How DC super heroes are becoming ‘Powerless’

Starring Vanessa Hudgens.When: Premieres 8:30 p.m. Thursday.Where: NBC. What: Comedy that takes place in the world of DC Comics, but it’s not about superheroes.

Watching people have fun with it, though, is pretty rare. “You don’t see that every day,” says Vanessa Hudgens’ character Emily Locke on the new NBC comedy “Powerless,” after the metro train she’s on is almost destroyed in a fight between a red-outfitted superhero named Crimson Fox and a supervillain. With superhero universes filling so many screens these days — big and small — watching somebody in a geeky outfit save some version of the world is really pretty commonplace. “Actually, ” huffs a disgruntled fellow rider, “you see that every day.” “Powerless,” debuting Thursday, is DC Comics’ first foray into comedy.
”Originally, the series was set in an insurance company, but after talking with DC the showrunners landed on security products, Schumacker says. When asked for how the weight loss has affected him, he ticks off a couple of things. They are really funny.” But when she adds, “I’m not as good as them” on that count, Funches, who is known for his quick wit, chimes in, “Oh, don’t, you.”“She’s game,” says the comedian. “We still wanted to do the idea that they’re working on stuff that will make you or me a little bit safer while there are demigods running around causing destruction.” Hudgens describes her comic co-stars as “hysterical. Looking svelte, Funches says he has lost 130 pounds. “People are seeing me more as the full actor, instead of just like a fat best friend type of thing.
“ ‘The Office’ is my all-time favorite show and I loved ‘Parks and Recreation,’ and they are both on NBC,” says the 28-year-old actress and singer. “So when I found out NBC was doing another half-hour workspace comedy, I was, like, ‘Oh, that would be an amazing thing to be a part of.’ Then adding DC Comics as the backdrop for the show, I just knew that it would be something completely original.” Danny Pudi (“Community”) and comedian Ron Funches play a couple of the researchers on Emily’s team, and Christina Kirk is Van’s jaded assistant.Hudgens says she was drawn to “Powerless” because she loves workplace comedies.

Of course, no one in the security firm — whose aim is to make products for real people to deal with the fallout from all the super damage — knows they are working for Batman. The series takes place in Charm City, sort of “a Cleveland without Lebron” on “Earth-P,” which is part of “a universe within the overall DC multiverse.” Well, that’s how executive producer Patrick Schumacker describes it anyway. The company is run by the self-absorbed and very un-superhero Van Wayne (Alan Tudyk), Batman’s cousin, who is desperate to move up the corporate chain to the headquarters in Gotham City. It’s there Emily has been hired as director of research and development for Wayne Security, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises. Yes, as in, that Bruce Wayne.