Title: Wayne Or Lose
Director: Marc Buckland
Writers: created by Ben Queen written by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi, Christina Kirk, Ron Funches, Jennie Pierson, Marc McClure, Kimani Ray Smith, Atlin Mitchell, and more
Episode length: 22 minutes
The series pilot of Powerless was better than it thought it might be, cute and amusing, but I have to wonder how long before all that cuteness gets old?
The look of Powerless was close to what I imagined it would be, mostly down to earth, but also including lots of primary colors in a nod to the comics that form a basis for the premise the show is based on. The show has lots of wink-worthy moments and multiple nods to he comics universe it takes place in, for example the lead character, Emily Locke (Vanessa Hudgens) arrives in Charm City, the location the show takes place in by riding an elevated train. Anyone that reads comics, or watches the cartoons based on them knows about the affection comic have for elevated trains because they provide such a tempting target for destruction and disaster.
We get a glimpse of a newspaper front page prominently provided by a passenger that is reading a local edition, and the headline reads that recent president elect Lex Luthor has vowed to make Metropolis great again. This obvious reference to our current political situation is the sort of stuff this show is full of almost without relief. Granted its cute and amusing, but I couldn’t help but wonder how long before this brand of cuteness gets old, because of its predictability? The show is full of references and nods to different DC characters and the world they live in.
(* Warning: spoilers follow *)
The episode starts out with bang as battle taking place between two super powered individuals is taking place and of course, as a result it results in the destruction of the tracks just ahead of the speeding train, a pretty good indication of what’s in store in this series – the prolific use of comic book tropes, combined with liberal use of new girl in town sitcom tropes still to come. Another thing about the scene on the train was the response of the locals who are all jaded and used to this sort of thing going on in their lives and who consider it an inconvenience more that anything else.
In sharp contrast is the excitement and marvel experienced by new girl in town, and the show’s over-the-top eager beaver Emily. She’s in town for new job at Wayne Security a branch of the business owned by you-know-who. Emily soon meets her new boss, the shallow, name dropping cousin of Bruce Wayne, Van Wayne (Alan Tudyk) who resents being stuck in the town he refers to as a taint city, when he could be living it up and emulating the lifestyle of his more famous cousin in Gotham (this must be a very different Gotham than the one we have become accustomed to in its own series).
Make no mistake, this an office worker type sitcom with all the tropes in place. Emily’s eagerness is met by a sarcastic staff who has had enough of trying to do their best and have settled into a cynical jaded approach to doing their jobs turning out products that are nothing more than knockoffs of what’s being made by Lex Corp. They are on the brink of being shut down when Emily arrives and despite their apparent attitude to throw in the towel , they are unpleasantly surprised when the announcement of their being shutdown is made by a gleeful Van who will get what he wants if it happens; a transfer to Gotham.
Emily it turns out has more to contribute than an overly abundant amount of enthusiasm she actually has an idea that may save the division and the jobs of her staff – a super villain detector based on odor detection. She convinces a reluctant Van to tell his famous cousin about it and it turns out to be a big success.
So Emily saves the day and the jobs of all her new acquaintances, and Van expresses his displeasure with her at the development that means he has to stay in Charm City.
Despite being mostly enjoyable in a camp, tongue-in-cheek, and satirical way, the pilot seemed like the show needs more polishing with a cast that hasn’t quite gelled as a unit, and as if it hasn’t quite learned to work well together yet, or maybe the direction was at fault, but there were several noticeable lapses in the flow of the episode and awkward attempts to cover it up by the cast, But still it was kind of fun despite all the corniness resulting from the over use of tropes. Its way to soon to call it but I do intend to keep and eye on this one just to see how it develops going forward. Watching the trailers online it becomes apparent they were still retooling the show when they were made and the final result is much different, and better.