wall and be over the top (*cough* Izzard *cough*). The acting still just is so poor, you can feel everyone not caring through the screen while watching.

The show also has issue with special FX. Since there’s less powers being shown off it isn’t present as much, but anytime someone uses their special abilities it feels like something someone did on their home computer. That also goes for the costumes which vary from quality to something I’d expect a four-year old to put together while raiding my closet. There should absolutely be an inconsistency in costumes between the big league pros and the wannabes out there, but the wannabe costumes feel like horrible Halloween costumes. That and the FX create a cheapness about the series.

With so many other choices out there, there’s many other shows featuring powers I’d choose before this series. It’s a shame because this one has so much potential as far as what can be done, it just isn’t quite using its powers right.

Overall Score: 6.9

 

 

 

 

TV Review: Powers S1E6 The Raconteur of the Funderal Circuit

Powers March 10In the wake of the battle to stop Wolfe (Eddie Izzard), the Powers division gathers to mourn the loss of their fellow officers, while Walker (Sharlto Copley) seeks answers about his own future and the possibility of becoming Diamond once again. After seeing the uncertain and dangerous side effects of Sway first-hand Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor) begins unsavory experiments on known subjects of the drug.

Six episodes in and the series is actually getting better. The last episode was an improvement, and this one is an improvement on that. Partially because the episode gets away from the bad fx, and instead focuses on the police themselves and the aftermath of losing their fellow officers.

The episode mostly takes place in the police station where the fallout from all the deaths is felt and the officers must deal in their own way. It’s a good setting to really show off the various personalities and delve a bit more into the backgrounds of everyone, something that’s mostly been hinted at.

Powers Cast PhotoParticularly good is Walker and his partner Pilgrim’s interactions. There’s some fantastic moments of the two. There’s also good acting at times! I think the good in this episode just shows off how much the first five episodes stumbled in their execution. By doing less, the series actually does so much more and better as far as quality.

The show absolutely has a long way to go before I think it’d come close to deserving a second season and I’d consider it to not by an abysmal failure. But, it’s surprisingly showing improvement. Unfortunately, to understand what’s going on, you need to sit through a lot of bad.

With so many other choices out there, there’s many other shows featuring powers I’d choose before this series.

Overall Score: 6.85

 

 

 

 

TV Review: Powers S1E5 Paint It Black

Powers March 10As Retro Girl (Michelle Forbes), Zora (Logan Browning), and the heroes of the world rush to stop the escape of Wolfe (Eddie Izzard) from The Shaft, Walker (Sharlto Copley) realizes he must face him alone, the inevitable clash between mentor and disciple that will unravel the deep-seated history between them.

Can the series actually be improving? The episode is the strongest of the bunch, but that’s really not saying a whole lot. The episode is riddled with issues that border on ridiculous.

The episode still has horrible fx, and the acting is about as good as the average high school musical production. But, we get some more back story, so there’s that.

Powers Cast PhotoWhile Izzard’s Wolfe is on the rampage, Copley’s Walker engages him and battles him in an attempt to stop the killing. Keep in mind, Walker no longer has his powers, but he somehow gets them back, that’s not completely explained other than the fact he popped the drug Sway.

What we do get is a lot of back story and the history of Walker, Wolfe and Royalle. We see them much younger and the budget clearly is gone because the younger Walker and Royalle look nothing like each other, though for some reasons Retro Girl is still played by Michelle Forbes. It’s interesting and would actually be good if it was handled better.

The production values continue to hamper the series with fx that fall beyond the line of camp. The series is full of potential, but something somewhere hasn’t been handled correctly.

With so many other choices out there, there’s many other shows featuring powers I’d choose before this series.

Overall Score: 6.75

 

 

 

TV Review: Powers S1E4 Devil in a Garbage Bag

Powers March 10Walker (Sharlto Copley), Pilgrim (Susan Heyward), and the rest of the Powers Division must prevent Wolfe (Eddie Izzard) from escaping the high security prison that holds him, The Shaft. As Wolfe goes on a murderous rampage from within these walls, the Powers team are forced to try a new top-secret technology to keep him detained—Code name: The Drainer.

