Review: Supergirl Television Premiere

Supergirl Photo: CBS

Supergirl. Photo Credit: CBS

When I first saw the trailer for CBS’ Supergirl, I, like many others, couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the similarities it shared with SNL’s Black Widow Rom-Com Parody sketch. Despite this, I still had high hopes for the show.

First off, when I was a wee little youngin’, I spent a LOT of time reading Supergirl comics. That is until DC killed her off. Something I’m still angry at my brother for since he was the messenger of this heartbreaking news. Second, being that Captain Marvel keeps getting pushed back and Wonder Woman still seems quite awhile away, the idea of seeing an iconic super-powered woman on the small screen was exciting (I’ll be watching you too, Jessica Jones!).

I’m happy to say that after watching the pilot, I’m pretty pleased with the overall result. There are, however, a few aspects I could have done without.

Image from Supergirl Pilot. Photo Credit: CBS

Image from Supergirl Pilot. Photo Credit: CBS

The good:

Supergirl was fun!

Don’t get me wrong. Generally, I like my moody-broody-angst-ridden heroes who walk the dangerous line between darkness and light as they navigate the painful internal struggle of right vs. wrong! Supergirl, though, was very much in line with the reasons why my childhood self first gravitated towards the comics.  Kara was enthusiastic, longing to embrace her abilities and share the excitement with those nearest and dearest to her. She didn’t waste time letting friends, both old and new, in on her secret and beamed with joy as she finally got to flex her superhero muscles. Even when the battle was hard, she rose to the occasion quickly and with gusto, doubting herself only for a brief moment.

Supergirl‘s support system consists of adoptive big sister Alex, pining co-worker Winn and the sexy new incarnation of Jimmy James Olsen. The original Supergirl, Helen Slater and former Superman Dean Cain are also perfectly nostalgically cast as Kara’s adoptive parents. The opening episode also quickly establishes that Supergirl will have her own various rouges gallery to face in the coming weeks including a big bad that is sure to hit close to home.

The bad:

While I have nothing against Calista Flockhart as an actor, much of the dialogue out of Kara’s Devil Wears Prada-esque boss Cat Grant was a bit cringe-worthy. For example, I did not need the psuedo feminist rant on why the term “girl” is empowering.

At Kara’s expressed dislike for the term, Grant responds, “What do you think is so bad about “girl?” I’m a girl, and your boss, and powerful, and rich, and hot, and smart. So if you perceive “Supergirl” as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?”

Um, no. It isn’t.

I have absolutely zero problems with the show being called Supergirl. That is, after-all, how the character has been referred to since 1959. While I do think the problem with the term “girl” is anchored to idea of maturity more than gender, the show really didn’t need to defend its title so much. If Grant had said, “‘Girl’ has more pep! It pops! Easier to use in a hastag!”, I would have thought that much more believable rather than a sophisticated adult business woman launching into a diatribe referring to herself as a girl.

I also couldn’t help but sigh when co-worker Winn Schott reinforces the tired old She’s-All-That trope as he comments how pretty Kara is without her glasses. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying that one person can’t compliment the appearance of another. Not at all. I’d just like to see the “glasses as beauty’s camouflage” idea in regards to women, fade away.

Being that this was the pilot, I expect the show to have a few growing pains, but overall, I think Supergirl is off to a strong, fun and exciting start.

Up Up and Away!

Up Up and Away!

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One comment on “Review: Supergirl Television Premiere

  1. Tom says:

    When I read comics as a child, Supergirl was a teenager or a very young adult (I seem to remember her as a student in high school or college), so I was always OK with calling her a “girl.” Her older cousin was Superboy at that age, and became Superman when he grew up.

    There was an imaginary (i.e., non-canonical, “what if”) story in Superman #192 (1966). It took place several years in the future, and Kara, who was an adult by then, was now called “Superwoman.”

    The TV show seems to be protesting too much, and making an issue over something that most people just don’t think is a big deal.

    Re: the lighter tone, DC has lots of characters (Batman, Deadman, Spectre, Phantom Stranger, Doctor Fate, Swamp Thing, Etrigan) who are well suited to a grim ‘n’ gritty, angst-ridden style. But others (Supergirl, Plastic Man, Shazam/the original Captain Marvel) work better in a lighter, even tongue-in-cheek setting.

    What annoys me is that DC and Marvel have both adopted a policy that everything has to be in the same house style, and that style is grimdark. I don’t object to grimdark where it’s appropriate. But what is appropriate for the Spectre and Batman (or Ghost Rider and Punisher) is not necessarily a good fit for Captain Carrot.

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