A must-listen for fans of Powers is this week’s Nerdist Writers Panel, in which screenwriter/showrunner Chic Eglee gives a fairly substantial update about what’s happening with the FX TV show based on the series. The short version is that it’s not dead, despite the various setbacks that it’s suffered through; the network has ordered three more scripts, and the pilot will (hopefully – he’s not definite on this fact) be reshot after being re-worked significantly to tone down the more outre genre elements. Here’s how he explained what had happened to the original pilot, and how the show will be different for the second go-round:
I spent a week with Bendis up in Portland, you know, really trying to nail down a very simple mythology that’s easily articulated to – We were talking about this a little bit earlier. One of the reasons why we’re re-doing the pilot… The fan base seemed to grasp the show, it tested very well, people who were used to genre storytelling. The broader audience – read, “older audience” – was like “Holy shit, when did this happen? People could fly around and do all this shit?” and they really lacked context, and they, you know, it’s like you were saying about Superman. Why give a shit if this guy could do anything? So what we’ve done is to sit down and really come up with, we’ve spent a lot of time just nailing down the mythology.
Especially if you’re doing a cop show in a post-CSI era, you know, it’s really got to be bulletproof, because it’s a very smart audience that’s out there. You can’t just be pulling stuff out of your ass week to week. So we’ve actually tried to come up with – That’s different, by the way, from Bendis’ world; there’s a lot of slipping and sliding, and I say this with all envy, that Brian is able to do that in the graphic novel[s], but different powers, and able to change dimensions and time, and a TV audience doesn’t get invested in somebody that’s been around for 30,000 years and if they get killed then they’re gonna reincarnate, it’s too hard to explain. Especially for me, coming out of more linear procedural kinda stuff, I’m less interested in writing that. So what we’ve tried to do is really establish the laws of physics for our show, and actually put underneath a kinda metaphysical underpinning to it, that could have some semblance in reality if one were of a metaphysical stripe. So that it’s not just pure science-fiction, and somebody’s from Alpha Centauri and everybody on Alpha Centauri has these powers.
It’s significantly different from the comic book, but it serves our world really well.
He also revealed the structure of the first season, as it currently stands: “Who Killed Retro Girl” will serve as a running plot throughout the entire season – Yes, Powers will be the superhero The Killing – with each episode having its own narrative arc within that larger structure (He purposefully didn’t say that each episode would have its own crime, interestingly enough). The show, he said, is really about Christian Walker as “The Man Who Fell To Earth,” and who finds out how to be a regular human through his job.
I’m not enough of a Powers fan to know whether or not this sounds promising for those who adore the comic. What say you, Powers fans?