Back in 2001, the newly released comic series Powers by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming was first optioned by Sony Pictures. Since then, the comic book adaptation has sat in TV limbo–a pilot was greenlit and filmed in 2011; the show was slated to air in 2012 and then immediately removed to be “retooled and recast;” the FX network ordered more scripts, but did no recasting or filming on the new pilot; in 2012, Bendis even said (on his tumblr) that the show was still being worked on, “its slow and steady but we are still alive”–while the comic series itself has thrived (between intermittent delays) with four volumes spanning almost 100 issues.
Now, the Hollywood Reporter has officially announced that the Powers show will find a new home–right on the Sony PlayStation video game console.
The cop series, noted for its dark, sarcastic take on superheroes and the world they live in, will likely be a 10-episode production which will recast the entire project, starting with replacing head writer Charles Eglee (The Shield, Dexter) with Charlie Huston, a comic book writer and crime novelist. The show is set to be a one-hour drama that followers Detective Christian Walker, an ex-power, and Deena Pilgrim, an up-and-comer in the Homicide department, and will be an amalgamation of superhero, crime noir, and police procedural genres.
It’s great to see a show with such a long history of being a “difficult adaptation” (according to FX president John Landgraf) finally getting a chance to come to the small screen, but the fact that Sony’s PlayStation will be the place to host it comes as a small surprise. Although Microsoft’s XBOX One has already begun developing a drama adaptation of its wildly successful game series Halo, hosting any sort of media solely through a single platform alienates your audience through price-point alone (the PS4 costs upwards of $399).
Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lyndon had hinted at the PlayStation creating a space for original scripted series at last summer’s E3, but the company’s previous attempts at multimedia original content, an interactive online magazine called Qore, fell flat. It will be interesting to see how the series is handled through the PlayStation system, if it will cost a subscription or purchase fee, and how Sony will handle streaming or downloading the series. One thing is certain: this adds yet another name to the ever-increasing number of outlets that are producing digital streaming-only original content
And maybe we’ll get to see Warren Ellis guest star in Powers when it’s finally released.