It has been a while since the superhero show’s first season came to an end (the delay is mostly Lewis’ fault), and while I had a free weekend I thought I’d do a bit of a review for you if you’re interested, and if you aren’t it doesn’t matter, I will write it for my own amusement.
So first off, let’s do a season overview.
We start off with a young Kara Zor-El being put into an escape a pod before being sent after her new born cousin Kal-El to look after him while he grows up on Earth. However, her pod gets knocked off course and by the time she reaches Earth Kal El has become Superman. Once she becomes an adult, Kara decides to come out of hiding and use her powers to protect the people of National City, working alongside her adopted sisters and the DEO. So for this first outing of Supergirl we see her developing into her own superhero, attempting to move out of her cousin’s shadow, while fighting some slightly altered Superman villains.
Enough of that, if you have seen the series you know what happened, and if you haven’t watched it I’d go and do that before you read anymore; just in case I give anything away.
Comparing this (CBS show) to the other three DC TV properties on THE CW (Season 1 wasn’t run by THE CW but season 2 will be so it is the natural comparison), the others being The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl comes in a strong yet distant 3rd which seems oxymoronic but let me explain. I think Supergirl is better written and acted than Legends, but compared to The Flash and Arrow Supergirl is inferior. However, some small changes could fix the issues I have with the show… the script needs work but I am going to focus on the story elements here.
A major issue for me surrounding the series is the use of the Martian Manhunter; I know he keeps cropping up in things I write but he is one of my favourite characters and I just want him to be used properly. For most of the season MM spends his time disguised asHank Henshore, the human director of the DEO, and this does limit him, as does his reluctance to use his powers, which makes for a strong character-developing story for the character.
However, on multiple occasions when MM does use his powers the character seems incredibly watered down in order to make Supergirl look more impressive. In the comic book universe, The Martian Manhunter took on the entire Justice League at the same time and was recruited to the JLA in the New 52 to fight Superman if the Kryptonian got out of hand. Superman described him as the most powerful person in the DC universe, but in Supergirl he is demoted to sidekick duty and, as a fan of the character, it really grinds my gears.
Secondly, I am not keen on the Kara Danvers alter ego. Part of the point behind Superman’s minimal disguise is that Kal El and Clarke Kent’s mannerisms and demeanour are polar opposites. While Superman is a confident and impressive individual, Clarke is a nervous nobody that blends into the background; something perfectly encapsulated by the Reeve films (less so by the newer Caville films). Supergirl/Kara Danvers is the same character, the only difference between the two being that Kara wears glasses (that she can’t go two minutes without pushing onto her face, which could be interpreted as a nervous tick but the alter ego needs more than that). Furthermore, the introduction of a love interest from minute-one of the show tarnishes the otherwise fairly strong female superhero. Most Superheroes need a love interest, it is part of the genre, however the issue with the blossoming Kara/Jimmy Olsen romance is that it isn’t written particularly well, and the Kara character comes across as a bit wet and desperate for his attention. Personally, I think the season’s story would have been stronger without it.
Finally, and most importantly, I think that there are more interesting characters that deserve their own TV show, primarily the DEO. Every minute spent there with the Martian Manhunter and Alex Danvers (Supergirl’s adopted sister) is far more interesting. Also, there is a difference between being hopeful, which is a requirement for any Superman related property, and just saying “hope” a lot. Unfortunately, Supergirl’s script falls into the latter category.
So that brings this to an end. I do realise it sounds harsh as, on the most part, Supergirl is a fun take on the Superhero genre, but now that The CW has the franchise perhaps we will see an even better show.
If you agree or disagree and want to tell me about it please post a comment, it will give me something to think about during my lunch break. And if you enjoyed this review, why not give it a like?