Powerless sounded like a great concept: a show set in the DC universe that looked at what it was like for regular people to live in a world with superheroes. We saw the pilot at Comic-Con and were ready for more. But, things changed. The pilot’s premise was about an insurance company and its employees. NBC completely reshot the pilot in order to switch the setting. Now, it would focus on a group of inventors working for Wayne Security.
The show clearly wanted to try and be goofier than the usual DC fare. It even looked lighter compared to the Arrowverse! But, was that necessarily the right direction to take? And was NBC the right network to host this show? Well, Powerless has been canceled by NBC. That should tell you something.
The NBC Curse
NBC isn’t well-known for letting fan-favorite shows live on. In the DC world, they canceled Constantine after a single season. And don’t even bring up Hannibal because fans are still hoping that will be resurrected in some form. Even Powerless actor Danny Pudi has fallen victim to NBC’s ax in the past with the beloved Community.
It’s worth noting that Constantine found a somewhat new life when it became part of the Arrowverse. And Hannibal is considered one of the best shows of the modern era. Community even got resurrected for a final season over at Yahoo. The point: being canceled by NBC has actually helped certain shows find an audience later in life. It’s likely that this is the future Powerless can look forward to. And if it too can be absorbed into the Arrowverse? All the better.
Powerless also came out after the backlash from the DCEU’s grim-and-gritty tone was at its peak. There was a conscious effort to distance the show from that world as much as possible, and while it led to Powerless carving out its own path, it didn’t help the feeling that it was an extraneous addition to the universe. The Arrowverse shows have been bolstered by their sense of connectivity and they have been able to perfectly streamline their tone because of that. Powerless felt like it was off in its own corner of the world. That can work when you have something as widely recognizable as Batman (Gotham), but Powerless couldn’t get beyond the fact that it was always flitting on the periphery of the universe fans want to visit.
Powerless getting canceled is probably for the best. A premature end will make it an oddity to fans who will seek it out because it was canceled. Sound familiar? Plus, it could very well find new life in another venue that better represents its unique take on the DC universe. Here’s hoping.