Out of the first four episodes, I think this one encapsulates the issues I have most with the series. At times it wants to be a more serious and grounded “comic” television show like Gotham, The Flash, or Arrow, at other times it looks like a bad fan-film, and at other times it’s over the top with the camp. The lack of consistent tone seems to show off an inconsistent vision for the series….. and this might be the best episode of the series so far.

Powers Cast PhotoAll of the acting issues are there, by Copley and Heyward are very passable in their respective roles and are absolutely the best of the bunch. Copley especially shows off a cop who is torn about who he was, and who he is, and when the series focuses just on these two it’s not bad. It’s when everything else is thrown in that things go very off the rails.

Take Eddie Izzard’s Wolfe who is an interesting character. A complete psychopath and killer, he quickly heals and is difficult to take down. The more he kills, the stronger he gets. That’s interesting. Then there’s the killing itself which has so much blood thrown in there that it’s over the top comical in how bad it is. It seriously reminds me of a D-grade horror film where the solution to scares is more blood. Maybe that’s why the other fx and costumes are so bad, the budget all went towards the blood in this episode.

But hey, at least we know what Johnny Royalle’s been up to. So there’s that.

With so many other choices out there, there’s many other shows featuring powers I’d choose before this series.

Overall Score: 6.75

 

 

 

TV Review: Powers S1E3 Mickey Rooney Cries No More

Powers March 10As a lethal powers-enhancing drug is unleashed on the public, Detectives Walker (Sharlto Copley) and Pilgrim (Susan Heyward) seek out the criminal mastermind behind it with the help of iconic Power, Retro Girl (Michelle Forbes). As clues come to light, Walker considers the possibility that Wolfe (Eddie Izzard), his dangerous former mentor turned nemesis, might have the answers he seeks.

Its been a while since I reviewed an episode of Powers, though six have been released. Partially this is due to my frustration with the Playstation store and how they provide video (a rant for another time, Netflix it is not), the other issue…. the series is so so so so so so bad. Like 1990s Generation X television movie bad.

In my previous review I harped on some of the reasons I felt this series was an abysmal failure. But, I think it comes down to two things that are on full display here. Horrible acting, and a production value only slightly better than a fan film.

Everyone, seems to either not care, or have so little direction, they have no idea what to do when it comes to their characters or the world they inhabit. There’s also the option that some were told to go over the top , and embody their character giving them small quirks that at this point is irritating. Case in point, Noah Taylor‘s Johnny Royalle who growls his way through his lines never quite making his character scary or feel like a tough villain, only a cheesy 80s/90s bad guy in a cop movie. Michelle Forbe‘s Retro Girl feels like a stiff board with every  word uttered. Olesya Rulin‘s Calista Secor seems like a lost Olsen twin and the acting range of their Full House days. The acting is atrocious, making watching the show comically entertaining and not in a good way.

Powers Cast PhotoI’m familiar with past work of Sharlto Copley as well as Eddie Izzard (though we haven’t seen much of him yet). I know those two can act. Which also makes me think it has to do with substandard writing. Copley helped take a low-budget science fiction film (District 9) and made his character believable. He’s been solid in everything I’ve seen him in, no matter how poor the actual film was. So, there has to be more than just the acting. I shall keep watching to see if I can pinpoint it.

The costumes, locations, and special fx continue to be sub-par from not just the big screen, but the other superhero shows on the small screen. Any one currently on television, and I’d throw Grimm in there too, all have production value that outshines any moment in Powers. Any money spent isn’t transparent on the screen.

With so many other choices out there, there’s many other shows featuring powers I’d choose before this series.

Overall Score: 6

 

 

 

TV Review: Powers S1E2 Like a Power

Powers March 10Conflicted with the loss of his former life as a Power, power-less Detective Walker (Sharlto Copley) must overcome his personal demons and find Calista (Olyesa Rulin) who has gone missing. Now with the reappearance of old friend turned foe, Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor), Walker is left with more questions than answers.

