Powers: Pilot
August 14, 2015 10:05 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Powers, an edgy dramatic series, follows the lives of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, who are assigned to investigate cases involving people with superhuman abilities, referred to as “Powers.” Set amidst today’s paparazzi culture, Powers asks the questions, what if the world was full of superheroes who aren’t actually heroic at all? What if all that power was just one more excuse for mischief, mayhem, murder, and endorsement deals? Enter the men and women of the Powers Division, the brave people in charge of protecting humans like us and keeping the peace over commercialized, god-like men and women who glide through the sky imposing their power over the mortals who both worship and fear them.

It's been an interesting road getting Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Hemings' Powers from comic page to screen. First shot as a pilot for FX in 2011, starring Jason Patric and Lucy Punch, the project stalled when execs weren't crazy about the final presentation. It hovered around there for a few more years, being retooled for clarity and tone, until Sony finally shifted it over to their PlayStation Network where it's become the platform's first ever original series.
Now with a new writer, new cast, and David Slade as the premiere's director, Powers is ready to take to the skies and come to life. I won't spend too long going over the premise of the Powers world in this review, nor will I spoil much of anything. And to those who're familiar with the comics, keep in mind that while most of the original characters remain, many of them have been revamped, shifted around, and tinkered with.

There’s so much popular fiction DNA to be found in the new series Powers that it almost becomes sort of a game as well as a darkly colorful superhero melodrama. The basic premise feels like someone tossed Watchmen, Sin City, and NYPD Blue (or any high-end police procedural) into a blender, sprinkled in some gritty film noir tone and tension, and added a little dash of Silence of the Lambs before hitting the “mega-blend” button. And based on just one episode, the resulting concoction somehow turned out to be pretty damn tasty.
posted by bq (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I felt this was pretty ham-handed but one can't expect much more from a pilot.

Interesting casting choices: Eddie Izzard looked great chewing the scenery. Adam Godley as the police chief. Sharlto Copley (Christian) was the lead in District 9. Susan Hayward I haven't seen before and she wasn't really pulling off Deena for me. Noah Taylor as Johnny Royale from Games of Thrones. Extremely international cast.

The makeup seemed over-done - almost Dick Tracy. A completely different feel and color palette from the comic.
posted by bq at 10:11 AM on August 14, 2015

This was so low rent. I just couldn't take it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:34 AM on August 14, 2015

I was pretty meh about it, but I had not expected the change to have Christian's loss of powers being so current. And while I understand and appreciate changing the material for different media, that's not really a struggle I am all that interested in. I get that this is a different opportunity, but struggling with a change in status feels very overdone to me. I was far more interested in the comic's approach where this was old news that he'd moved on from but was very familiar with their world.

I caught this when it was a freebie on youtube or whatever since I didn't have PSN and it was a chance to decide whether I wanted to drop the cash to watch the rest. I did not. Is there another watching option yet?
posted by phearlez at 6:11 PM on August 14, 2015

I probably wouldn't have stuck with it if it wasn't for Noah Taylor who honestly for a tv show pilot man...he was genuinely menacing and that's what sucked me in. A good villain is all I need and well it seems to have that.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:54 PM on August 16, 2015

I agree - and he smoked on screen! I haven't seen that in a while.

Interesting that there's this Seattle origin story and Christian and Royalle supposedly grew up together. The whole time he was telling that story o was like, is he making this up? Or is this the new story?
posted by bq at 6:19 PM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been wanting to watch this series for awhile and finally carved out some time to start. Since I've read the comics It's been hard putting aside the "real" story and taking the TV series at it's face. My wife, who did not read the comics, has no barrier and is enjoying the premise so far.
posted by jazon at 6:43 AM on November 8, 2015

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