Powers Series Premiere
When superhero Diamond lost his powers, he became detective Christian Walker and now spends his days tracking down dangerous people with powers.
PlayStation Network has decided to throw its hat into the arena of original dramas with the comic-based show Powers…
…and the only advice I can give them is fire everyone and start over. I can’t pinpoint exactly what is wrong with the show, since the whole thing is a train wreck of bad decisions, but I’ll give it a try since I’m just that nice.
Every successful show has to have great characters for viewers to love. Unfortunately, Powers seems to miss that key ingredient and, whether it due to bad writing or poor acting, the characters are genuinely unlikable and generic. Let’s meet the underwhelming cast:
Detective Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley) used to be the hero known as Diamond, but when he lost his powers in battle he had to find a different way to help. Now he spends his time as a member of the Powers division of the police force, hunting down people who endanger the public with their superpowers while studiously maintaining a brooding demeanor. As the hero, Walker definitely gets the best of a bad script, but it’s still not enough to pull the premiere out of mediocrity.
Walker’s new partner, Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward), is new to the Powers division and is having some nebulous personal issues that have forced her to move back home with her father. Whether it’s bad writing or over-acting, Pilgrim is almost painful in every scene. She clearly has anger issues, but surely there must be more to her–something else hidden under all the attitude.
Calista (Olesya Rulin) is a Powers wanna-be who will do anything to get powers of her own. Maybe she will be fleshed out in future episodes, but for someone with so much screen time in the premiere, Calista’s purpose seems nothing more than driving the plot and attempting to give the other characters some depth.
Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor) is a super villain with the power of teleportation. His character flounders between being completely nuts and just wanting everyone to get along, which makes him, by far, the most interesting person in the entire show. His preferred method of execution is teleporting with someone’s head in his hand, which is pretty cool, but the sound effects are just bad. You know that sound your phone makes–the bubbling popping? Yep, that’s what they went with.
“Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly.” – Spencer W. Kimball
I can usually tell when a script is going to have major problems by how often the characters curse. In Powers, profanity is a crutch that is relied on heavily, and at some point becomes obnoxious. That point is within the first 5 minutes of the episode.
Let me be clear: cursing doesn’t bother me. As a Christian, I try to avoid it in the media I consume, but it has never been a deal-breaker when I’m watching a show or playing a video game. However, when it’s used in an attempt to cover up the lack of intelligent dialogue and the fact that there is no discernible plot, I have a problem. What bothered me even more was that, most of the time, the cursing didn’t even make sense in the context, and it felt more like a blatant attempt to be “edgy” more than anything else.
Like most premieres, Powers has one hour to introduce an entire cast of characters and try to give viewers an idea of where the show will be heading. Sadly, we get a lot of characters who all seem fairly shallow, and only a glimmer of a possible plot somewhere down the line.
Apparently drugs will be involved since it’s implied that Sway, a power-enhancing drug, was the cause of Olympia’s death. At first, it seems that death will play a large role, but this is quickly glossed over, with some more profanity thrown in for effect. Viewers should probably assume Wolfe (Eddie Izzard) will also be playing a bigger role in the future, since he’s the one that ate Walker’s powers. However, there isn’t much of the Wolfe/Walker conflict to be seen in the premiere, which means those viewers who actually continue to watch past the premiere will just have to hope for an explanation in the future.
Since the show is on PSN, you’re going to have to shell out the membership fee just to watch it. Combine that with the fact that each episode will take at least 45 minutes of your life that you can’t get back, and I really don’t think it’s worth the effort. The combination of lackluster acting, bad writing, and the fact that there are better shows to spend your time on will likely cause this show to be a one-season attempt at something that could have been great.
Language – Lots of cursing (h***, s***, a**, f***, p****, b****, d***, mother******, G******). I’m sure I missed some, but you can get an idea of how much it’s used. It’s not even part of the conversation, just thrown in randomly. God and Jesus are used as profanity in numerous scenes. There are also several instances of discussion of sexual acts, since powers can be temporarily transferred through oral sex.
Violence – There is a moderately graphic death from a blow to the head at the beginning of the show, followed by gunshots. Royalle kills another man by beheading him, but the blood is almost nonexistent. Wolfe is being tortured in one scene by being repeatedly lobotomized.
Sexual Content/Nudity – There is a scene in a club/party which features scantily clad women and people making out. This is followed by a scene of a very young girl beginning to perform oral sex on an older man. One scene features the officers watching a filmed sexual encounter at a crime scene, containing graphic audio. There is discussion of oral sex, and Pilgrim is sexually harassed by a fellow officer.
Drugs/Alcohol – What little plot there is focuses on a drug, Sway, that enhances powers. There is a scene where the drug is passed, and several scenes which involve alcohol being consumed in the background.
*Photos courtesy of PSN
+ It's over
- Bad casting
- Bad writing
- Membership fees for those who want to continue watching the series