Superhero series are everywhere nowadays and considering their continuing popularity it’s something of a surprise that Powers, from co-creators Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, had such a difficult road to arriving on the small screen. The series had been in the works for years, first being positioned at FX with Jason Patric and Lucy Punch in the lead roles of one-time “power” (i.e., superhero) and now homicide detective Christian Walker and his partner Deena Pilgrim. The project was put in turnaround, with the pilot being reshot and retooled, but to no avail. The network eventually passed on the series, and Powers drifted along until Sony snapped it up to air exclusively on the PlayStation Network.
As unlikely a place as PSN was, Powers managed to attract Sharlto Copley (Hardcore Henry) to the role of Walker and Eddie Izzard (Hannibal) as villain Wolfe, while Michelle Forbes (Battlestar Galactica) was cast as Retro Girl. The series’ first season came and went with little fanfare, as the obviously low budget appeared to hamper many of its more ambitious storytelling elements. Nevertheless Sony renewed the series for a second season, brining on former Falling Skies executive producer Remi Aubuchon to tackle a season-long adaptation of the comics’ first major storyline: ‘Who Killed Retro Girl?‘
Despite the seemingly renewed efforts from the series, doubling down on the core comic book concept and the show’s… let’s say, unique, heavily green-screened aesthetic, it would appear those efforts were for naught. It was reported via Brian Michael Bendis’ Twitter account that the series has been canceled and will not be moving forward with a third season at PSN. The writer shared the news solemnly, but also ended his tweet with the somewhat optimistic statement: “at least for now.”
this is hard to tweet, but word is that @POWERStheSERIES is sadly, no more. season 2 was the last. at least for now. 1/2— BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (@BRIANMBENDIS) August 3, 2016
i'll type more about it later, but thank you ALL for your support. such a fantastic personal experience that you gifted all of us. 2/2— BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (@BRIANMBENDIS) August 3, 2016
Bendis’ comment should be familiar to anyone who has seen their favorite series canceled, only to hope that some other network or, more likely, streaming service (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon) would come in and save the day. That sort of situation has been the norm for canceled series for years now, with everything from Terra Nova to Hannibal being the hopeful recipient of a last-minute reprieve from the proverbial governor. Sadly, neither series was handed a stay of execution (though for Hannibal season 4, hope springs eternal), which doesn’t necessarily bode well for a series that had such difficulties getting off the ground in the first place.
That puts Powers in a difficult place if the producers do have designs on season 3 and beyond. Finding another home for any series is a huge challenge, but that might be even more of a challenge in this case, given the show’s relatively low profile amongst viewers. Still, the second season did manage to attract some notable talent like Michael Madsen (The Hateful Eight), Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), and Enrico Colantoni (Galaxy Quest) to the cast, so perhaps there’s enough that’s appealing about the concept for it to be considered a possibility at another outlet.
Powers seasons 1 & 2 are available on the PlayStation Network.