"Powers" will push the superhero genre back onto American television

Currently, audiences love crime procedural television shows. After the smashing success of CSI and the various Law & Order spinoffs, it’s like every new show is trying to pull in a portion of that audience.

Last week I mentioned “Poe” and the possibility of seeing some fantasy elements in its plot. A few days ago another series was quietly greenlit for Pilot production, “Powers,” which is certain to contain lots of fantasy elements.

If you haven’t had the pleasure, “Powers” is a comic book series which centers on a pair of detectives in a special division which investigates superhero oriented crimes.

One detective is a former strongman hero, who has lost his powers, but retains his deep understanding of the superhero community. The other is a young woman who has only just discovered her own secret superpowers. 

As with most such stories the greatness is in the dynamic between the protagonists, as they explore the story, and as the audience explores the implications of a world full of superheroes from the outside.

The series has been running steady, though under a couple different headers, since 2000, and so has a deep store of storyline to draw on. 

Americans haven’t seen a decent superhero television show since Heroes, and there is still the hope that we might see one soon which does not feel the need to adapt existing comicbooks, but we genre lovers are used to taking what we can get.

Everyone got a bit of a spoiler when Sackhoff, known for her role as Starbuck in the recently finished reinterpretation of Battlestar Galactica, tweeted about it a couple days before the official announcement on Friday. 

Sackoff’s potential involvement in this project is encouraging, as it would lend some essential star power to the series, since Sackoff has become one of those women, like Summer Glau and Amanda Tapping, whom geeks love to watch, even if mostly because they remind us of the great projects they were once involved in.

Is this a good trend for audiences who love genre television? Probably. Producers know now that all they have to do to sell any show is put in a detective with a gimmick (even a lame one) at the lead.

Whatever has caused this surge in the popularity of procedural crime drama, the networks have certainly decided to capitalize on it.

One can hardly move without bumping into another detective show, and if they can sell sf/f to television audiences by wrapping it in procedural crime bacon, so be it. 

Perhaps after a few seasons of these new shows, general audiences will be willing to swallow genre entertainment all by itself, realizing that it’s healthy, and really the best thing for what ails them.