Powerless: Sinking Day – Daddy Issues and Secret Superheroes (Recap/Review)

 Powerless - Season 1

After last week’s somewhat lackluster offering, this episode of Powerless offers up a secret superhero mystery and looks at Van’s daddy issues. Corben Bernsen guest stars as the senior Wayne who started the company that Van is running so badly.

At the start of the episode Van manages to lose an account worth millions; one that has been with the company since its inception. Vanderveer Wayne Sr. swoops in to express his disdain and anger at Van’s mismanagement of the situation.

Van retreats into himself and Emily offers to bail her boss out. She tells him about her father’s flower shop, much to his chagrin, and promotes a positive attitude and strong work ethic in order to get Van moving.

Meanwhile, Jackie, Ron and Teddy believe the new guy in the office; Alex, is actually the new superhero in town; The Olympian.  As the trio try to work out if Alex really is the new very active superhero, Ron sets up cameras in the men’s restroom to catch Alex changing into The Olympian.

Emily realizes that Atlantis’s upcoming celebration of “Sinking Day” offers a great opportunity to get a new client to replace the one that Van lost earlier in the episode.  She and Van work together and he almost jeopardizes the whole thing when he lies and says that Aquaman will be attending their own Sinking Day celebrations.

The Atlantians (Ron claims he comes from Atlantis although everyone swears he said he was from Atlanta) ask to attend the Wayne party and Van manages to win them over despite Aquaman not turning up.

Vanderveer intercedes to close the deal, upsetting his son Van in the process, but has to back off when the group insist that they will only deal with Van. The younger Wayne almost gets a compliment from his father but blows it.

Emily has saved the day and as this drama played itself out, Ron, Jackie and Teddy learn that Alex is not The Olympian. (Wendy gets to the root of the matter by knocking the suspected superhero out cold.)

This episode moved back into the campy and unique verse of the superhero theme it promised. The Olympian saves a school bus and appears every time that there is a problem.  It put the show back on board and left the more mundane aspects to run along side the premise of Powerless.

Alan Tudyk was allowed to be hysterically funny this week. His song writing, as a reaction to his father’s rejection and condemnation, was spot on. While Tudyk’s comedic timing prowess is above and beyond the call of duty, the actor is also able to make himself look like a live muppet (All bulging eyes and downward turned mouth) which is the delightful icing on the comic cake.

The rest of the cast; Kirk, Pierson, Funches and Pudi, interacted perfectly after being allowed to move away from Hudgens’ Pollyanna (as in Sunnybrook Farm Pollyanna) attitude and influence. Zeroing in on Van Wayne made the entire episode funnier.

Powerless is faltering a bit as it heads into its first season. If, however, they move more towards including their original premise into each episode things should pick up.

The series airs Thursdays on NBC. Tune in and see what you think.

Cast:

Guest starring Corben Bernsen as Vanderveer  Wayne Sr and Matthew Atkinson as Alex.

Powerless: Wayne Dream Team – Rumbrella (Review)

 Powerless - Season 1

So episode two of Powerless “Wayne Dream Team” steps back from the show’s basic premise and devolves into a pallid version of The Office. It becomes less about living in a verse where super heroes battling super villains is not the most important thing on the table.

Granted, the “rumbrella” is a direct link to a super battle dropping tons of rubble on grandma and those around her. However, this and the Super Hero Fantasy League are not the driving factors here. The SHFL is just another version of fantasy football and this lack of originality will kill this so-so comedy.

The big complaint here is that apart from the opening premise in the show’s pilot, the series really has very little to do with any Marvel or DC caped crusaders. Sure Van Wayne is Bruce Wayne’s cousin but the savior of Gotham was not mentioned this week at all.

Fiery super villain’s equalled one. The baddy flew into the prologue and wiped out the pastry vendor’s merchandise. Apart from the rubble protecting umbrella, invented because of the dangers in living in super hero haven, and the choosing of super heroes for the fantasy league, the comic book allusions were dropped.

Emily trying to fit in with her employees, working to be both friend and boss was amusing, as was the HR tyrant who picked on both Emily and Van, but hardly befitting a show about a world beset with problems due to the constant conflict in the skies about town.

Not to complain but for a show set in a place where comic book heroics are supposed to make life miserable for the average denizen, not to mention  make more money for Wayne Enterprises, there should be more references and interactions.

