Playstation’s First TV Show: Powers

The first season of this Marvel comic adaptation marked the first (and probably not the last) venture into television for the PlayStation Network. Originally only available  through console streaming, it has now arrived on UK television. Season two is building on an interesting universe which has plenty of potential but fails to generate any sense of importance.

If the somewhat typecast, emotionally scarred detective is entertaining enough for you, then there is something to be had from Sharlto Copley’s performance as Christian Walker. He spends his time frowning, swearing, throwing stuff around, and engaging in flashbacks. This hardly sounds riveting, but it is a decent turnout from Copley. That sense of heartbreak and bitterness surrounding the death of his beloved is never lost amongst everything else which goes on.

This said love interest is Retro Girl – a dire, dire name for a superhero. As the world recovers from the tragedy, and wipes away a tear, everyone is swarming over her death; the police, the media, and the Feds. If it does not sound very original, there is a reason for that. For all of the shouting and running around of the characters, very little is accomplished or seems meaningful.

When the whole CSI meets X-Men bit starts to drag, the show swaps to the perspective of Calista Secor (Olesya Rulin), who has just discovered her powers. Her story is somewhat interesting in principle. The problem is that she is forced to deliver some appalling dialogue. If you are going to use superhuman abilities to take revenge on your abusive father, thus bringing closure to years of mental anguish and thoughts of revenge, do not call him ‘daddy”.

Powers is the kind of show that ultimately ends up with a niche audience, with ‘niche’ being the polite word for ‘small’. The central character is the only line of interest in a story which otherwise lacks thought, charisma, meaning or serious action. At least Michael Madsen gets some time to be sombre and brooding. Even these writers could not get that wrong.

Image: Wikimedia Commons 

By James Hanton

James is a former editor-in-chief having  been TV & Radio Editor before that, and has contributed over 100 articles to the newspaper. He won a Best Article Award in December 2016 for his feature about Universal Monsters in the film section, and also writes for Starburst Magazine UK and The National Student. James was part of The Student‘s review team for the 2017 & 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He can be reached at:

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