powerless

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Cancelled because it was too smart, funny, and interesting compared to the rest of NBC’s current line-up, one of the remaining unaired episodes of Powerless hit he Internet this weekend. Featuring Adam West (who previously provided the narration for the show’s pilot episode) in a guest-role as Wayne Enterprises Chairman West, the episode marks one of the actor’s last appearances before his death. While the circumstances for the episode finally seeing the light of day are unfortunate, the episode is one of the show’s best and gives us glimpse at where the show could have gone in further exploring the DCU had it not been cancelled.

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Sometimes we all need to vent. Not making it out of the Wayne Securities offices in time for the company retreat Emily (Vanessa Hudgens) spent weeks planning, her team gets locked in the building during Dr. Psycho’s gas attack. Emily’s attempts to make the best out of a bad situation lead her into getting dosed with the gas which makes the normally conscientious co-worker brutal in her honesty to her teammates who, if they wish to save her, will have to make the ultimate sacrifice… by singing Kelly Clarkson karaoke.

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Charm City isn’t a great place to be a woman, super-powered or otherwise. Emily (Vanessa Hudgens) makes a new friend after stepping in to save Green Fury (Natalie Morales) from the tabloid media (who only want to discuss her recent break-up with another super-hero). When she butts up against her own glass ceiling at her first board meeting, Emily hatches a plan to use Green Fury’s celebrity to solve both of their problems by rebranding her as a strong hero and the star of Wayne Securities new ad campaign. Of course, things don’t exactly go to plan.

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The lead story of “Van v Emily: Dawn of Justice” could fit into any office comedy. Revolving around Emily‘s (Vanessa Hudgens) desire to get her own office and Van (Alan Tudyk) being threatened of a subordinate’s success, the pair square off in the most ridiculous way possible – by competing against each other by using a child’s playset. Loosing the competition, but breaking Van’s ego in the process, it falls to Emily to put her boss back together again. There are some nice touches here, like Van going through a ridiculous assortment of trophies obviously purchased for him by his parents and Jackie’s (Christina Kirk) reveal of the evil truth behind the employee of the month award.

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Over Teddy‘s (Danny Pudi) objections, Emily (Vanessa Hudgens) submits his newest invention for company-wide awards. Unaware for how her emotional employee takes the prospect of both success and failure, things get frosty in the office (and not only because the beginning of summer means the arrival of cold-based villains who begin freezing everything in sight). In an expected, but still a humorous twist, Teddy’s heat gloves do come in handy with the return of Crimson Fox (Deanna Russo) leaving all well and good in the offices of Wayne Securities once again.

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“Sinking Day” plays on the incompetence of Van Wayne (Alan Tudyk). After her boss costs Wayne Securities their oldest client, raising the ire of Van’s father (Corbin Bernsen), Emily (Vanessa Hudgens) rallies the team to land an even bigger client in Atlantis. Despite his obvious ineptitude, Van shows surprising skill in helping to schmooze the Atlantians and help close the biggest deal the company has ever seen. Directed by Broken Lizard‘s Jay Chandrasekhar, the latest episode has a goofy energy that is highlighted by Tudyk’s comic timing while showing us that Van Wayne does have some game, even if I’m not sure anyone knows what that game might be. Bernsen is unexpectedly terrific as Van’s far more successful father; here’s hoping we see more of him this season.

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After successfully stopping Wayne Security from being shutdown, Emily‘s (Vanessa Hudgens) latest struggle is to try and be both a boss and friend to her team while getting them to take the deadline of their next product release more seriously. To do this she plays a little fast-and-loose with the truth, using the head of HR (Michael D. Cohen) to fight her battles for her, which of course eventually blows up in her face. While Emily’s choices initially backfire, standing up to take one for the team does buy her some credibility going forward as well build some trust between the team and their new leader.

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I know what you’re going go say. Another super-hero show? Yes, but this one is more super-hero adjacent. With iZombie still on hiatus, our current run of super-hero TV has had a decidedly lacking in fun and whimsy in favor of darker storylines (with the exception of the almost always optimistic Supergirl). More office comedy than true super-hero fare, NBC taps into an unexplored part of the super-hero universe – the regular people. In a world beset with super-villains and their constant destruction, somebody has to look out for the average Joe. For the citizens of Charm City that company is Wayne Security (the less-known subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises).

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