Hudgens is cutely annoying and amusing. Tudyk plays his role with the usual comic aplomb and the rest of the cast work brilliantly. Michael D. Cohen killed it as the small yet pushy head of HR who bullies everyone but forces those who retaliate to watch a six hour anti-bullying video. 

The relationship between Jackie and Van is spot on, the segment where Wayne tries to make his assistant feel guilty was funny but once again, this could be in any setting.

“Wayne Dream Team” feels like a step backward and one can only hope that as the season progresses that there will be more made of this comic book world and the consequences of living there.

(There was a funny bit where Emily talks of finding a cheap place to rent in Mu-To – short for “Murder Town” and the crack about places near where pedophiles congregate. But, once again, these gags could work regardless of the comic book premise.)

Powerless needs to up its game. Having Superstore as its lead-in will ensure a certain amount of viewers but they will not stick around unless the show really delivers. Superstore is consistently funny each week with a splendid cast and great scripts.  It may well turn out to be a hard act to follow.

Powerless airs Thursdays on NBC. Stop by and see what you think.

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Cast:

Powerless: Wayne or Lose – Alan Tudyk and Vanessa Hudgens (Review)

 Powerless - Season Pilot

Powerless on NBC feels a bit like “reality” mixing uneasily with the comic book verse of Batman, Superman and all those caped heroes who frequent Gotham City, Metropolis and so on. “Wayne or Lose” follows Emily on her first job at an insurance company run by Bruce Wayne’s cousin Van.

Centering primarily on a world where “normal” people are in constant danger of being hurt when super heroes and super villains engage,  Powerless and its female protagonist feels like an extension of the audience.

Emily is, in essence, us; she represents our “everyman” existence but she is in a world where super heroes are a fact of life. Where Ms. Locke comes from, super heroes are flyovers only and never stop in to battle evil. Now in her new job, they are common enough to be mundane.

Hudgens is the “hayseed” who travels to the big city to make a change. She wants to leave big footprints wherever she works and the insurance company gives her a chance.

Emily is the only one impressed by all the super activity going on in the big city. On the subway, when the Crimson Fox saves the train from crashing and killing numerous innocent citizens, only Ms. Locke finds the incident exciting.

Her new company’s think tank and developers are only copying other products and changing the name and colours of their versions. Emily comes in and tries to motivate the bunch but unfortunately they have seen it all before. Four times before in fact.

Locke confronts Wayne when she learns that there were four predecessors who all left. Although Emily is less upset when she finds that they left after being injured as bystanders to a super battle. It seems that her position at Wayne Security will be short-lived.

Van learns that his cousin has fired them all and he will be absorbed into the Gotham branch of the company, something Van has dreamed of. Emily pulls out all the stops and invents, with the help of her team, a product completely different from the competition’s.

At the end of the episode they learn that Batman has used a variation of their super villain warning system and they are all excited. Emily has been accepted, somewhat, and it looks like she will be staying on at the company.

Powerless, despite featuring the more than capable Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi and a grown up Vanessa Hudgens, is more cute than funny. NBC have opted for a humorous take on the comic book craze by poking gentle fun at the premise of super heroes and super villains endangering innocent civilians.

It may work, although the network have stated that they will not be entering the same DC verse as CW; with Supergirl, Arrow and The Flash. This series is focusing mainly on the Gotham/Batman verse and creator Ben Queen (Cars 2, Drive) is gently easing the audience into this new verse.

With a hero known as the Crimson Fox and a villain called Jack-O-Lantern this was not a promising start to an offshoot of the Wayne family caped crusader. There is a mention of the Joker and in teasers for the show it appears that Emily does date one of the Riddler’s henchmen but this feels like a pallid nod to the “real deal.”

With the blackly comic Gotham already poking fun at the genre with its prequel story of the legend of Batman, this feels like a G rated knock off, somewhat akin to the products that Van’s apathetic insurance company have blandly copied in the series.

Powerless may well turn out to be a barrel of laughs. However the pilot was not overtly funny. It relied instead upon unlikeable two dimensional characters and Hudgens’ “Pollyanna” performance for a few chuckles. Tudyk was pretty much wasted in the premiere and considering his penchant for comedy could have brought a lot more to the role.

NBC have brought us a cute-sy type comedy that needs to up its game if it wants to succeed against the competition. The vastly superior, and damned funny, Superstore may well lead a few viewers to this new show but unless things improve, they will not stick around.

Powerless  airs Thursdays on NBC. Head on over and see what you think. Will this be a hit for Vanessa Hudgens and Alan Tudyk or a miss?

