When it comes to comic series on network television, NBC is currently the odd man out. The cancellation of Constantine last year cost the network its only comic venture, and it was only a matter of time before NBC gave comic series another go. Somewhat surprisingly, the network has gone with a half-hour comedy called Powerless about normal people working at an insurance company in a world of DC superheroes. The big question was just how many superheroes might be appearing among the normal folks. NBC executive Jennifer Salke has an exciting answer: plenty of them.
Salke and her fellow NBC exec Robert Greenblatt were around for the TCA winter press tour, and had this to say, according to IGN.
This is a world where superheroes are not only just on green screen outside the window of this insurance office, but they’re also running into you on the street and wreaking havoc. The idea isn’t that it’s the crème de la crème of the superheroes. It’s a world where there’s a whole population of superheroes with all sorts of challenges themselves. So you’re seeing quite a range of characters in that realm in addition to our great, kind of grounded human ensemble.
Considering that DC ventures on the small screen have all thus far existed in their own universes on their own networks – the only arguable exception being John Constantine of Constantine appearing post-cancellation on The CW’s Arrow – there’s possibly no reason why NBC couldn’t have comical versions of characters from Arrow and The Flash and Supergirl dropping by Powerless at some point. We still may not be seeing much of Batman or Superman, but there are certainly plenty of DC faces that can appear and bring the laughs. Particularly those of the lesser-known variety.
Interestingly, NBC isn’t the only network with a comic-based comedy in development. ABC has a Marvel series called Damage Control in development, which will center on the people that show up after the heroes have defeated the bad guys to take care of such menial tasks as returning lost weapons and replacing damaged items after epic superhero showdowns. I’m curious to see how the two shows will compare. Unlike the way that DC has separated its adaptations into a number of separate universes on large and small screen alike, ABC and Marvel have kept all projects contained within one massive universe. While it has worked out for Marvel so far, putting a lighthearted Damage Control in the same universe as super dark shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones could backfire.
Powerless is still in the pilot stage, so we still have quite some time to mull over the types of heroes we might get to see. Will they be new to primetime? Will they be alternate versions of Oliver Queen and Barry Allen? Will Matt Ryan make a cameo as a job applicant at the insurance company now that Constantine is gone? Was it still too soon for me to make that joke?
Luckily, there’s still plenty of comic-based TV to watch as we wonder. Check out our midseason TV premiere schedule to see when your favorites will be back for 2016.