The next report card is for the new NBC television series Powerless set in the realm of DC Comics.
Oh boy...where do I start? As a big fan of the superhero genre, I really, really disliked this show. In fact, there was only one thing about the entire episode that I actually enjoyed, which was the following line of dialogue:
"Gone are the days of a man in a bandit mask stealing a ruby from a museum. Now, it's all just supervillains trying to destroy the earth and superheroes fighting one another for vaguely defined reasons."
That is the type of meta stuff that I was looking for, not the schmaltzy unfunny wretch this thing is.
On paper, this idea is fantastic, but the execution of it is terrible. Marvel's Damage Control series had more potential behind it than this because their track record with comedy is so, so much better, whereas DC can't figure out what it wants to be.
Charm City? Really? They couldn't even be bothered to give it one of the real cities in DC Comics? I know we already have Gotham and Metropolis all over the place, Central and Keystone are covered with The Flash, Star City is on Arrow, Coast City wouldn't work as you'd need Green Lantern, but why not Fawcett City, even?
Everything about this screams ABC, not NBC. In fact, if you saw the series A to Z, this not only has one of the same cast members who I assume is a carryover from that contract, but I had the exact same "wrong network vibe" about that as I do with this and I wouldn't be surprised at all if they repurposed much of the same sets and such for this.
Boy, everybody here is truly giving it their all, but the material is just crap. "They're very talented, but they're just missing a 'you' to motivate them." is a line from the show and it applies here. Admittedly, I haven't seen much of Vanessa Hudgens, but what little I've been exposed to makes me think she's not bad. Alan Tudyk has charm, Danny Pudi is great (makes me miss Community) and there's a certain dryness to Christina Kirk that I enjoy. The dialogue they have to say and the presentation of it all in its complete package is horrible, though. A bad actor can screw up a good script, but a great actor can't make a bad script any good. Also, I know Jennie Pierson's character is supposed to be super funny and I can't stand her, which irks me to no end.
VISUALS (FX, MAKEUP, COSTUMES, SETS): F
Holy hell is this all awful! I mean, this makes the jets on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. look realistic in comparison. NONE of this looked like it was anything but crappy TV CGI from the 90s.
Why is every set filled to the brim with primary colors? There seems to be a specific effort to make sure every scene has yellow, red and blue to punch up the background while our protagonist has a bright green shirt to break up the sea of blinding white furniture and such. This is the type of set design you'd see for a McDonald's PlayPlace. I certainly didn't want everything to have the dark and gritty feel of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but I never would have signed off on them putting the film through a Skittles filter, either.
MUSIC & SOUND: C–
I honestly can't remember anything about this, so I have to give it a default mid-range score.
TONE & ATMOSPHERE: A
ACTION: This isn't supposed to be an action-based show, so I can't judge it in comparison to something like the CW programs. That being said, their idea of action was so lame that it made me wish they just had none at all so I wouldn't have noticed how bad it was.
COMEDY: Good God. These were jokes? I mean, the show itself is a joke, but the "humorous dialogue" was supposed to be laughed at for real? Like, as in the same manner as actual funny shows like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Modern Family? For fuck's sake, I just watched the season premiere of Superior Donuts which I didn't even bother to review here on Fanboys Anonymous and that show made me chuckle more than this and I'm the target audience because I absolutely love DC and Marvel stuff!!!
ROMANCE: For a pilot episode, this didn't dive into any romance angles, which is fine. Eventually, they'll be going down that rabbit hole, but I'm not going to be there to witness it.
FINAL GRADE: D
I can only see you liking this if you prefer the extremely campy version of comic books. If Bruce Timm's Batman: The Animated Series was too dark for you but you thought Batman: The Brave and the Bold was great, then give this a shot. If you're like me, though, and you prefer the more serious stuff or at least the type of atmosphere the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes for where they keep things lighter but the jokes are actually funny because the writers are good, then you should stay away. This feels like it was written by someone who doesn't actually know anything about any of the comics whatsoever, but wanted to try to give off the impression that they did. This type of show had so much potential to be hilarious, poking fun at the genre and being a fundamentally good show even if you aren't privy to all the inside baseball stuff, but as both a DC fan and a fan of just quality television in general, I hated it all around.
What the hell, DC? You botched some aspects of Batman v Superman, you botched Suicide Squad, you just had to announce that Ben Affleck is not directing The Batman anymore, you want to do a standalone Black Adam movie before you do a Green Lantern one, you killed off Green Arrow's primary love interest on his show just to placate the squees of fangirls who geek out over the #Olicity relationship and your whole Gotham show revolves around basically having a Batman show without Batman, and then you create this hot garbage. So disappointed.