Cast:

Con Man: Season Two Finale – Shock-A-Con Shocker (Review)

Ep 11 Alan and Laura

The hilarity continues right up till the last moments of the season two finale of Con Man. Episode 11 sees Wray struggling to meet with Finley and Bobbie’s increasingly desperate attempts to take the final Hemsworth out of the picture.

Wray’s agent is not the only person dead set on removing Girth, Stutter is still creeping around with his camouflaged guns.  Later, he shows Wray that his adapted sniper rifle shoots bean bags.

Nerely spends a good bit of time “saving” Tiffany from drinking. He ends up imbibing a good bit of alcohol before going over to speak with Finley. After Tiffany orders Wray a tequila, she reorganizes his shirt. After pulling out the tail of the garment she advises him to “show your tits.”

Yanking open the top buttons of Wray’s shirt reveals a hairy chest. Tiffany is shocked and confused. “What is that?” she asks and upon being told it is chest hair, remarks wonderingly “it grows there?” “Put it away,” she says, “I don’t like it.”

Wray replies that he could if she had not ripped off his buttons. He then goes to speak with Finley only to find Girth there already. As the two men start to compete for Farrow’s attention, Bobbie shows up in an ethnic costume to divert Hemsworth.

Ep 11 Mindy Sterling
MINDY STERLING AS BOBBIE

The diversion turns into a billabong attack which wounds the actor over his right eye. Bobbie flees and Girth goes to give himself a “stitcheridoo” with some dental floss and a stick.

Wray talks to Finley and Brenda comes up to support him for the lead role in “Doctor Cop Lawyer.” She then attacks a woman serving cocktails dressed in black. Finley gets drink spilt on her back and leaves. Wray is startled by a camouflaged Stutter, whose sniper rifle cleared the room when it went off accidentally earlier.

Episode 12 starts off brilliantly with Wray talking to John the bartender. Nerely believes that he is really Casper Van Dien, after he tells of a boy who dares to dream big.  The entire interaction turn out to be a dream which ends with Wray screaming.

(Kudos to Tudyk and his team for getting Van Dien’s Starship Trooper co-star Dina Meyer for that split second cameo.)

Realizing that he is missing the “Spectrum” board Wray rushes across the comic con floor. He stumbles across Girth, who has stitched up his wound with cinnamon dental floss, and the two almost have a fight.

Ep 12 Liam and Alan
Garth Hemsworth and Wray Nerely

Nerely rushes off before things get physical and Hemsworth chases after Wray.  The two enter the recently closed down “Obstacle Corpse,” following closely behind Brenda who rushes through without a scratch, and Stutter shoots Nerely with a beanbag round.

Girth saves Wray but loses out on the lead in “Doctor Cop Lawyer.” Wray gets the part and learns that shooting on the new series starts on September 15. He gets cast because Finley Farrow believes he is “broken” a quality that she insists is crucial to the character.

Wray makes it to the panel and while struggling to control his contempt for his former cast mates he pays lip service to the idea of the movie. He then goes about the long process of insulting everyone, including fans of the show.

Jack reveals that shooting on the movie will start on September 15 and Wray somewhat spectacularly undergoes a meltdown on stage. He tells the world that he will not be doing the film and his old pal Jack Moore is hurt and a little bit angry.

Ep 12 Nathan
Jack Moore

Tiffany sobers up long enough to recommend moving the start date of the movie to allow Wray to do both projects. Before Jack moves things on to the Q&A portion of the panel, he texts his agent telling him he now wants the lead role in “Doctor Cop Lawyer.”

The last two episodes of Con Man brought everything together perfectly. The long build up to the chase through the deadly obstacle course, that mic drop moment and Wray’s decision to drop the “Spectrum” movie role left Nerely right back where he started. Still unhappy with where his career has  headed since “Spectrum” the television show was cancelled.

A lot of comedy moments were scattered throughout the two episodes. The Shock-a-Con/Talk-a-Thon battle between the hosts, Bobbie’s attack on Girth, that long drawn out fart from Tiffany and the interaction between Wray and the “child star” earlier were hysterically funny.

The sight-gag of Brenda rushing pell mell through those blades of death was also a brilliant comic touch.

Con Man ends on a flat note for Wray.  Somewhat tellingly, it reveals that the actor, whose best friend really was Jack Moore (emphasis on the was), really is his own worst enemy.

