FX’s pilot “Powers” has completed principal photography, and based on what network president and general manager John Landgraf has seen so far, it looks “really, really good.”
The show, based on the comic-book series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, is one of two drama pilots FX has in development; “Outlaw Country,” a crime/family drama set in Nashville, is the other (Landgraf likes what he’s seen of it as well). Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Television Critics Association press tour, Landgraf talked about why FX was interested in doing a superhero show.
Bendis and Oeming, he says, see “Powers” “really as a story more in the model of David Fincher’s ‘Seven’ or ‘Zodiac,’ or ‘The Shield,’” Landgraf says. “It’s a really gritty, edgy, very real, very dark cop show. It also has superhero elements in it, but they’re not front and center. …
“We saw it as a possibility to do a really interesting, different take on the cop show than had been done — and once you’ve had ‘The Shield’ on the air it’s pretty hard to top or even match that. You’ll notice we haven’t put a cop show on the air since ‘The Shield.’ The bar is fairly high. But what we’re always looking for is, is there the emotional weight possibly to tell a seven-season story? We think with ‘Powers’ there is.”
Landgraf also says the show, which stars Jason Patric (“The Lost Boys,” “Narc”), Lucy Punch (“Bad Teacher”) and Bailee Madison, is a chance to take what he calls “the dominant genre in film right now” — superheroes — and approach it in a different way than movies or past TV series have.
“Everything television has ever done in that genre would be the equivalent of an 8 or 9 o’clock show, meaning light, breezy, kind of special effects-oriented,” Landgraf says. “No one has aspired to do a show that’s a serious — not to say ‘Powers’ isn’t fun, but it aspires to be a serious drama. And it’s fascinating to me to try to reshape and reinvent a familiar genre. That’s something FX has done well over the years.”
Landgraf says he expects to see finished cuts of both the “Powers” and “Outlaw Country” pilots within the next six weeks, and a decision on whether one or both go to series will come another month or so after that.