NBC and DC Comics are trying out a new way of celebrating the popularity of superheroes with their upcoming show, Powerless. The workplace comedy stars Vanessa Hudgens as Emily Locke, an R&D director at a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises. The business creates products designed to help innocent bystanders survive life in a world of superheroes and villains. Hopes are high that Powerless can bring in new fans who aren’t necessarily into the standard superhero shows while still keeping traditional fans interested.
Powerless is set to premiere in February and we’re beginning to see some promotional material teasing the show’s unique brand of comedy. They also aim to reassure skeptical fans that despite its unusual approach, the show won’t neglect DC Comics’ rich history. Legacy plays a large role in the reception of comic book properties, for better or worse, and Powerless seems to understand this.
In an image originally shared by The Wrap (via ComicBookMovie.com), NBC gives us a taste of how Powerless will pay homage to the history of DC. Vanessa Hudgens’ character holds a menu for a restaurant that happens to be called “Kane and Finger’s Pub.” Lifelong Batman fans certainly won’t need that reference explained to them.
Bob Kane and Bill Finger were, of course, the original creators of Batman. Kane received all the credit for years but after Finger’s death, Kane acknowledged that his partner deserved to be considered a co-creator of the iconic hero and his arch-nemesis The Joker. In many people’s minds, Finger is still a somewhat neglected figure in comic book history, but his contribution obviously isn’t lost on the creators of Powerless as the new image attests.
Even though it has yet to air a single episode, Powerless has already gone through more than its fair share of troubles, including the loss of original showrunner, Ben Queen, who exited over creative differences. After Queen’s departure, it was decided that the show should shift away from its original premise, which featured Emily Locke an insurance adjuster, and do something that tied more directly into the Batman mythos. Fans will no doubt be hoping that the show will at some point feature prominent DC characters in cross-over storylines with the Arrowverse shows, though that may be difficult given the realities of network TV rights.
It remains to be seen if this unusual mix of comic book characters and workplace comedy will go over with fans, but if the popularity of shows like Gotham, Supergirl, and The Flash are any indication, Powerless should have a good chance to catch on. At least now we know that if the show doesn’t go over big, it likely won’t be because it neglected its roots.
Powerless will premiere on NBC on Thursday, February 2nd @ 8:30pm ET/PT.