Though it may be hard to imagine now, the movie and television landscape wasn’t always so dominated by superhero projects. Over the years, however, the genre has grown exponentially. With the increase in films and TV shows, we’ve seen superheroes taken to new heights, both in terms of action and pathos. Now, Marvel, DC, and other companies are poised to capitalize on the popularity and familiarity of these super-powered individuals to start doing something truly unique. We’ve seen films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool attempt to mix in humor with their fight scenes, but now’s the time for a truly post-modern and absurdist look at the tights-wearing titans.
While Marvel’s comic-inspired Damage Control series seems to still be stuck in development hell, NBC’s Powerless recently escaped purgatory and finally premiered. After a shift from an insurance company dealing with the fallout of fights between heroes and villains (a premise startlingly close to Damage Control), NBC shifted focus to a team of techies working for a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises run by Batman’s cousin. The all-new character highlighted the silliness that would be present in the new series, which promised lots of references to the comics. Unfortunately, it looks as if audiences weren’t as keen on the show as NBC might’ve hoped.
Though we thought the pilot was a fun introduction to a world with potential, it certainly has some growing to do. Hopefully, that growth will help the ratings as the debut of the series didn’t break any records. CBR is reporting that the first episode of Powerless pulled in only 3.1 million viewers. The show did a bit better in the coveted 18-49 demo with 1.1 million, helping it crack NBC’s top 10. Still, the overall numbers were quite low compared to their other series. While 3.1 million puts Powerless above every The CW TV show except The Flash, it’s not great for a bigger network like NBC.
With the news of the ratings, we could see NBC relucatant to move forward with the show. It was already an audacious effort, and the last-minute retooling suggests the network hasn’t always been happy with the results. Still, the show’s connection to DC Comics and ability to poke fun at its biggest characters does provide the network with something unique. The showrunner of Powerless even has an idea for how Flash himself, Grant Gustin, could cameo on the series.
While the show is able to reference Wonder Woman and Batman, having some existing DC stars would certainly help the show boost its ratings. While anyone from the DCEU is likely out of the question, there’s nothing stopping a small appearance by members of the Arrowverse or FOX’s Gotham if all involved were keen on the idea. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see what NBC’s plans are for the freshman series.
Powerless continues next Thursday with ‘Wayne Dream Team’ @ 8:30 p.m. on NBC.