‘A to Z,’ Alan Tudyk, and Danny Pudi is why I’m excited about this DC Comics comedy

05.12.16 1 year ago

Powerless is the first series picked up for the 2016-2017 season that I”m really looking forward to.

It”s set in the world of superheroes, but it”s not about superheroes – it”s a workplace comedy about the little guy caught in messes created by superheroes (mostly fringe DC Comics characters).

Here”s the official logline:

In the first comedy series set in the universe of DC Comics, Vanessa Hudgens (Grease Live, High School Musical) plays Emily, a spunky young insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes. It”s when she stands up to one of these larger-than-life figures (after an epic battle messes with her commute) that she accidentally becomes a cult “hero” in her own right … even if it”s just to her group of lovably quirky co-workers. Now, while she navigates her normal, everyday life against an explosive backdrop, Emily might just discover that being a hero doesn”t always require superpowers.

Firefly alum Alan Tudyk will play Del, Emily”s new boss in the claims department, “a power-mad, disastrous dictator of a boss” who”s just been promoted because he”s the owner”s son. Should be a fun role for Tudyk. With his own web series Con Man, he recently proved he can deliver hilarious, cringe-inducing ridiculousness.

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Photo credit: Chris Large/NBC

Another reason I”m stoked for Powerless: It”s showrun by Ben Queen, who created A to Z.

I really liked A to Z and was disappointed when it was canceled. It was sweet and funny, and it managed to delightfully reference one of My Favorite Things™ in just about every episode (from an amazing Back to the Future presence in the pilot to Ghostbusters Halloween costumes to Stu channeling Pink Panther“s Cato). Now I really wanna see Queen”s entertainment taste delivered via Abed, Danny Pudi”s Community fast-talking pop culture junkie character. On Powerless, Pudi plays prankster Teddy, Emily”s best friend at work.

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Photo credit: Chris Large/NBC

Queen helming this show both excites and worries me a bit – worries me because the workplace comedy element of A to Z often fell flat. The humor Queen and his team aimed for in the office of an Internet dating site was hit and miss and didn”t hold my interest like the rom-com storylines for Andrew and Zelda. Their quirky romance, with major chemistry from stars Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti, is where the show shined. 

But, in the latter episodes of A to Z“s short-lived run, the show figured out how to best use Lydia, Andrew”s boss. When she gets to bring some ridiculous comedy herself, rather than just fuel the drama in Andrew”s life, she was the star of those office scenes, especially when she got to play off Ben Falcone”s Howard and Wayne Wilderson's Dane. Lydia was played by Christina Kirk, who is also in the cast of Powerless. She plays Del”s new assistant, Jackie, who “begins buckling under Del”s unreasonable and impossible demands,” as her character bio says. So we get to see the tables turned on Big Bird. Hopefully Queen will take what he learned on A to Z to put Kirk to good use on the new show.

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Photo credit: Chris Large/NBC

We should hear more about Powerless on Monday when NBC has its upfront presentation for advertisers and press. Next week we also could hear about the series that”s somewhat of a rival to Powerless, Damage Control, if ABC picks that show up. Damage Control is a comedy based on the Marvel Comics clean-up and construction crew that takes care of the mess left by superheroes skirmishes.

We“ll hope that Powerless delivers and that NBC gives it a longer life than A to Z.

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