Supergirl

Kara Danvers: If we call her “Supergirl”, something less than what she is, doesn’t that make us guilty of, of being anti-feminist? Didn’t you say she’s the hero?

Cat Grant: *I’m* the hero. I stuck a label on the side of the girl. I branded her. She will forever be linked to CatCo, to the Tribune, to me. And what do you think is so bad about “Girl?” Huh? I’m a girl. And your boss, and powerful, and rich, and hot and smart. So if you perceive “Supergirl” as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?

Summary

Kara Danvers is an ordinary girl living in National city (which has the feel of a Midwestern city). She works as a secretary at Catco Worldwide Media and is Cat Grant’s first hand assistant. But Danvers isn’t the ordinary small town kid that she appears to be, she’s Supergirl.

When Krypton blew up 20 years ago, she was sent in a pod to Earth in order to watch over Kal-El, but her pod got knocked off course and into the phantom zone so by the time she got to Earth Kal had already become Superman. The Danver’s then adopt Kara and she hides her powers. One day her adoptive sister, Alex, was in danger and Kara decides to reveal her powers in order to save Alex. But the media manages to catch a glimpse of her and the cat is out of the bag.

A new hero is now in town and Cat Grant claims her, she brands her as Supergirl and manages the brand. Throughout the series, Kara fights the escapees from Fort Raz on Earth while trying to find her place in this world. She works in collaboration with the DEO (Department of Extra-normal operations). The big baddies in the series are Astra and Non, Kara’s Aunt and Uncle. Astra wants to save the Earth because the humans are destroying the environment and planet earth, something about global warming and climate change. But Non is more evil and wants to take over the world. Supergirl faces them and saves the world.

Review

I have many mixed feelings about this show. It’s in its first season and still trying to find its footing, so naturally in terms of plot it is pretty weak for the first 13 episodes or so. The first half of the season is a monster of the week style, every episode an alien appears and Kara beats them, but eventually a pseudo- story arch emerges.

The saving grace for the plot comes from character development. Even though on the surface it seems like the development is superficial it is actually done in a really smart way, it reflects the reality of identity crises, Kara’s struggles throughout to figure out her identity and by the end of the show she’s only an inch closer. It’s messy, two steps forward and one step back, the characters fight, fall in love, break up, make up, the whole nine yards. It’s messed up and that’s what makes it good.

Speaking of characters, the acting was a bit….meh…at least in the beginning. The first couple of episodes the acting felt ridged, stiff, very scripted and mechanical, but eventually the actors break into their roles (like good leather shoes) and seem more comfortable. That being said you still feel that it’s not completely natural, they’re still stiff by the end of the show. The biggest improvement however is Melissa Benoist, she’s adorable and you just want to squish her. Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) is probably the only exception to bad acting because she is fabulous. She’s a strong female character, hard working feminist, with a touch of misandry (but then you realize that she’s married to Harrison Ford in real life many things make sense LOL), anyway  she is a great character and says great stuff like: “All four of you standing there doing nothing, you look like the attractive yet non-threatening, racially diverse cast of a CW show. ”

Okay s the bad acting you can ignore and get used to, what you can’t ignore however is the cheesiness of the show. All the dialogue ooze cheese….They’re unbelievably cheesy, for instance, Supergirl saves the world from brainwashing viruses by saying the following: [this is only part of the speech]:

“And you, the people of National City, you helped me. You let me be who I’m meant to be. You gave me back to myself. You made me stronger than I ever thought possible. And I love you for that. Now, in each and every one of you, there is a light, a spirit, that cannot be snuffed out, that won’t give up. I need your help again. I need you to hopeHope that you will remember that you can all be heroes. Hope that when faced with an enemy determined to destroy your spirit, you will fight back and thrive.Hope that those who once may have shunned you will in a moment of crisis come to your aid. Hope that you will see again the faces of those you love, and perhaps even those you lost.”

That’s just lame! If a superhero tried to save me using that I’d be like nah, I’d rather follow the villain…

But despite the lameness and all the cheesiness and corny scenes, the show can be really funny at time, like hilarious. And I believe a part of that is because the show doesn’t take itself too seriously, its happy to joke around, refer to real life, and jab at other shows and make fun of itself even. The show is set in a somewhat alternative universe, a lot of the events in the show reflect real life and it attempts to ground itself in USA 2016. For instance, it points at the CW’s ridiculous casting and shows, Harrison Ford, and Hamilton.

I wouldn’t necessarily call the show didactic but it definitely has lessons and some moments that are actually powerful. I for one enjoyed the show and especially the way as it addresses the issue of identity crises: how one defines oneself, feminism (which I think they did a good job of showing different forms of feminism and that they’re all acceptable-you have the Cat Grants and the Kara Danvers, the Supergirls and the Alex Danvers…) it also does diversity and acceptance really well without trying hard.

One of my favorite characters in the show aside from Kara and Cat is Winn, he’s Kara’s best friend and is a complete geek. He’s dorky, awkward and totally insecure, and I love him. He also had a crush on Kara but that didn’t happen even though I ship them.

In terms of CGI and cinematography, it was meh at best. It wasn’t always great but I can turn a blind eye to it.

Now the score is a different story. The scoring of the show is beautiful, it’s freaking amazing. It gives you goosebumps the way patriotic music does. The composer is Blake Neely who is an absolute genius and way better than Han Zimmer.

And to end on a sad note, the show has plenty of tear jerking moments, especially family/sister related tearjerkers. Now I don’t cry, but I felt a lump in my throat and the tears starting to form more times than I’d like to admit while I was watching this show. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a big sister myself or if I’m growing soft…(gasp!) but it is a moving show.

Supergirl is in no way the best show on TV, but it is worth watching, at least just for the experience of watching it. I usually watch it Thursday evenings after coming back from work as a way to unwind and just do nothing for 50 minutes (weekends in Kuwait are Friday and Saturday so Thursday is my Friday). Some TV shows or movies aren’t that good but leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy at the end and that’s enough for me. Won’t say that I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for season two but I will be watching it when it comes out.

Score: 3/5 with room (and expectations) for improvement.

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