Powerless is the highly-anticipated upcoming NBC comic book-inspired workplace comedy series that explores the DC Universe from an unusual perspective. Namely, Powerless (humorously) explores how regular people deal with the ramifications of living among superheroes and villains. The TV series thus shifts the focus to the viewpoint of the everyday DCU citizen, which is actually rather novel.
The show is largely centered around the world of Batman, with an extended member of the Wayne family in a lead role. The show will premiere in a few days and a fun new video preview features a Batman easter egg for the fans: a typically charismatic voiceover by the great Adam West, the first ever Caped Crusader in live-action television from the classic 1966 Batman series.
Powerless is a completely new spin on the DC Universe, with a comedic tone and broadly comical slant, making it a contrast to the more straight-faced tone of such DC TV series as Arrow over on The CW Network. That’s not to say that the series isn’t highly anticipated, with an all-star cast headlined by cult-favorite actor Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Con Man), portraying the spoiled cousin of Bruce Wayne, Van Wayne. Van is a relatively new character to the world of DC comics, debuting back in 1997 in the pages of Batman #148.
Powerless has had a difficult path through development. The original showrunner, Ben Queen, left the series last summer over “creative differences” with Warner Bros. TV. We don’t know exactly what the issues were, but there are some aspects of the show that have changed since he left. The series went from a workplace comedy setting at Retcon Insurance in Charm City to now being set at Wayne Security, where they develop products to help ordinary people deal with the superhero world they live in. A good portion of the Powerless pilot episode was reshot, to better reflect this shift in plot. It’s unknown whether that had anything to do with Queen or his departure, but the inclusion of Van Wayne and a Wayne-owned company does serve as more of a full nod to the DC comic book world, as opposed to the TV series having a more generic workplace backdrop.
We know that the show will give nods to characters like Batman, Superman, Joker and Wonder Woman, but it remains to be seen what other heroes and villains will be referenced. Comic book readers and/or those who watch The Flash on The CW are no doubt familiar with the DC multiverse – where there are several different Earth or dimensions where different versions of the same characters exist. Powerless‘ showrunners have said the series exists on Earth-P, which could be referring to Earth Prime, which in comic book lore is the universe that our actual, real-life Earth exists in. If the show is successful, perhaps we’ll even get cameos from some lower level heroes from the DC Comics mythology.
Powerless premieres on NBC on Thursday, February 2nd @ 8:30pm ET/PT.