Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder are all back, putting ABC and Shonda Rhimes’ TGIT in full swing again. But NBC and CBS are bringing some newbies to Thursday primetime this week with very different results: one worth watching and one most certainly not.
As I say in my video review above, the one that packs a lot of punch is NBC’s Vanessa Hudgens-led Powerless, a charming comedy with legs, a smart premise and a nice Batman connection that premieres at 8:30 PM on February 2. Premiering at 10 PM that same night is CBS’ Training Day, a numbingly heavy-handed adaptation/sequel of sorts to the searing 2001 film from writer David Ayer and director Antoine Fuqua. The latter is the one to miss.
Even with the presence of the usually great Bill Paxton, the 2017 version of Training Day — the movie that rightly won Denzel Washington an Oscar and saw Ethan Hawke nominated — is a mean-spirited piece of work pumped up on toxic testosterone. With a one-line nod to the original pic, the cliché-packed series from Warner Bros TV, Fuqua and Jerry Bruckheimer flips the racial roles as Paxton now plays a suspected out-of-control LAPD detective, like Washington’s truly threatening Alonzo Harris in the movie. Then there’s the rightly listless Justin Cornwell assigned to see just how far his new partner is going off book. This version is needlessly violent, outdated, pedantic and boring – and I am a huge fan of the source material.
Evolving out of the source material of the DC Comics universe, the workplace gem Powerless ponders what it is to live in a world full of the likes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Joker and not have superpowers. Specifically, the Warner Bros TV series developed by Ben Queen (he has since exited) parks High School Musical star Hudgens, who really soars here, as the new director of R&D at the floundering Wayne Security in Charm City. Her boss is Van Wayne, the Dark Knight’s dimwitted and vainglorious cousin portrayed by Alan Tudyk. Add in a mandate to invent products like Joker Venom antidote to help the regular Joe and Josie make it through the day, and the talents of Christina Kirk, Ron Funches, and Danny Pudi, and you have a winning formula that Lex Luthor would envy.
You can see more of what I think of Powerless and Training Day by clicking on my video review above. But know this: The former has lift-off that the latter totally lacks.