Powers: Season 1 Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Sharlto Copley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Closed-captioned, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: July 14, 2015
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2018


            The battle of superheroes at the box office occurs each summer, and occasionally in-between, but this overly-popular genre has recently bled into the world of television as well. Much of this is a way for the largest two comic book franchises to continue their narratives on the small screen, with more and more Marvel and DC shows popping up each year. Simultaneously there has been an increase in original entertainment from some unlikely places. Earlier this year we saw the success of a Netflix comic book series with “Daredevil,” but even the unlikely format of the PlayStation has entered the game with a series based on a graphic novel not belonging to either of the two powerhouse comic contributors.


            Based on the Icon comic series by the same name, “Powers” offers little new to the superhero genre despite the original universe created for these specific characters. What the show has is a somewhat unique concept, but within this narrative are familiar themes and derivative superheroes and abilities. With humans concerned over the unstoppable supernatural beings that some of the population has evolved into, a new branch of law enforcement is created. The Powers Division is responsible for keeping these individuals in-line when the real superheroes aren’t available. The Agents of Shield… I mean, Powers Division is headed up by a former hero named Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley), who lost his powers while helping put away one of the most feared villains named Wolfe (Eddie Izzard). Now he adjusts to being a mere human, forced to take down the criminals with powers by using his intellect and intuition instead.


    “Powers” has the freedom of not being on a network and takes advantage of this in many of the same ways that “Daredevil” did. There is a bit more violence than you might normally see, but the major difference comes in the dialogue, occasionally going overboard with the number of times the F-word is used. Even with all of this, “Powers” doesn’t feel remotely as edgy as “Daredevil.” This may be because the colorful costumes and lighting reminded me more of “Heroes,” or it could be due to the fact that the plot is occasionally more similar to the far darker Watchmen, and feels watered down as a result. It is likely a combination of both; the market is now so flooded with these narratives that it takes a lot more to provide something original.


    Despite the clever blending of a detective show format with the superhero narrative, “Powers” fails to ever impress with anything new or exciting. Even worse, the show lacks any sense of direction. There are only ten episodes in season one, but it still manages to feel over-long and convoluted. There are too many narrative threads dangling in the way, so that it is unclear what the main story is until near the end of the season. Along with the return of a villain named Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor), Walker has a new partner named Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward) to get used to, as well as his struggles with the desire to get his powers back. There is also a new drug that enhances powers, a handful of new heroes trying to make their name, and human groupies called “wannabes.” While some of these ideas are certainly interesting, none are fully developed properly. Instead, it just feels like a lot of loose ends are thrown at the audience in hopes that something will come off as an original idea within the overdone genre. I watched the entire first season with mild interest, but very little stayed with me five minutes after I had finished watching it.  


    The Blu-ray release for Season 1 includes all ten episodes on three discs. While the opportunity that the home entertainment release provides for those without a PlayStation plus network subscription is significant, I’m not sure that the show has the impact necessary for getting viewers to pay for the DVD, Blu-ray or a PlayStation subscription. Exclusive to the Blu-ray are a handful of extras, including a featurette about the adaptation of the comic book material, outtakes, and deleted scenes. Also included is an additional featurette about the added law enforcement element of the show. This one is also included on the DVD release as the sole extra.


    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

    Historical Significance:  5.5/10

    Special Features: 6.5/10

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