It’s true that, on occasion, the DC comic book universe has, perhaps, seemed a little serious – particularly if you consider Batman to be the most successfully adapted character across media. All that brooding, and growling and sitting in his cave has indeed created a sense of darkness that is perceived as permeating the whole enterprise. Soon, however, there will be television comedy called Powerless, which will be headed up by Vanessa Hudgens, and is set to provide an injection of levity.
Created by Ben Queen (A to Z, Cars 2) for Warner Bros. TV, this workplace comedy series was picked up by NBC some time ago, and has now cast its lead. Vanessa Hudgens will play Emily Locke – a dedicated and hard-working claims adjuster, employed by the most incompetent insurance company in America. Emily takes immense pride in her role, helping people through difficult and challenging problems – but she prefers to operate quietly, and with little fanfare. She does this against a backdrop of a city continually battered and bruised by well-meaning superheroes of all descriptions, who are ever-present in her daily, professional life.
The concept of Powerless is a great one. With apparently no DC characters being off-limits, many favourites will be name-dropped and referenced throughout the show, with the antics of some being visible as a background to the main action in Emily’s office.
We are told that action scenes might be visible through the high-rise windows, while Emily and her colleagues are left to deal with the administrative aftermath – all of which has the potential for some high comedy. The pilot will be directed and executive produced by Michael Patrick Jann, who has also proven himself in the sitcom realm, with episodes of A to Z, Superstore, The Goldbergs and Community on his resume.
The real selling point of Powerless, however, is the fact that it presents an angle of a superhero-filled universe that has yet to be explored on TV – the perspective of the non-supers who are just trying to live their lives and get on with their careers. The comedic potential here is huge, as is the opportunity to have exceedingly relatable characters at the centre of the story – as opposed to an emotionally unstable billionaire with a gadget fetish and a penchant for vengeance. It will all come down to casting, and while Vanessa Hudgens is an interesting choice for the lead, it will be the colleagues around her that will truly dictate the success, or otherwise, of Powerless. Watch this space for further casting announcements.