The other night the wife and I sat down and watched the first four episodes of the new show Powerless on Hulu. The premise of the show is about a small group of product designers at Wayne Security who are trying to design safety equipment for normal folks who just want to survive being collateral damage when superheroes and villains fight. It’s a show about the regular people who have to live in a world where Batman and The Flash keep them safe… most of the time.
The format of the show is a simple 30 minute sitcom (no laugh track), and it stars Alan Tudyk as Van Wayne, a cousin of Bruce Wayne, but not nearly as successful. He hires Emily Locke, played by the perky Vanessa Hudgens, as a Director of Research and Development, to help him move on up to the big office in Gotham City. Emily, with her team of designers and engineers work to make the world safer for normal people, while wrestling with the usual cadre of social and relationship tropes. The superhero twist adds a fresh take to many of these situations though, such as when someone in the office starts finally going on dates, and ends up dating a henchman of the Riddler.
I really enjoyed the first half of the season, and although rumors of cancellation have surfaced, I really hope they give this show a decent shot. The characters are funny and engaging, and I can’t stop laughing at Christina Kirk’s portrayal of Van’s assistant Jackie. Her deadpan humor is hilarious and her one-liners often left me laughing out loud.
I do recognize that there are some flaws in the basic craft of the show, but there seems like a lot of potential for at least a couple short seasons. I think some overarching plot lines that carry from episode to episode might help give the characters a bit more room to develop and grow as well. If you’ve got a couple hours, it’s worth checking out on Hulu.