After months of negative backlash on social media, The CW announced that it would be scrapping the pilot for their planned live-action Powerpuff Girls reboot and are reworking the series.
A pilot for the series was filmed in Atlanta, with the hopes that the show would get a straight-to-series order, but that’s obviously not happening with the current version.
The Powerpuff Girls update, titled Powerpuff, and following the child superheroes as adults, stars Chloe Bennet as Blossom, bisexual actress Dove Cameron as Bubbles, and queer and nonbinary actor Yanna Perrault as Buttercup. The pilot is currently being reworked with the same writers and cast, but with some major changes coming.
Mark Pedowitz, CEO and chairman of The CW spoke about what went wrong. “The reason we do pilots is, sometimes things miss,” he said. “We believe in the cast and in [writers Diablo Cody and Heather Regnier] and [executive producer Greg Berlanti] and studio Warner Bros.” But belief isn’t enough.
“In this case, the pilot didn’t work,” he continued. “Because we see enough elements in there, we wanted to give it another shot. It may have felt a little too campy and not rooted in reality. You learn things when you test things out. We felt, ‘Let’s take a step back and go back to the drawing board.’ This is a powerful property, it engaged a lot of interest, and we want to get it right.”
The backlash to the show online has been harsh. Just the idea of a “gritty” or “adult” Powerpuff Girls was more than enough for some. The show looked like even more of a trainwreck when some very cheap-looking costumes for a flashback scene were leaked and people thought that would be the characters’ looks throughout the show.
Criticism ramped up even further when an alleged pilot script leaked. The script featured exchanges like “Blossom’s fine. I saw on her Insta that she has a boyfriend, I saw on her LinkedIn that she got promoted, and I saw on Facebook that she still talks to Grandpa despite their political differences,” as well as jokes about being triggered, lesbian sex, and leaking each other’s nudes. It was a disaster, to put it mildly.
Pedowitz was asked if the script was real, and gave a non-answer, saying he hadn’t seen the script that leaked.
Still, others are excited for a possibly queer version of the characters. Additionally, Cody is the person behind Juno, The United States of Tara, and Tig Notaro’s series One Mississippi, and Berlanti is behind most of our favorite CW shows like The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Riverdale, Supergirl, and Batwoman. So the show has a pretty good team behind it.
Whether or not all these things can come together to make a good show is yet to be seen.