I went into the second episode of this new series hoping for the best, but expecting much of the same as the first episode, which left me underwhelmed.

I spent much of the episode trying to pinpoint exactly what my issue is not just with this episode, but the previous one as well. I think it really sits with the most glaring change between Powers the comic to Powers the television series. The comic takes place in Chicago, and is often colored dark, taking place at night for example. By shifting the location to Hollywood, the series is bathed in brightness that shows off the cheapness and cheesiness that is the special fx of the series.

Powers Cast PhotoThat cheesiness overflows into the acting, the characters, and story, almost as if it’s being embraced by those who put together the series. The episode starts to unveil more of Walker’s history and “torture,” something I praised in the first episode, but by the second is quickly becoming tiresome. Enter Johnny Royalle and the scene chewing performance that is Noah Taylor. There’s a long history between Royalle and Walker, and numerous mentions of how everyone thought Royalle was dead. But with his return, I the reactions don’t quite seem to match the revelation, another example of the rather odd disconnect of the television show. As if it’s just slightly off and not clicking.

With so many other choices out there, there’s many other shows featuring powers I’d choose before this series.

Overall Score: 6.75

 

 

 

TV Review: Powers S1E1 Pilot

Powers March 10When a famous superhero turns up dead, it’s up to Detective Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley), a former Power himself, and his new partner, Detective Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward), to track down the one witness to what happened that night – a young girl by the name of Calista (Oleysa Rulin).

I’ve only read a few issues of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming‘s comic book series Powers. The series published by the Marvel imprint Icon is an interesting one of detectives having to police in a world where superheroes exist. The concept isn’t unique or new, but it is interesting, especially when one of those detectives is a former superhero himself. It’s a nice twist to make the series stand out a bit.

The first season of the digital television series seems to give a spin to the comic series’ first volume, the investigation into the murder of a superhero. Having gone into that first episode a pretty blank slate, I thought I’d have little when it comes to pre-judgement of the source material. Instead, I found an interesting twist where instead I was comparing it to other television series, and even at times video games.

Powers Cast PhotoPowers is an interesting series, where I almost feel like the platform its delivered on (a Playstation exclusive) might actually hamper the quality of the series. Powers is a big deal, in that it not only is the latest comic adaptation for television, but it’s also the Playstation’s jewel (at this point) for their original digital content available on their Playstation Network. The series is available for free through Playstation Plus (the first episode can be watched for free though), and clearly its though the series might entice individuals to join, like House of Cards or the other offerings due for Netflix or Amazon Prime (individual episodes will be for sale too). Instead though, the series feels like it could have been helped with a bit higher profile, and a higher budget.

At times the characters, costumes, and even sets, feel like a cheap fan-film or cosplay you might see at a comic convention. Battles in the sky between heroes and villains also looks like it could have been a trailer or cut scene from the video game City of Heroes. In other words, it looks cheap and on a budget. Something I couldn’t help but keep in my head, especially when comparing it to other shows on television, especially the fx driven The Flash on The CW. There’s a bit of a cheese factor to it all.

What stands out though, and what will get me coming back is Sharlto Copley’s performance. Though it’s the stereotypical damaged detective, he throws in an ounce of sleaze factor that makes him, and his character, stand out. From his outright flirting with a witness, to what he does later, it’s clear this detective is beyond damaged, and comes closer to self-destructive. That is what I look forward to seeing.

The pilot is just ok, and in a world of so much quality comics turned shows on television, it falls a bit flat and left behind. If this was supposed to draw me in as a Playstation Plus member, it doesn’t quite complete that task (though I’m one already). It does however have a lot of potential. Much like Constantine on NBC, it hopefully gets better and improves over time. Powers is interesting, but it’s not in a vacuum of choices, and will face even more competition when Netflix launches it’s own superhero original programming in a month. The fact we’re spoiled for choices, is this series greatest weakness so far.

Overall Score: 7

 

 

 

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