Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Supergirl premiered on CBS this week. If you can’t tell by our homepage, we love superheroes here. Anytime there’s a new addition to the genre, we have a word or two to say about it. Adam, Max and myself give our independent thoughts on the new female-led superhero show, and how we believe it hit or missed.
Generic and Proud
Based on the pilot alone, Supergirl didn’t make much of an impact on me, especially compared to the several other superhero shows I follow. The effects were decent, most of the time, but nothing to write home about. The show spent way too much time trying to force feminism down our throats by endlessly pointing out how strong and independant the female characters were without ever bothering to write strong independent female characters. The dialogue was weak and cheesy to the extreme, but that generally doesn’t bother me too much with superheroes, or I would have given up on shows like Arrow a long time ago.
What is interesting about the pilot is that it sped through the common superhero tropes that other shows like to drag on for at least half a season, if not more. In the first episode alone, Supergirl got her super name, her costume, mostly figured out her powers, told her friend about her secret identity, fought her first super-powered baddie, found out her sister had been lying to her for most of her adult life, found out about a secret government organization trying to protect the world from aliens and still had time to throw in adorkable jokes. While the show is pretty generic and eye-roll inducing right now, I hope that by speeding through all of the standard superhero stuff, Supergirl can move on in later weeks to a more creative and less cliche story. Another plus is the show’s lead character, who in some ways reminds me of Grant Gustin on The Flash in that both shows are really carried by the lead actor’s earnest performance. Also like The Flash, the side characters are pretty weak as of now, but I fully expect them to grow on me like Cisco and Caitlin did… except for Kara’s boss. Ugh. Bottom-line: Nothing noteworthy yet, but it has the potential to be great. Future weeks will determine if it utilizes this potential.
It’s All About The Kara Zor-El.
My initial reaction to Supergirl is about what my initial reaction to the trailer was: it’s a fairly well put together show with a serviceable cast, and the brighter, more optimistic tone that is sorely missed in Warner’s approach to the Superman mythos is present. Melissa Benoist does fine work as Kara Zor-El, filling the role with boundless energy and an infectious desire to do something meaningful. The VFX team also does quite well, portraying Supergirl’s range of powers from flying to heat vision flawlessly. Much of that can probably be credited to the Arrow team of Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg, who have got superhero shows down to a science at this point, although why the show isn’t connected to Man of Steel or the ever-growing Arrow universe is still baffling. Being forced to stand alone when clearly it has aspirations of doing so much more is Supergirl’s biggest struggle. (It’s also got the Gotham problem of saying “This awesome character was just here and told me this!” ever so often.)
The premise of Supergirl needing to capture escaped criminals from a Kryptonian prison is solid enough, but the forgettable villain and so-so supporting cast mean that if the show is to succeed, it’ll be solely because of its likeable, energetic lead.
She’s Super AND A Girl.
In this hyperactive time for superheroes both in movies and on television, it’s exciting to see a new property hit the screen, be it silver or small. Supergirl storms in with a pilot that is lighthearted at one moment and action-packed the next. With other gritty superhero shows like Arrow and Daredevil, Supergirl’s tone is far left than anything else in the genre, and that’s a good thing.
I enjoyed the break-neck pace of Kara from Kryptonian youngling to an adult superhero on Earth. Unlike other shows that take an entire season to label their hero with the comics-proper title, the name #Supergirl was awarded right away. Kara is super and a girl, and the pilot doesn’t let you forget the latter. While I’m more than happy to see a female-led superhero show on the air (two when Jessica Jones hits), I didn’t appreciate the constant highlighting of gender. It got downright preachy at moments. Please don’t get me wrong, the overdue inclusion of female superheroes leading their own is a joy to see realized, but I was hoping for her to be treated like all the other heroes on TV despite gender. Overall, the pilot was packed, attempting to do what so many pilots try to do: cram a set up for an entire series into less than an hour of TV. With that, there was more of a setup for the “Kryptonian of the Week” than the overarching narrative that will drive the series for 20+ more episodes. Supergirl stands out from the rest in its genre, so I do hope it can take off in the coming weeks.
What things does ‘Supergirl’ need to improve on if any? Was the show’s feminism too in you face or not enough? We’d love to hear your take on the show. Tweet us @adam_mcconnell, @MaxMielecki and @NerdDotMe.
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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