Monday, June 6, 2016

Supergirl Reaction: Season 1

Last fall, Supergirl took flight on CBS, which marked one of the first solo female superhero TV shows of our time. It was an important leap for the world of superhero adaptations. Yet as the show started and the plot progressed, Supergirl didn't quite capture the audience or ratings the network had hoped for. While I argued I think the world needs a show like Supergirl to pave the way for future solo female shows and movies, I myself found significant flaws and disappointments with the show. However, Supergirl did some things right.

So how did Supergirl fly during the premiere season? Let's find out!

Warning: This post contains slight spoilers for season one of Supergirl!

What Worked:
-Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl. As a whole, the character of Kara was pretty solid. She was fun, relatable, and flawed. That's right--she wasn't indestructible just because she was from Krypton. She wasn't perfect. She had to learn to be a hero, and I think that was one of the strongest parts of the show. It made me believe in her because she kept trying, despite her failures. (Plus, she's a huge dork.)

(Me too, Kara. Me too.--source)

-Alex Danvers. Kara's adopted sister, Alex, is one of the strongest female heroes I've witnessed in entertainment recently. She's strong, smart, and loyal. She's also a wonderful sister. Despite Kara being from another planet, the two sisters share a strong bond. They would do anything for each other and to help each other. (Hence, Kara reveals herself in order to save her sister, and later, Alex risks a lot to save Kara.) It's not often strong sister relationships are portrayed in stories, so I love that this one reveals not only their strengths together but also their flaws and failures. They fight, they say things that hurt each other, and they have different opinions, but ultimately, they love each other and they work past their actions and words to love one another.

(This makes me want to give my big sister a hug.--source)

-Cat Grant. As Kara's boss and the snobby, uptight ruler of Catco media, Cat Grant is someone you love to hate. Some of her ways are a little ridiculous, and the way she treats other people can be quite repulsive, but Cat Grant is a wonderful character. There's more to her than the perfect blond head and upturned nose. Basically, she ends up as a good mentor and role model for both Kara and Supergirl. Plus, she's hilarious.

(Thank you, Cat Grant, for all you do.--source)

-Winn. Despite Winn's "I'm-in-love-with-my-best-friend" cliche, I enjoyed his character. He was funny and cute and actually helpful toward Kara's journey of becoming a hero. The plot with his dad being the Toy Maker only furthered his character arc. I hope in the future they explore more of his back story and character in the future and that he doesn't get reduced to a love interest or the comic relief. I adored his friendship with Kara so much, which is why I didn't want either to be in love with the other. (I just really want a strong, platonic relationship without mixing in unnecessary love. Whyyy???)

(Look how glorious this platonic friendship could be. Look at it!--source)

-Martian Manhunter and Jeremiah Danvers. While the Martian Manhunter reveal came as no surprise (aka been there, done that in Smallville), I did enjoy the plot that Martian Manhunter was closely connected with Alex's father, Jeremiah, and his disappearance. Giving him the name of Hank Henshaw threw me for a loop because I expected him to be Cyborg Superman or another enemy of Supergirl, but instead, he was Martian Manhunter (the glowing red eyes gave him away) and became an ally. It was nice that there was another alien on the planet that wasn't evil to help Kara out.

(Get 'em, Manny. Can I call you Manny?--source)

-Superman. One of the things I was worried about with this show was that Superman would overshadow Supergirl or Supergirl would just become "female" Superman (or Superman's cousin).That didn't happen, and I'm grateful for the writers for making Supergirl her own character. However, Superman wasn't entirely absent from the world either, which was a nice surprise. He came in small forms such as stories from Jimmy James Olsen or in a chat message from the Daily Planet. It was nice that he could be mentioned and discussed and also give Kara much-needed advice without taking the attention from the true hero of the show: Supergirl.

(You tell 'em, Kara!--source)

-The Flash crossover. Hands down, the best episode of the season was the crossover with The Flash, "World's Finest." Not only was this the first superhero network crossover, but the episode also fit into The Flash's season story arc (traveling to different dimensions; they even show the moment he dimension jumps in an episode). Grant Gustin was marvelous, and I adored watching him and Melissa Benoist interact with their characters. (I'm also glad they didn't have a romantic fling or something, but they became solid friends.) The episode as a whole was exciting, fun, and just freaking adorable. (Basically: I need more Barry and Kara moments.)

