Or Nah? is a feature where we watch and review the first episode of a new TV show. We’ll let you know if it’s worth checking out. As always, these reviews are the opinion of the reviewer, but we’ll try to adequately explain why you should or shouldn’t give the show a chance and provide shows for comparison.
What’s It About?
Location: Charm City, one of the many big cities protected by powered superheroes. But our protagonist isn’t a superhero. She’s mild-mannered Emily Locke (Vanessa Hudgens). Emily works for Van Wayne, cousin of Bruce, at a company that develops tech to sell to the public to protect themselves from superhero damage. I believe this is a change from the original premise in which Emily worked for an insurance company that dealt with claims from superhero events. Van Wayne (Alan Tudyk) has hired Emily because he wants a big idea that will impress Bruce and get him moved to the Gotham office despite Emily’s inexperience.
Although Emily is just a regular woman, when everyone’s jobs are threatened, she snaps into action and comes up with a device that will alert people to the presence of the supervillain Jack-O-Lantern based on his smell. Van doesn’t want to save the company because he’ll get a position in the Gotham office either way, but Emily and her officemates (played by veteran comedic actors, Danny Pudi, Ron Funches, and Christian Kirk) threaten to go over Van’s head to Bruce, so he saves the company even though it means staying in Charm City. And our plucky young hero has saved the day and her job for another day at least.
- This kind of role is what Vanessa Hudgens does best and it’s also what made her famous. She plays Emily similarly to her High School Musical character, Gabriella; sweet, endearing and optimistic.
- A strong comedic cast surrounds Hudgens. Alan Tudyk is always hilarious and Danny Pudi is well known from his days on Community. Funches and Kirk round out the cast well.
- The larger DC references will definitely keep the comic book folks interested. In the end, they realize that Batman has used a device similar to theirs to take down a bad guy. I wonder how long until Emily realizes they are actually working for Bruce Wayne/Batman?
- Without the superhero connection Powerless is a pretty rote office comedy. It will be interesting to see how it develops and manages to make itself unique aside from being set in a world of superheroes.
Watch This If You Like: Better Off Ted, The Office, or comics like Damage Control
Don’t Watch This If: You like your superhero shows to be about guys in capes. You’re not likely to catch a lot of Batman or The Flash unless they’re in the background.