For those unaware, Powerless is the current DC comedy TV show that is airing on NBC. The show is in its first season and it appears that it is off to a rocky start. Whispers of ‘Powerless cancelled’ are starting to grow.
For those that watch the show, you will be thinking how this could be. The show does have its faults but it is not training wreck compared to some others and some of the concerning issues are not exactly their fault. Personally, this all feels eerily familiar to a much-beloved show long ago.
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Firefly was created by Joss Whedon and can be regarded as one of the greatest tragedies of TV. It was supposed to be the next greatest show to come to our screens but was cancelled by FOX after only one season.
The show to this day has a massive cult following and has had huge success in both DVD and Blu-Ray. The sequel film Serenity, which wrapped many of the TV series storylines, was hugely successful. It even gains followers to this day.
However, despite all of the above success Firefly was doomed before it even started.
Now I am not saying that Powerless is as awesome as Firefly because it’s not. Firefly ran, in my very biased Browncoat opinion, a perfect season. Powerless has not done that, but, I cannot help but compare how, just like Firefly, Powerless has been doomed from the start.
1: Time Slot
A shows time slot a can easily make or break a show before it has even begun. Back in the day Firefly aired on the notorious Friday night death slot. Needless to say, this wasn’t a good start as historically shows given this slot time tended to not last long.
Powerless has not exactly been given the death slot but it’s certainly not ideal. You can watch Powerless on NBC every Thursday night at 8:30 pm EST. The problem with that it is competing against much bigger, and well-established shows.
The Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy and Supernatural to name a few air on that exact same night at 8:00 pm EST on their respective channels. Therefore if you like both TBBT and Powerless you have the problem of choosing to miss the end or start of one of your shows due to the shows overlapping. If you watch Grey’s Anatomy or Supernatural then you are not catching Powerless at all as they end when Powerless ends.
Like I said, not exactly the death slot but it may as well be going up against those heavy hitters.
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2: Script Changes
It’s not uncommon for shows to go through script changes before its even began. Some, of course, are rightly justified and some are not.
Firefly was no exception. Before it even began executive bosses at FOX wanted to change the script as they were not happy that Gina Torres character, Zoe, was happily married to Walsh, Alan Tudyk. Whedon stuck to his guns on this one and refused to change the script to the point he offered an ultimatum of they either accepted it how it was or they didn’t do the show.
That wasn’t to say there were no changes in the Firefly storyline. There were some darker elements of the story that was either left out altogether or made a lot lighter to appease the more younger audiences.
Changes to Powerless also occurred before the show even began. However, instead of minor changes, the entire setting was changed.
Initially, it was set in an insurance company that handled superhero/villain related damage claims. This obviously changed to the current Wayne security setting.
Whether you would have preferred the initial setting is a debate for another time but, to entirely change the setting of the storyline is not a good thing and it played a big hand in our next point.
3: Poor Promotion
Promotion of Powerless didn’t exactly go down very well and we think that is hugely part to the significant plot changes that were made.
Many places reporting the details of the upcoming show were promoting it with the original insurance company storyline. In fact, some places still show Powerless set under the original setting.
Needless to say, people got a bit confused thinking they were about to watch one thing to find out it had been altered completely.
Firefly also went through some poor promotion before it began. Promotion and commercials run by the network failed big time when trying to convey the show. In a DVD commentary Chris Buchanan, producer, said that the promotional campaign suggested that Firefly was nothing but a wacky genre comedy.
It certainly does have its comical moments but it really wasn’t a comedy.
In Joss Whedon’s biography, Amy Pascale said that viewers who would have enjoyed the show were too alienated to watch and those who did watch due to the ads were very confused and disappointed.
4: Episode Scheduling
Firefly had a disastrous time when airing its episodes. For some strange reason FOX aired the episodes out of order, the show was essentially one large story so they needed to be watched in the correct order otherwise you could easily miss an important detail.
The most bizarre part of it was that the pilot episode, which introduces the characters, was the last episode to be aired by the network.
Powerless has not had it as rough with its episode scheduling but constant changes and last minute cancellation to air an episode has not done the show any favours and an episode has been missed out completely so far.
Thankfully Powerless does not have to be watched in a particular order. It does obviously help but it’s not as problematic to miss out an episode as it was with Firefly.
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When it all comes down to it this is the deciding factor. If it doesn’t have the ratings it’s a sure bet that the network will can the show.
Networks, at the endothermy, are a business. We get that, we truly do. Good ratings mean better advertising, therefore, more money for the network, therefore, more money for the show.
The problem is if you have all of the above then ratings are going to be affected.
Firefly was the prime example. Despite its massive following nowadays it didn’t match up when it came to ratings and therefore was ultimately cancelled.
Powerless appears to be going the same route. Ratings are low and with everything going against it from the start it looks like it might not make it to season 2.
So what do you think? Do you think Powerless will end in a similar way to Firefly? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts.
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Author: Callum Gunn
Describing himself as a self-appointed genius and nerd, Callum is primarily our social media and marketing manager but also a contributing blogger with a vast knowledge of TV and Movies.