5 Reasons to Be Excited About NBC’s ‘Powerless’

Mike Delaney

Powerless is the latest TV show set in the DC Comics universe, debuting on NBC Thursday, February 2. But unlike the current shows based on DC properties, Powerless is not about superheroes. Well, at least, not directly. It’s also a comedy — starring Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi, Christina Kirk, and Ron Funches.

Powerless is set within the Research & Development department of Wayne Security — yes, that’s a subsidiary of Bruce Wayne’s company, Wayne Enterprises.

The office-based comedy focuses on the everyday lives of normal people and how their lives are affected by living in a world of superheroes and villains. The employees of Wayne Security attempt to help by producing products that are intended to save bystanders from death or injury. Usually with unexpected results.

Powerless is set in the DC universe and that means lots of fun comic book references.

Television shows based on DC properties are commonplace now. From the interconnected shows of the Arrowverse to the Batman prequel Gotham, the adventures of superheroes and villains grace our screens on a weekly basis. But Powerless is not connected to any existing on-screen universe, so it doesn’t have to worry about being affected by the continuity from other shows. It is free to have its own light-hearted take on that world.

Fans can expect references to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Powerless is also most likely to be the only live-action DC television show that features (at least in passing) all three of the DC Universe’s biggest heroes.

Vanessa Hudgens got her start in Disney’s High School Musical. Now, she plays Emily on Powerless.

Emily is starting her first day as Director of Research & Development at Wayne Security. Arriving with enthusiasm, ambition, and big plans, she soon finds that her dream job might not be all she imagined it to be. It’ll be fun to watch Powerless give Hudgens the chance to show off her comedy chops.

The main cast of Powerless is made up of really funny people, including Alan Tudyk who played K-2SO in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Powerless - Season Pilot hudgens and tudyk

Tudyk plays the team’s boss, Del Heller. Del calls himself a “rich, over-educated globetrotting wastrel.” His incompetence and general lack of managerial skills looks set to be a key source of conflict with Emily. Community alum Danny Pudi is playing Teddy, described as Emily Locke’s best friend and an inveterate prankster. Ron Funches, of Undateable fame and current holder of most wins on @midnight with Chris Hardwick, plays a character called Ron. With these comedy veterans anchoring the show, the prospects for Powerless being one of the funniest shows on TV are very good.

Powerless is sure to be very, very geeky, and that’s fantastic. Just how deep will the DC Comics references go? We can’t wait to find out.

From the pilot showcasing DC characters such as Crimson Fox and Jack O’Lantern, to mentions of Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman, Powerless is not going to be afraid to show its connections to the DC Universe. And with the show set at Wayne Security, it’s tied very closely to one of the most popular heroes of the DC Universe – Batman’s alter-ego,  Bruce Wayne. Might we get a glimpse Wayne himself? Or could his failure to appear become a running joke — he’s always just off-screen? Either way, expect Powerless to be loaded with references both blatant and sly to the the DC Universe.

Powerless premieres Thursday, February 2 on NBC.

Mike Delaney
Star Wars fan and general pop culture addict. Only two beverages worth drinking are tea and whisky.
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