Welcome to the DC Weekly, where every week we cover DC news, TV show reactions, editorials, and random speculation.
This week, I take a dive into the world of the "Supergirl" TV show.
"Supergirl" had everything going against it for me. I admittedly have a general lack of knowledge of the character, and between "Gotham," "Arrow," and "The Flash," and the upcoming "Legends of Tomorrow," I had little desire to add another DC show to ever-growing queue. Worst of all, the show had CBS going against it, a network that makes it incredibly difficult to have access to their shows. As a cable-cutter, I only have access to shows on Hulu, Netflix, and HBO Now (I had to splurge on something). CBS, however, requires to either sign up for their individual service or watch their shows via their RAM-eating website, and considering it's 2015, I tend to prefer watching my TV shows on my couch.
As a result, it's taken me some weeks to actually take the time and give the show a try, and I must say, it didn't disappoint.
Starting with the pilot, "Supergirl" didn't waste any time in getting underway, establishing the premise, as well as Kara's current place in life as an assistant to Cat Grant, owner of media conglomerate CatCo. As a relative to Superman, however, Kara's a woman who clearly wants to do more with her life than fetch coffee.
When her sister's plane catching fire over National City, Kara sees her chance to make a difference. Needless to say, this reveal brings forth its own set of problems. Not only does she out herself as another super, but she also unwittingly painted a target on her back. Before first crash-landing onto Earth as a child, she inadvertently led a top-security Kryptonian prison with her, and with that, countless angry prisoners who have remained in hiding for decades. Kara's mother, Alura Jor-El, was the judge who sentenced these evil-doers to a lifetime of imprisonment, and they're not too happy about it.
Off to the side, we have Kara's stepsister, Alex, who works for a covert organization called the Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO), whose mission it is to protect the Earth from extraterrestrial threats. The revelation that Alex works for such a crazy organization is a big one for Kara, and this betrayal of sorts serves as the emotional core for the pilot. While the DEO’s involvement has been relatively limited at this point, it serves as a great technological and training resource for Kara, and will likely grow in importance as the series gets bigger. This is a trend that’s already started.
We learn quite early on that the prisoners in the crashed prison ship are being led by a single woman who is out to get Supergirl, and she undoubtedly serves as the longterm villain of the series (or at least this season).
This is just the overall premise of the show, and as ridiculous and contrived as it sounds on paper, it actually works pretty well in the context of the series. As I mentioned before, I wasn't expecting a whole lot going into "Supergirl." After all, my bandwidth for superhero shows is ever-filling, and I grow constantly worried that the saturation of the genre will grow tiresome, but luckily that hasn't happened yet.
The pilot of the series is a promising start of the show, and episodes 2 and 3 cement the show's quality even further. While the premise is a bit uninspired, the execution is solid. Melissa Benoist is incredibly watchable as Kara Danvers, and the rest of the cast are more than serviceable in their respective roles. Mehcad Brooks is charming as Jimmy Olsen, and David Harewood is great as the hard-ass head of the DEO. The main standout for me, however, is Chyler Leigh as Kara's stepsister, Kara. The way the two interact as sisters is believable and, at times, heart-wrenching--most notably in the pilot episode. Her involvement was generally toned down in the subsequent episodes, but she remains a great go-to for later episodes as Supergirl discovers the kind of superhero she is.
One character that seems to be under-utilized at this point is Winn. He’s the goodhearted co-worker and friend of Kara, who obviously likes her as more than a friend. His role in the story generally takes a backseat to Jimmy Olsen, and I’m curious to see what direction they take his character. Will he mainly serve as the puppy dog-innocent sidekick, or will Kara actually begin to take him seriously as a potential love interest? I get the distinct feeling that in these episodes the writers are backing up off his character a bit so as not to tire the audience with his particular brand of humor. It’s still only early on in the series, though, so there will be plenty of time to get to know him once we know Kara better.
The last question fans may have about the show is why it may be worth watching with a superhero like Superman around. Is this just a pathetic attempt to capitalize on the same power? That very idea is one that's addressed on the show constantly. From Kara's boss rolling her eyes at Supergirl's list of samey powers to the idea that Supergirl needs Superman to save her life, the writers are quick to try and bat down any negative ideas the moniker "Supergirl" may give the property. In my personal opinion, the show is doing a bang-up job of incorporated the Superman mythology while still managing to stand up on its own two feet. What it lacks in originality, it makes up for in its lead and execution.
All in all, I think "Supergirl" has the makings for a great, long-running show. It has a premise that can be stretched out over multiple seasons, plenty of characters with uncharted territory to explore, and most importantly, plenty of room to grow the actual character of Supergirl. So I guess the million dollar question is whether or not you should spend your time watching it.
Well, if you're a fan of "The Flash," and "Arrow," I think it’s fair to say that you're likely to enjoy "Supergirl" as well. Despite the fact that it airs on CBS and not the CW, it feels a hell of a lot like both existing series (no surprise there, as Greg Berlanti is one of the men responsible for its development). Of course, that comes with some negatives. The story and tone are a bit cookie-cutter in nature. If you’re completely content with “The Flash” and “Arrow,” and would prefer to check out something with a bit of a different feel you'll likely have to check elsewhere, as this is cut from the very same mold. But that samey feeling isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The approach they use is a proven formula that fans seem to love, and it guarantees a fun show. So if you're just looking for another fun superhero show, then you’re in luck. It’s an entertaining, feel-good romp with characters that will grow more and more enticing as the series progresses. And hey, if you’d rather see a lady at the front of the show, this one will do quite nicely.
Have you had a chance to check out the first three episodes of “Supergirl?” If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments down below!