Back in June 2012, FX reportedly had ordered several scripts from several different writers in effort to develop the popular comic book series 'Powers' for the small screen. 'Powers' follows two homicide detectives, Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, who are trying to do their jobs in a world that has superheroes and supervillains mucking things up. The pair of normal human detectives are assigned cases that involve costumed vigilantes, as Det. Walker had previously been a vigilante himself and often has ties to the cases they work.
From that script order, the people behind 'Powers' made a pilot episode... and then all went silent. So what happened? IGN caught up with John Landgraf, President of FX, and asked him if 'Powers' was DOA:
"No, still alive...After we made the pilot, we actually developed three more [episode] scripts. So then we had a pilot plus three scripts, and we decided between the pilot and the scripts that it wasn’t quite the series that we needed it to be. When I say we, by the way, Brian Bendis is involved in every phase of this conversation and discussion. But one of the scripts was written by this guy named Charlie Huston, and he was a novelist. Both I and Brian and others thought, 'Wow, there is actually something in the tone of this.'"
Brian Bendis, mentioned by Landgraf above, is the writer and co-creator of 'Powers' the comic book. He is currently the writer of 'All-New X-Men' for Marvel Comics. Charlie Huston, the writer Landgraf mentions, has previously written superhero comics as well, with issues of 'Moon Knight' and 'The Punisher' (both Marvel properties) to his credit.
"Charlie went up to Seattle, and they sat down and they talked, and read through all the books, and they came back with a new vision, basically. Essentially, a new pilot to begin with, which is a new, different story than the pilot that we shot. So that pilot is officially gone and dead, and the actors are all gone, but we’re developing a whole new pilot from scratch. I feel like we have to bring something to the table that doesn’t exist. Television adaptations of graphic novels, for the most part, have been the pretty good food you’ll take when really good food isn’t available, you know what I mean? For me, I’m not going to take second fiddle to Marvel or anybody....And if we can get Powers to that level, I’ll make another pilot, and I’ll put it on the air. But I’m not going to put anything less than an absolutely great version of Powers on the air. That’s like remaking a great film into a good film, and I don’t want to do that."
Given that the first pilot was scrapped entirely and FX has bothered to develop a second take, Landgraf and co. must really believe in the potential of 'Powers' as a series. Landgraf also seems to have a very healthy and respectful attitude towards the adaptation of comic books; perhaps the whopping success of 'The Walking Dead' have shown executives in television the value of original comic book properties.
'Powers' was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming.