It’s a normal day in the life for Detective Christian Walker. His partner has just been killed while taking a suspect into custody and an old acquaintance has been found dead after a shady sexual encounter. Except the person who killed his partner was a super-powered maniac called Iron Impact, and his dead acquaintance was a superhero called Olympia.
That’s normal because Walker patrols the beat of the Powers police division.
The world he lives in is populated with established super-powered heroes and villains, while teenagers with burgeoning powers are all part of the coolest cliques. It’s all a media circus to the masses, but Walker’s seen both sides of things because he used to have powers too. His latest leads him to his old teleporting friend Johnny Royalle, the manufacture of a powers-boosting drug called Sway, and the return of the cannibalistic supervillain Wolfe.
That all sounds pretty interesting, right?
Wrong. It isn’t.
This loose adaptation of the comic book series from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming had a lot to live up to. Apparently the people at Sony (who produced this) targeted the interests of the average gamer to come up with just the right show for them, and they chose this. Sadly it’s a complete misfire from beginning to end, and the show lumbers from one clumsy exposition scene to another with very little ever happening.
There isn’t a single character who doesn’t seem to complain endlessly. Walker complains about his lack of powers, his partner Deena Pilgrim complains about Walker and her father, Royalle complains about life in general, Wolfe complains about being misunderstood, Retro Girl complains about the pressures of being Retro Girl and so on.
The worst character has to be the whiny Calista, who hooks up with anyone she thinks will get her further in life but doesn’t have a single appealing quality at all. And – no surprises here – she complains about everything.
Without any likeable characters, it’s hard to invest in a show. So maybe you’ll like the police procedural aspect of it. Assuming, that is, that you ignore the plot holes.
For instance, Walker steals some Sway that’s evidence. His partner, suspecting this, asks another cop to verify that it’s all still there. And… they never come back to that storyline.
Or try this: Pilgrim lectures Walker that they’re cops and have to follow the rules. This is just a few episodes after she thought it was okay for her and Walker to illegally break into Royalle’s nightclub.
They also ignore the decapitated corpse whose death almost certainly points to Royalle, the evidence that he’s been breaking into Wolfe’s jail cell on a regular basis, broke into a police interrogation room to remove a suspect, broke into Walker’s home to steal some neck-ties (don’t ask) and that he’s directly involved in the manufacture and distribution of drugs.
As for just what happened to Olympia and why Sway killed him, that’s never explained at all… even though that’s the main case!
Instead they plan to arrest him through entrapment for conspiracy to commit murder of a man who’s already on death row. This sort of inconsistency hurts the show, and the more you notice it the worse it gets. Maybe the redeeming factor could be the social satire it offers up?
On that level it fails too.
The media frenzy surrounding the people with powers offers some hope as being a strong plot point, but there’s nothing new on offer there either. As a drama it fails by ignoring more plot holes, like the non-existent investigation into a devious P.R. firm, or by skipping over details like who’s looking after the now-orphaned Krispin as a result.
The few fight scenes offer no tension or excitement at all, especially when (over the course of two episodes) Walker “confronts” supervillain Wolfe and they spend nearly 30 minutes doing nothing! As for Retro Girl floating into their “fight” scene, that’s just embarrassing wire work.
However, you may like this show if you’re a fan of Sony advertising. Sony appears to be the star of the show. Ever person has a Sony phone, watches Sony televisions, uses Sony laptops and reads data on Sony tablets, while Krispin plays on his Sony PlayStation console whilst wearing Sony earphones. The product placement in this is more than excessive, it’s severe overkill.
The oddest thing about this show though is how it pretends to be for adults. There’s smoking, constant swearing, bloodshed and an obsession with dubious sexual encounters. Yet this show presents less actual violence and sex than My Little Pony. It’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing, with lots of swagger but no real bite.
It’s a shame, really. The premise is good and the storylines had massive potential, but it’s poorly written, slow, pretentious, dull and ultimately unsatisfying.
If you manage to ignore all of those flaws, you may like it. But even then, you probably won’t.