For months now, I have seen the picture on my PSN homescreen about the show called Powers, but up until the last two weeks, I had not decided to watch the show. As time went on, I was seeing more and more online about this show, and it was getting pretty good feedback, so I decided I would sit down and watch the show and see it for myself. So I started up my PS4, opened up the Playstation video app and started the show. And from episode one, I was hooked.
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
The show, based on a graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis (who also created the show), is set in a world where people with superpowers exist, known as Powers, and for all intents and purposes, they are celebrities. The show pretty much asks the viewer what if superheroes existed in our media obsessed world? Well, Powers answers that question pretty well, as stated before. Powers are celebrities, not only using their powers for good (or bad) but as a way to build their brand and become millionaires. The star of the series, played masterfully by Sharlto Copley, is Christian Walker. Walker is a detective in the Powers Division of the LAPD, and as you might guess, they are the cops who handle powers cases. Walker has quite intimate knowledge of powers, as he was once a power himself called Diamond, having lost his powers about a decade before the start of the show.
Season 1 starts off with the death of an iconic power named Olympia, one of Diamond’s former teammates (along with Retro Girl and Trip Hammer) The show also starts off with the death of Walker’s partner, only to be replaced by Deena Pilgrim, who is played by Susan Heyward. From, here the story lines intertwine with another power named Johnny Royalle, a teleporter and former friend of Walker, a young girl named Calista (a wanna-be power), and Wolfe, perfectly portrayed by Eddie Izzard. The crux of this season focuses on a drug called Sway, which allows powers to super charge what they might have, making minor powers powerful for a short time. Early in the show, Walker and Pilgrim are looking for Calista, as she was the last person seen with Olympia before his death. In their search, they come upon Zora, a young woman with the power to manipulate light constructs.
As the season progresses, we get to meet not only Wolfe, but two of Walker’s oldest friends and partners, Retro Girl and Trip Hammer. Retro Girl is the quintessential super hero, standing for everything good and great with powers. She not only runs a successful life as a superhero, but also as a mentor to young girls. Trip Hammer, while not a power, is basically the Iron Man of this world. He is a brilliant inventor with a suit of armor. He also helps run the Shaft, a powers prison. Without getting more in depth with the story, be sure to really pay attention to Eddie Izzard’s performance as Wolfe. Wolfe is a power mentor and guru of sorts, but he also harbors a dark side: he’s killed and eaten literally thousands of people in his life, and he’s the one responsible for Walker losing his powers. Wolfe’s abilities increase the more he feeds, and Powers make him grow exponentially. Be sure to do yourself a favor and watch Season 1. I give it a solid 4.5 Bad Wampas out of 5
Season 1 has an amazing ending, which I will not spoil here. But season 2 picks up right at the end of Season 1, making it a great transition. Without going into detail, the events of season 1 lead to Calista gaining powers (similar to those of Retro Girl), Zora becoming an internet laughingstock, Walker still trying to find himself in this new, powerless state, and the demise of Chaotic Chic (an anti-powers movement)
Where season 2 really shines is the jump forward in fleshing out more and more of Walker’s back story. Early on, we are introduced to two FBI agents who are working with a Powers branch of the federal government, as each of them are Powers themselves. One of the agents is clearly a nod to the Thing, as he looks like stone and is super strong. The other agent is a Power who used to be known as Lynx, a criminal turned special agent. And they clearly have a history with Walker.
The biggest addition to this season is Super Shock, played by Michael Madsen. Super Shock is a legendary Power, regarded as the most powerful of all time. Basically, he’s Superman and the Hulk and Wolverine all rolled into one, as his powers and skills have no equal. At times, it’s hinted he’s so powerful, he can hear people from anywhere on the planet, and he’s also nearly 300 years old.
Overall, season 2 brings a lot more bang for your buck than season 1 did in terms of Powers being Powers. Season 1 had a much more compelling storyline and I think the acting was a little more polished, but season 2 was still very good. One thing the show does overall is whenever someone flies, it doesn’t look super polished or overly computer generated. While I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but regardless, I liked it. For season 2, I’m going 4 Bad Wampas out of 5.
So do yourself a favor and watch this show, especially if you’re a superhero junkie like me.