Why Is NBC’s DC Comics Sitcom ‘Powerless’ Struggling To Fly?

Senior Contributor
08.17.16 11 Comments

Powerless got off to a surprisingly hot start. It was well-received at Comic-Con, the pilot got plenty of strong reviews from both skeptical nerds and more mainstream critics, and generally would seem to be a slam dunk for a network that wants to reclaim sitcom primacy. And, yet, Powerless appears to be living up to its name.

Powerless has a rather brilliant concept: Emily Locke (Vanessa Hudgens), an insurance adjuster for Retcon Insurance, goes off on a superhero in the subway and becomes a viral sensation overnight. Despite a smart concept, though, the most recent news is that showrunner Ben Queen has quit, two weeks from the start of filming for the first season. As usual with Hollywood, there’s little detail about why Queen left, only that it was over “creative differences” and that the departure was mutually agreed on by Queen, Warner Bros., and NBC. But it means that everything is in disarray as the series looks for a new captain of the ship.

There have been signs of trouble for a while. The trailer for the series, full of nerdy gags and Easter eggs, was pulled even as networks began talking about their upcoming series. The closest we’ve gotten to any sign of the series is a Comic-Con poster. The only good news, right now, is that the cast, packed with funny people like Danny Pudi and Ron Funches and led by Hudgens, seems enthusiastic, and that since NBC hasn’t scheduled the premiere yet, for now this won’t delay Powerless‘ arrival. Still, it’s worth asking what’s going on. Both NBC and Warner Bros. Television seemed genuinely excited by the show, and the fan response has been overwhelmingly positive. We don’t know why there’s so much turmoil behind the scenes, but hopefully Powerless can get off the ground.

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