NBC developing DC Universe-set primetime comedy series, Powerless

Back when they cancelled Constantine, against the wishes of many ardent fans of the show, NBC lamented that maybe the network TV space has become too crowded with superhero shows. They also made it sound as though the lacklustre ratings of Constantine soured their desire to adapt anything else from the DC Universe pantheon for their programming lineup.

DC - Comics 1Well, it seems that NBC changed their mind on both those stances rather quickly. Word has come down today, via official Hollywood source, Deadline, that NBC will in fact be trying to jumpstart a new DC Universe-inspired show for their lineup, which is likely smart, as they would have been the only primetime TV network not owned by competitor, Disney without a DC-inspired tentpole otherwise, after they pulled the plug on Constantine earlier this year.

Ah, but there’s a twist though! The primetime TV series pitch, called Powerless, will not be another hour-long drama like the numerous other DC shows across network television at present, but instead, a half-hour comedy series! The show is about ordinary, non-powered insurance workers that carry on with their daily lives in a world inhabited by numerous DC heroes and villains. NBC describes it as being very much along the lines of one of their marquee comedy hits of recent years, The Office, but with a distinct superhero-style twist!

It actually sounds like a very promising, and amusing pitch for those who enjoy superhero media and workplace sitcoms alike, particularly after some movies like The Incredibles and The Avengers (and next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), have started to explore the backlash of destructive super-powered characters causing a lot of collateral damage to the environments around them. The show’s leads, which may or may not be recognizable non-powered characters from DC lore, are said to have the, “Worst job in the DC Universe”, dealing with insurance issues related to superhero negligence, and super-villain opportunism.

Before your imagination starts running wild with possibilities however, do bear in mind that Deadline has confirmed, as one could suspect, that several DC heroes and villains will be off-limits in Powerless, and this will unfortunately include the marquee DC heroes, with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all not being able to appear by the sounds of things. Batman would be especially sticky, given that the TV rights to the supporting cast and villains from Batman lore currently sit with FOX for Gotham. A heavy amount of the Superman supporting cast would no doubt be reserved by CBS as well, for this Fall’s upcoming DC-inspired drama series, Supergirl, which would inevitably prevent Supergirl herself from appearing on Powerless to boot. It’s also presumed that The Flash, Green Arrow, Vixen, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Atom, Firestorm, Black Canary, and even Constantine are all off-limits, due to the television rights held by The CW for their shared DC Television Universe, with the failed attempts to make a Wonder Woman TV series also possibly keeping her TV rights at The CW too. Lastly, the Teen Titans are still held by TNT in the television space, and will probably be inaccessible for Powerless, with TNT still working at their own pilot pitch for them, dubbed Titans.DC - Comics 2

Even then though, there’s thousands upon thousands of potential characters that Powerless could incorporate, which nonetheless makes it an exciting pitch. Perhaps Martian Manhunter? Plastic Man? Maybe Zatanna? Regardless, NBC has given the pitch a pilot order, though until said pilot is filmed and presented to the network, we probably won’t know much more for now. Hopefully, it goes to series though, to provide a lighter side of the DC Universe for primetime television.

Keep filing Eggplante for all news and updates on Powerless, and other developments from DC Entertainment on television.