When I first saw the above trailer for Supergirl, my initial reaction was, “I really, really hope it’s good.” With so many fantastic superhero shows currently in production it wasn’t naive to think that CBS could pull off a genuinely captivating and entertaining version of an iconic superhero, was it? I mean, if the CW could do it twice (Arrow and The Flash), and Netflix could blow away my expectations (Daredevil), it’s not outside the realm of possibility, right?
For those not familiar with Supergirl, she is Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El, sent to earth by her parents to look after her “younger” cousin, Kal-El, upon the planets destruction. Her ship was diverted by the planets explosion, so while she was born before Kal, she arrives on earth roughly 20 years later. Since her ship kept her in suspended animation she is still a teenager when she arrives.
Unfortunately, this was one of those premieres where I just kept waiting to get sucked in and it simply didn’t happen. The show has a lot going for it and this was just the premier, but I was extremely underwhelmed, and at times annoyed.
As you would expect the cast is extremely attractive. Melissa Benoist is the perfect Supergirl in my opinion, easily capable of pulling off the “office sleeper” as well as the strong and sexy superhero. She is a stark contrast to the Laura Vandervoot version from Smallville, but Benoist is a fantastic choice and should be able to pull in viewers .
The plot is very reminiscent of Flash at this point; a Kryptonian “super jail” which inexplicably fell from the Phantom Zone to earth has produced an endless number of super powered villains for Kara to fight. This should provide for entertaining powers and skills to be revealed throughout the season, which is something I very much look forward to.
The pace of the premier was sluggish at best. Even with a generous time skip it still felt as though I kept waiting for the story to really start. This was a major problem and I didn’t feel pulled in. That is how you lose casual viewers. The pace did eventually pick up, but where it went felt forced and unrealistic. Yes, I know we are talking about a show with an alien who has super powers, but it should at least attempt to maintain some semblance of realism.
The introduction of the DOE (Department of Extra-Normal Operations) and it’s head Hank Henshaw was unnecessarily combative and annoying. Henshaw is tasked with apprehending the various super-powered baddies who have escaped from the fallen jail. So the first thing we see him do is insult and dismiss the most powerful asset he could have hoped for? Similarly, Kara’s step sister Alex Danvers, who is also a DOE agent, reacts as though Kara had just slept with her boyfriend then kicked her puppy after Kara saves her life by using her powers.
Alex Danvers: I’m so upset you’re an awesome superhero sis.
If Kara was the first Kryptonian on earth these reactions of fear and mistrust could potentially make sense, but multiple references to Superman had already been made. He is already being portrayed as a savior of the world so why the harsh treatment for his relative, whom he has vouched for, and has the exact same powers as? At one point Henshaw actually tells Kara “if you want to help, go get someone a cup of coffee.” Really? Who says that to someone who could snap their neck in the blink of an eye?
The sexist subtext was a common thread throughout the show which I simply do not understand. Comments about her being “just a girl,” and even her own objection to being coined “Supergirl” rather than “Superwoman” was ridiculous and juvenile. You do not need to reinforce negative stereotypes. Portray Kara as a strong female superhero and that is what she will be. Unfortunately I don’t see this theme subsiding anytime soon.
I am still holding out hope for the series. This was just the premier and it could get a hell of a lot better from here. To that end I will give it a few more episodes to see how it pans out. Hell, the show deserves that just for giving Dean Cain a cameo.