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CBS’s Supergirl is one of the more popular new shows on television, but is the show’s writing strong enough to keep fans interested? Our Kate Blake explains why she is still on the Supergirl fence.
First things first, I have not read the Supergirl comics yet, but I intend to now that I have watched the first few episodes of the new CBS Supergirl series. Supergirl is the TV show I have been waiting for since the cancellation of Lois and Clark – The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997). They have a reasonably solid cast of actors, excellent wardrobe and sets, along with a nice balance of cheesy humour and serious business. However, the show has yet to convince me to fall in love with it.
There are many things they are doing that I greatly enjoy.
Calista Flockhart is indeed the perfect (no pun intended) Cat Grant, managing to not over-sell or undercook the brilliant and insightful media queen and has definitely secured a place as one of the show’s more popular characters. Cat Grant’s previous incarnation, played by Tracy Scoggins in The New Adventures of Superman was of an ambitious reporter that was very flirtatious. It was strongly implied that she was somewhat of a man-eater, who was the main office rival to Lois Lane. This new incarnation is far less interested in men and far more interested in being the biggest and best media mogul the world has ever seen; someone whose main mission in life now appears to be crushing the Daily Planet – the Metropolis paper where Lois and Clark still work.
I enjoy Calista Flockhart’s delivery, managing to demonstrate her character’s traits as a woman who is ambitions to crush others on a professional level. There’s a refreshing honesty in her competitive and mildly vengeful nature.
The casting, in general, is excellent. Melissa Benoist makes Supergirl much more interesting than previous incarnations. There are a few interactions with the rest of the cast which can seem disingenuous but, overall, she treads the thin line between youth and hero very expertly. You truly feel that Kara is a human girl, with all that entails, first and a superhero second.
I particularly enjoy her interactions with Cat Grant.
Chyler Leigh as Alex Denvers is a great addition for any fans of Grey’s Anatomy, especially in the pilot episode when she is saved from a plane crash; I won’t spoil the exact reasons. In the most recent episode aired, Chyler Leigh portrayed the tense relationship with her on-screen mother and the family friendliness of the show with true skill, not becoming so aggressive and drunk as to be unsuitable in front of a younger audience, but enough so you could appreciate the character’s distress.
Jeremy Jordan plays the, now compulsory, slightly awkward, technology geek with a massive crush on the central hero – Winn Scott. The character is a cliché, but still an entertaining one, and they have started to give him some semblance of a backstory, so the best guess he’s about to have a decent story arc.
Fabulous Film Craft
The sets are ideal, nice bright and slick. I would prefer Cat Grant had televisions that actually look watchable, but the overall effect is still quite nifty. The secret government Bat Cave is very cliché and dark to accentuate its top secretyness. I also like that Kara’s flat looks a lot like Clark’s flat from Lois and Clark, it’s one of several nods to the nineties show, which this show appears to have been used as a model. Even Dean Cain (who played Superman in the Lois and Clark) is casted as Kara’s adopted father Jeremiah Danvers. The large squared-out windows and white painted brick, it goes well with the Super-logo graphic which ends the show.
The costumes are really good, capturing the characters very well. I am mixed on my opinion as to the new Supergirl costume. They chose to darken the suit and a little, not a bad call, it is very much a the classic look. It has visible red on blue seams and grainy texture which is fair enough, the recent designs of characters like the Flash and the Arrow have fared well under similar modernization. I am very pleased with the overall lines of the suit. The skirt is still short, but the boots are long and the suit is slimline but manages to be modest. An excellent meeting of flattery for the actress natural curves while avoiding being desperately sexy.
I like it.
It reassures me there is more to this hero then her looks. The fabric, however, does not move well, the cape and the skirt do not flow well and, although I very much like the modest lines, the shirt occasionally manages to look a size too big for its wearer, which I put down to lighting clashing with the dark blue colour, the shadows ripple and it looks sort of uncomfortable to wear.
There are unfortunately some issues that hold me back from true membership in the fandom.
The Down Side Of Supergirl:
David Harewood, who I think is a brilliant actor, plays Hank Henshaw; the man in charge of the secret government “Bat Cave” and as the only male lead of any actual substance thus far. Of course, it’s not long before he is implicated as a big bad in the show. I sorely hope not, as it would be a waste of an excellent male mirror to Cat Grant. Seriously, how does he walk through a room of people trained to find and capture aliens, constantly flashing his glowing red eyes and no one notices?
I’m four episodes in and I’m already bored with this.
I do get the unfortunate impression Mehcad Brooks was potentially cast more as guy-candy then for his suitability to play Jimmy Olsen. Don’t get me wrong, he seems like he might be a decent enough actor but he has no chemistry with the rest of the cast.
I just can’t buy in to him in this role.
A Letter To The Supergirl Writers Room:
Perhaps it’s the fault of the Supergirl Writers Room, for not giving him the opportunity to really develop his character, which is my main criticism of the other male characters in the show. I mean if The Adventures of Lois and Clark taught us nothing else it’s that characters can be ret-conned at any given point and glossed over with a replacement who just happens to have exactly the same name. Frankly, the character has been about as useful to Supergirl as a boyband poster.
The pacing of the show is also somewhat problematic, I mean I know they chose to skip Episode 4 and go straight to Episode 5, which is not the show’s fault, but even so, the individual episodes are a bit choppy in places. Pacing is always an issue with new shows. You have to develop your characters well enough early on so that people can identify with them, but not so fast as to reveal everything about them in a single episode.
I would say the writers just need to calm it down a bit.
Is Kara’s aunt the big bad?
Seriously, why bring her in so early?
We have just established Supergirl needs to train up and you pit her against someone much more experienced in fighting, ect…
The progression is too fast. Let’s give it a few of episodes, or at least a montage/flash forward a few months so it seems more plausible she can win a contest like that.
Finally, please be careful with the girl power.
I don’t need it shoved in my face repeatedly that these female characters are all strong and regularly roar. I am perfectly capable of deciding that for myself. The only character who should be allowed to be an out and proud self-identified feminist is Cat Grant and even she should have the incite to use it sparingly. So far, it has been reasonable but you can’t be strong without being vulnerable, so let’s not lose sight of the fact that what makes these characters really great to watch is their humanity.
The relationships with each other and the other off-screen characters.
We don’t need to constantly say Kara is valued less than Superman, she has established herself now. You’ve had your reasonable window of fair play in this respect, for the love of the “S” do not drag that out.
Please, please, please, just let her be Supergirl.
People just want to be told what the world could be like; they will only really learn if you let them come to their own conclusions for themselves. It’s a family show, let it be light and cheesy, in return we’ll overlook Cat Grant not recognizing the assistant she spends all day yelling at, with a somewhat hard to miss scar. We’ll give you a pass about the fact that there are cameras literally everywhere thanks to pocket technology making it impossible for Kara not to be uncovered as Supergirl.
It’s a good deal.
I love cheesy one liners as much as the next sci-fi geek, but please don’t force them. Set them up properly.
So to summarize, watch Supergirl it’s got great potential.
Hopefully the show will grow in 2016 and win over those who continue to sit on the Supergirl fence.
To find out about the show from its home network follow this link: Supergirl on CBS
Kate Blake is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow us on Twitter: @K8_Blake
Watch Supergirl. it’s got great potential and room to grow.