Based on the award-winning book of the same name released in 2016 by Naomi Alderman, The Power is a brilliant action-packed sci-fi thriller (that also brings the writer on board as executive producer as it translates from page to screen) telling a brave story of female empowerment on a grand and global scale.
The narrative unfolds around a handful of vulnerable teenage girls in varying situations: there’s the mute abandoned teen called Allie (Halle Bush) who is adopted by a deeply religious and childless couple and then raped by her new father; Roxy (Ria Zmitrowicz), the wayward daughter of a mob boss called Bernie Monke (Eddie Marsan) who loses her mother in a burglary gone wrong; and a young gymnast called Tatiana (Zrinka Cvitešić) whose mother flings her into a life of luxury with an older man, despite her tender age of 15. These and the other international stories that emerge have one thing in common: they reveal the impact of mistreatment and abuse of females at the hands of misogynistic men.
Portrayed with a real sense of empathy and authenticity, these emotionally damaged girls suddenly develop the power to emanate electricity from their fingertips and take their revenge. Numerous medical tests determine the cause, and it soon becomes clear that the dormant ability can be honed and then transferred to all women, no matter their age or circumstance.
Toni Colette is a constant presence in all nine episodes, starring as Margot Clearly Lopez, the mayor of Seattle. She’s a woman in political power who is married to a doting and supportive husband (Rob, played sensitively by John Leguizamo), who allows her to shine in their equal relationship. The predominately female showrunners and directors have managed to create a space where things are turned on their head. The reversal of power means women have control and dominance in the way that men always have – something Colette gives wholeheartedly to her likeable character, who uses her platform to help others.
The Power is a long way from the usual YA dramas about American high-schoolers with supernatural powers, mainly because it unifies protagonists and stories from right across the globe, which makes it more densely layered and complex than a lot of the other series of its kind. It also feels like a timely reflection of the modern predicament, with the pandemic, protests in Iran and the debate about bodily autonomy. It’s a show that’s both original and intelligently crafted and that manages to turn “girl power” up to the max.
The Power is released on Amazon Prime Video on 31st March 2023.
Watch the trailer for The Power here: