Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

NBC hopes you’re Powerless to avoid its new superhero comedy

Photo: Powerless/NBC
Photo: Powerless/NBC

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, February 2. All times are Eastern.


Top picks

Steven Universe (Cartoon Network, 7 p.m.): Steven Universe’s week of brand-new episodes wraps up with the conclusion to the latest Pink Diamond arc. Steven, Greg, and the Crystal Gems try to escape Pink Diamond’s space station without being caught. But more importantly, Broadway icon Patti LuPone returns to voice Yellow Diamond, who butts heads with Blue Diamond over how to mourn their friend. Eric Thurm thinks a classic musical-theater ballad is always appropriate. Maybe something from Evita or Les Mis.

Powerless (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): What with the sheer number of superhero shows on TV, it was all but inevitable that a network would end up making a comedic one. And NBC is more than happy to step up to the plate. High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens stars as the newly hired director of research and development at Wayne Security. Run by Bruce Wayne’s cousin, Van Wayne (Alan Tudyk), the company creates products designed to help the defenseless bystanders who frequently end up in the crosshairs of superhero battles. The series went through some drastic retooling in the development process, but settled on a blend of superhero satire and superhero action. Danny Pudi, Christina Kirk, and Ron Funches round out the main cast in the DC series that will be distinct from both the Greg Berlanti DC universe and the DC Cinematic Universe. Here’s hoping it’s more like the former than the latter.

Riverdale (The CW, 9 p.m.): CW’s soapy take on Archie barrels forward with its second episode. Now that we’ve met our new versions of Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica, the show can get on with the business of its gossipy, murder-fueled plot. This week, Archie struggles with his secret, Veronica tries to make amends with Betty, and “tensions boil over” with Jughead and Archie. More importantly, however, there’s a fall pep rally and Josie And The Pussycats are performing! We’re not gonna lie, Josie and her crew are 80 percent of the reason we’re interested in this series. And LaToya Ferguson is hoping the band’s songs are at least as catchy as they were in the 2001 film.

Premieres and finales

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, 8 p.m.): Northern Exposure’s Rob Morrow guest stars on the season finale of Hell’s Kitchen. Finalists Heather and Ryan create menus for their last dinner service. Plus they’re treated to “makeovers,” which doesn’t sound super relevant for a cooking competition.

Superior Donuts (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): CBS’ latest multi-camera sitcom is based on, of all things, a Tracy Letts play that debuted at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company before moving to Broadway. The show centers on a run-down Chicago donut shop owned by Judd Hirsch’s former 1960s radical. He hires/butts heads with a hip young employee played by Jermaine Fowler. Plus Katey Sagal stops by to play a wry Chicago cop. The show debuts in a “special preview” tonight after The Big Bang Theory before moving to its regular time slot on Mondays.

30 For 30 (ESPN, 9 p.m.): This latest 30 For 30 documentary centers on the rise and fall of the infamous XFL, the pro football league that lasted less than a year. Director Charlie Ebersol digs into the famous failure and “explores the league’s influence on sports broadcasting today.”


Training Day (CBS, 10 p.m.): In addition to Superior Donuts, CBS is launching a new drama tonight. Based on the Denzel Washington movie of the same name, Training Day is set 15 years after the events of the film. Here Bill Paxton is the maverick and morally ambiguous head of LAPD’s Special Investigation Section while Justin Cornwell is the rookie secretly keeping an eye on him. In other words: It sounds like a standard cop show with virtually no connection to the movie other than its name. But, hey, those Warner Bros. execs have got to eat somehow.

Nirvanna The Band The Show (Viceland, 10 p.m.): Viceland’s latest series is a Canadian mockumentary about two dudes who call themselves “Nirvanna The Band.” The duo go to elaborate lengths to get gigs despite their lack of musical prowess. Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol created the show as a webseries, and now Viceland gives it the small-screen treatment.


Regular Coverage

Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 7:45 p.m.)

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 8 p.m.)

Scandal (ABC, 9 p.m.)

Top Chef (Bravo, 9 p.m.)

How To Get Away With Murder (ABC, 10 p.m.)

Baskets (FX, 10 p.m.)

Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m.)

Colony (USA, 10 p.m.)

Streaming pick

X-Men: The Animated Series, “Days Of Future Past” (Hulu): While Powerless is milking the superhero trend, this ’90s animated series kickstarted a whole generation’s interest in superheroes in the first place. The “Days Of Future Past” arc (season one, episodes 11 and 12) stands as one of X-Men: The Animated Series strongest stories. You can also check out David Sims’ guide to the other best episodes in the series.