When CBS announced that they were going to do a Supergirl TV series, I have to admit I knew I was going to watch at least the first few episodes. We are desperately in need of positive female role models on TV, especially in the superhero genre. Yes, we’ve had some reoccurring characters on Arrow, Heroes, and others, but in a title role? It’s always secondary and shunted off, and so having a female hero be the lead is exciting. And nerve wracking because there are so many ways that they can fail.
On the whole I was really pleased with the episode. It’s not as heavy as Arrow or some of the other newer superhero genres that have come out recently, and it’s definitely one to watch to see where it goes. Kara was definitely fallible, which is nice to see in any superhero story, but she has a confidence in herself that shines through that girls watching will pick up on. That’s huge, because this is going to be one of the big images tween and teen girls are going to see on TV, and they need positive images and that message of empowerment and positivism.
Another nice change is that it’s got a decent number of female repeating cast roles as well: there’s Kara (obviously), Kara’s boss (although yes, a big bad boss), and her sister is a huge presence in the pilot (and presumably throughout the season). And the overall big bad is female.
Spoilers follow below the break for those who didn’t watch and are going to. If you are in to superhero genre, definitely give Supergirl a chance. I don’t think that you’ll regret it.
Note: Now, I’m not sure, but I think one of the fun ways that Supergirl has do dance around requirements and copyright infringements is not to mention the name Superman. I’m betting it’s because of the new movie and rights owned by movie companies and other legalities that I have no clue about. If you want to have fun, and you don’t have any kids to worry about, start a drinking game and take a drink every time they use he or him to refer to her cousin.
The pilot is all about Kara starting to find herself. Kara never used her powers because the world had him, and if there was a superhero, why did it need two? It was better to stay quiet, and live a normal life. Yet when her sister’s plane is in danger, Kara forgets everything in order to save her- thereby exposing herself and putting her secret at risk.
So what’s a superhero to do? Kara confides in her closest friend Winn, and they start trying various outfits while starting out assisting the police and fire departments. (The one below is mocking one of the outfits that shows up in the comics, by the way):
And THAT is when the DEO, Department of Extraterrestrial Operations, appears to warn Kara to step back and let them take care of things. It turns out that it wasn’t only Kara that escaped from the Phantom Zone, it was an entire prison of super beings that had been brought to Kyptonion Justice, and the DEO has been monitoring them for some time. And SURPRISE, her sister Alex is part of the DEO. Talk about a bit of step-sibling therapy that needs to be worked out.
Kara, feeling betrayed by her sister, goes back to work, but ends up being called out by one of the prisoners who has been ordered to take her out- turns out that her mother, Alura, was the jailer of the prison, and everyone is out for revenge. Protecting the city, she flies out to meet him, and she and her sister have concocted a plan for defeating him using the weakness of his weapon. And she wins, all is right with the world, until the next time- but at the end we learn that the General the bad guys have been referring to is actually Kara’s aunt, who’s not feeling all fuzzy about family either. Maybe it’s the holidays?
WHAT I LIKED:
- There was a lot to keep those fully versed in the comics coming back for more: not only the inside jokes about the outfits, but also cast off jokes about the Justice League and other little jibs that were peppered through the script.
- James don’t call me Jimmy Olsen
- Extremely positive messages
- Positive relationships
WHAT I WISH COULD BE DIFFERENT:
- The female positive script is one that is extremely nice to see as they are few and far between; I could only wish that they didn’t show a Victoria’s Secret commercial within it, especially as the previous commercial break they had a Girls’ Inc. spot highlighting the statistic about how many girls hate their body because of the media.
- I mentioned above how I liked that a lot of the screen time was focused on the female characters, but I could wish that the female cast was more diverse. All of the female cast is white, and that isn’t necessary for the script to work. This is NOTHING against the actresses that were cast, so don’t get me wrong. However. I get the fight that I’m sure was behind getting Supergirl to TV, but there’s no reason why her boss or her sister had to be cast white.
- There were a lot of different prisoners shown on screen, so hopefully they won’t all be macho, anti-women idiots.
- Helen Slater and Dean Cain were really pretty cool geek picks for foster parents, and the Danvers set-up was a pretty awesome backstory. Please say we’re going to see more of it.
- I know Kara didn’t choose to use her powers so she didn’t really practice them, but coming of age on Earth when she did, surely she picked up some type of fighting techniques? No?
- Hank Henshaw is portrayed as the leader of the DEO in Supergirl. If you know your comic history, that’s also the name of Cyborg. Could that be coming around in the future? PLEASE? PLEASE? Make the alien hating DEO person survive an attack through alien tech? Pretty please?
- With the new Superman vs. Batman movie coming next year, and the he/him references throughout, I doubt that uber cousin will be making much more than shadow appearances throughout the series. And no General Zodd.
- No horse.
Did you watch the pilot? What did you think?