As if the cops of TV police procedurals didn't already have enough to deal with, the upward trend in popularity of comic book adaptations means that soon there will be superpowered villains on the streets as well as petty criminals. Batman prequel Gotham will focus on a young Jim Gordon trying to uphold the law in the face of burgeoning supercrooks like Penguin and Mr. Freeze - and in Sony's upcoming PSN series Powers, Sharlto Copley and Susan Heyward will play two cops who specialize in investigating and arresting criminals with superhuman abilities.
Powers is based on the comic book series of the same name by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Sony's development of the property marks the second time that it has made moves towards the small screen; in 2009 a pilot was shot for FX, with Jason Patric playing ex-Power Christian Walker and Lucy Punch as his rookie partner Deena Pilgrim, but that version never received a full series order.
With the new leads in place and a supporting cast that includes Eddie Izzard and Michelle Forbes, Powers is now in its fourth week of filming in Atlanta, for a first season that will run for ten episodes, with David Slade (Hannibal) directing the first two. USA Today has published a feature about the series that includes a first look at Copley and Heyward in costume as Christian and Deena, as well as interviews with executive producer Charlie Huston and comic book creator/executive producer Bendis.
Bendis states that Christian and Deena are "the heart and soul" of the Powers TV series (unsurprising, what with them being the main characters) and adds that the show will be a "different experience" from the comics as "the show and the books... almost run in parallel universes as they explore the same themes." The writer describes Copley's version of Christian as being a little bit more up-tempo than the stoic and serious character in the books.
Huston describes Heyward as bringing her own kind of energy to the character of Deena - who, unlike Christian, has never had superpowers and instead has to rely on an innate talent for detective work. According to Huston, Heyward is an "amazing fireball" who enjoys practising her jiu-jitsu skills during downtime on the set. Perhaps that means we'll get to see Heyward doing her own stunts during fight scenes.
Powers is particularly significant as part of Sony's attempt to produce original TV content for PSN, even as Microsoft attempts to do the same for Xbox Live. According to Bendis, not being tied to a TV network opens up a particular kind of freedom for Powers:
"We're getting the best of both worlds. We're getting a network-budgeted show, and we're getting to dive in as dark and deep as we want to go."
Do you like the look of Sharlto Copley and Susan Heyward in character as Christian and Deena? Tell us in the comments whether you think Powers has a chance of being a successful selling point for PSN.
We'll keep you updated on Powers as production continues.
Source: USA Today