With season two ending on an audience member asking Wray about dumping on his old cast and refusing the role it looks like there may well be a third season on the cards.

There are certainly enough actors to keep up a never ending stream of uber cool cameos, think Dina Meyer here, and this fact alone is a good reason to bring the show back again.

For fans of the series, Comic Con HQ have set up a binge session where both seasons can be seen for free over the first seven days. Once the week is up, viewers will have to pay $5 a month, or $50 for an annual pass.


Cast:

Guest stars Ricki Lindhome as Janey Carney, Josh Dean as Rico Java, Liam McIntyre as Girth Hemsworth, Laura Vandervoort as Finley Farrow and Dina Meyer as other bartender.

Con Man: Back to the Past and Dawn of Girth (Review)

Ep 9 Stan Lee 2

Just when it seems that Con Man cannot bring in any more celebs for cameo’s along comes Stan Lee, aka The Generalissimo, for a quick turn at “Shock-a-Con” in the VVIP room. After last week’s musical theme, this week sees Wray at the big con, the one that Jack has been so desperate for his Spectrum cast-mates to attend.

Wray arrives and upon entering his room finds that Bobbie has been living in his accommodation for three days. She has eaten his complimentary welcome basket, slept in his bed, and left it damp, and basically trashed the place.

Stutter is in his room, camouflaged as a potted plant, and he offers to shoot the last Hemsworth who is up for Doctor, Cop, Lawyer. The rest of the Spectrum cast arrive and Tiffany is still in rehab, Brenda has seven pounds of fat around her neck and Dawn still, seemingly, has the hots for Wray.

He kicks everyone out of his room and just as it seems that he and Dawn will have wild sex, she reveals that motherhood has changed her. She leaves to breastfeed one of the twins. After learning that her children are four years old, Wray asks why she is only feeding one. “The other one was getting hands-y,” she replies.

Wray goes down to speak with Jack who is in the VVIP room. Everything is free, laser surgery, manicures, pedicures, massages, et al, are included for the very, very important people. Wray is stopped by security until Jack clears him.

Once inside the room, Wray learns that another perk of being a VVIP, is to have a lifelike cardboard cutout to fool the con crowd. Wray does not have one as he is only an IP. Jack explains about his agent turnaround and just why he is so keen to have Spectrum made into a film.

Wray, touched that he old friend confided in him, begins to tell Jack about his journey only to find that Moore has departed and left  his cardboard cutout on the chair next to Wray.

Ep 10 Alan and nathan cut out

“Dawn of Girth” has the last remaining Hemsworth queueing up to get Wray’s autograph. He claims to be a huge fan of the actor. It is a ruse set up by Hemsworth to point out that Wray is a science fiction actor.

Girth appeals to the crowd and amid their cheers maintains that Wray could never convincingly play a cop, doctor, or lawyer. The “lost” Hemsworth is hoping that this puts him in the lead for Doctor, Cop, Lawyer.

Bobbie’s plan is for Wray to “sex up” the female star of Doctor, Cop, Lawyer, who is rumored to have co-star approval on the upcoming show. As the stars of Spectrum participate in group photos at the con, sans Jack who is represented by his cardboard cut-out, Bobbie keeps reminding Wray that he needs to have sex with Finley.

Dawn, who previously decided that she no longer found Wray irresistible, suddenly changes her mind. As the group gets smaller and smaller, Dawn goes on the attack.

Some of the standout moments in this episode had Stutter (Henry Rollins) as a plant and then part of the damp bed. The unhinged co-star is also selling guns, aka pieces of art, at the con and Wray accidentally causes the thing to go off.

The season two finale is rapidly approaching and the reunion of Wray with his old Spectrum co-stars promises to end things with a bang. (Pun intended.) Wray learns in episode 10 that Jack has not nailed down all the funding required to make the film.

As Wray tells his friend earlier, just seeing his old co-stars has made him feel crazy, and he worries for his own sanity. If Jack cannot get the film funded, he may well join his old pal/co-star on the “loony list.”

Con Man continues to be brilliantly funny and it is going to be interesting to see where the Doctor, Cop, Lawyer thing goes. Will Bobbie manage to get  Wray the part or will Finley Farrow opt for Girth Hemsworth?

Ep 10 Mindy

Guest stars Ricki Lindhome as Janey Carney, Josh Dean as Rico Java, Liam McIntyre as Girth Hemsworth, Laura Vandervoort as Finley Farrow.