(Aaah, this entire episode was just gold. These two dorks are fabulous together.--source)

-The messages. Supergirl is one of those shows chock-full of important messages. From being a hero to learning what's truly important in life (hint: it's family) to understanding that hope is stronger than fear, Supergirl reiterates over and over again good messages that the entire family can glean from. I think Supergirl's messages to young girls are especially important in a world where superheroes are the forefront of Hollywood entertainment but there aren't as many female superheroes as male superheroes. I think Supergirl's greatest success is the message it sends to the world: girls can be heroic, strong, brave, loving, and caring--and they can be all those things at once, just like Kara and Supergirl.

(This is what Supergirl could be for the world.--source)

What didn't work:
-The love triangle. I have one word for the love triangle: ugh. By the end of the season, I was just annoyed with Kara's love life. I didn't want her to be with James or Winn. I wanted her to find somebody else instead of the two most obvious guys in her vicinity. The angst over James made me want to hit my head on the computer screen over and over until it stopped. I felt bad for Winn simply because I have a soft spot for the "best friend guy." They are never appreciated enough. But all of it--Winn in love with Kara, Jimmy drawn to Kara, Kara drawn to Jimmy because he's older and mature--was so cliche and terribly written. The only guy character I enjoyed Kara with was Cat Grant's son, and I doubt that ship will ever sail now.

(Maybe there's a reason...?--source)

-The plot. About 85% of the Supergirl plot was predictable and cliche. Evil Kryptonians taking over the city in order to the conquer the world? Been there, done that--multiple times. Red Kryptonite making Supergirl her opposite personality? Been there, done that--again multiple times. Martian Manhunter being a secret guardian to help watch over the world and random aliens who end up on the planet? Been there, done that. I can't even recall the majority of the plots throughout the season and how they led to the big crisis at the end of the season, which didn't amount to that much excitement. (Basically, National City became a zombie-walking tragedy except for three, predictable people.)

(Blah, blah, blah, evil bad guy is BORING.--source)

-Jimmy James Olsen. When I first heard they were casting an experienced Jimmy James Olsen for the show, I was ecstatic. I thought his presence on the show would work as a mentor for Kara since it was set after he knew Superman and had become an experienced photographer and superhero ally. But instead, James was reduced to a love interest. Sure, he helped Kara a lot, which was great, but when the only memorable thing about him is that Kara is in love with him, it's disappointing.

(Basically my reaction to anything about Jimmy Olsen.--source)

-Brainiac/Indigo. As much as I enjoyed that they brought Laura Vandervoort into the show--since she played Supergirl in Smallville--the character of Brainiac scraping fingernails across a chalkboard (or perhaps a motherboard). Frankly, she was annoying, and I felt like they were trying too hard to make her female and evil and a computer all wrapped in one. It was disgusting.

(Thank you, Winn, for your inspirational description.--source)

-Not connecting it to the DC films. I'm still amazed that DC hasn't decided to mesh their highly successful TV shows with their flip-flopping movies. I really had hoped there would be a chance for them to connect Supergirl with the Man of Steel franchise, especially since Kara's suit matches the color scheme of Superman from the movies. But alas, they haven't connected it. Now I'm just hoping they bring back Tom Welling (Smallville) as the Superman incarnation of this universe.

(At least they are consistent with the CW superhero shows.--source)

-Maxwell Lord. There were moments I enjoyed his character (and I really shipped him with Alex despite that he was a jerk), but most of the time I wanted to punch him in the face. He served no purpose except to be a cheap Lex Luthor mixed with Tony Stark's inventor genius. He was just a so-so adversary that helped move the plot of filler episodes. I wanted him to be so much more, so I'm crossing my fingers they'll do better with his character in season two.

(I ship it so much.--source)

As a whole, the season fell short due to so-so writing, shoddy character development, and not-so-surprising plot twists. Supergirl had its moments, and I think when it moves to the CW, it'll have a better chance to set things right. Not only will Supergirl continue to soar on, but it'll have the chance to interact with the other superhero shows on the CW, which have been quite successful this past year. I'm not completely sold on Supergirl's introduction to the world, but I'm not giving up on it yet either. There's still hope for a better tomorrow for the Girl of Tomorrow.


What did you think of season one of Supergirl?


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