Tag Archives: Supergirl

Supergirl: “Stronger Together” is a solid followup to last week’s overstuffed pilot

“Stronger Together” is a strong second episode for Supergirl after a slightly overstuffed (though very informative) pilot. However, it feels as if there are a couple of different shows being mashed together here, and I’m not sure that it’s entirely working.

There’s the show about Kara Zor El, plucky young super hero growing into her powers and figuring out her place in the world with the help of her friends. Then there’s the show with secret government agencies, a prison full (or, I guess, not full any longer) of evil aliens, and Kara’s presumed-dead-but-really-evil aunt, General Astra. These two shows so far seem to have very little to do with each other, their tones so disparate, and they are even so visually different that transitions between them feel jarring.

On the one hand, it’s nice to see a super hero property avoiding some of the darkness that has become so increasingly characteristic of the genre, but Supergirl seems less intent on eschewing it altogether and more committed to just keeping the dark parts of the show almost completely divorced from the brighter parts. And so, half of this episode was Kara adorkably fumbling her way through her first days as a superhero, and the other half was her finding out that her mom’s evil twin wants to murder her.

Still, it’s an awfully enjoyable show.

Melissa Benoist continues to bring a sort of irrepressible awkward charm to Kara Zor-El while also showing to advantage in her action scenes. One thing I noticed this week that I really like about the way this Supergirl is being portrayed is that whether it’s Benoist’s natural physique or some strategic padding, Supergirl has got some seriously visible upper body strength. While the character isn’t devoid of sex appeal, it seems as if the show is dedicated to presenting her as tough, practical, and sensible first.

The show also isn’t jumping too quickly into the implied-to-be-impending love triangle between Kara and James and Winn. I was especially concerned about Winn after his moment of indignation in the pilot of Kara’s lack of interest in dating him, but he seems to be settling comfortably into being a true and loyal friend to her. This week, while Winn did seem slightly competitive with James, I didn’t get any of the Nice Guy™ vibes that I detected in the first episode. James, on the other hand, got to have a somewhat romantic moment with Kara this week, but it wasn’t overdone and didn’t feel like a rush on the part of the writers to push Kara into a romantic relationship. Incidentally, this was one of the episode’s best scenes, title drop and all.

My personal favorite scenes this week, though, were all scenes between women.

Alex and Kara’s fight was important, and I’m very glad that the seemingly too-quick resolution of their conflict in the pilot wasn’t the end of any complexity in their relationship. So far, the show seems to be avoiding a lot of the standard troubled sibling relationship tropes in favor of showing a complicated but generally happy friendship between Kara and Alex. Certainly they have disagreements, but they seem to also care really deeply for each other in a way that colors all their interactions.

The next standout scene was Kara’s fight with General Astra. I think they could have played up the trauma Kara likely experienced upon meeting her mom’s evil twin, but it was a pretty badass fight. The show’s visual effects come off a little hokey at points, but I actually enjoy that as I feel it makes for a more authentic comic book feel. I don’t think anyone is watching this for realism.

Finally, I adored the final scene of the episode. With so few female-led superhero projects in production, Kara picking up Cat Grant’s car is a nice subversion of regular super hero tropes. Also, it just looks cool. Hovering in the air, Kara looks positively angelic, and this might be the most sort of iconic moment of of the series so far.

Speaking of Cat Grant, though, brings me to my one major criticism of this episode: It seems a little hypocritical of an ostensibly feminist show to be CGI-ing the shit out of Calista Flockhart’s face. At first I thought there was just a general soft focus in the scenes at CatCo, which tend to be very pastel-colored, but the more I saw it, the more I realized that it’s just on Cat Grant’s face. I totally see Cat as a character who is vain and image-obsessed, but that would mean lots of make-up or maybe some too-young designer outfits. This is actually someone going in during post-production and removing all the lines in her face so she looks like a creepy android or something. Needless to say, I hate this so much.

Overall, though, I’m still enjoying the show a lot, and I can’t wait to find out how the interview went.

Supergirl: I’m only half in love with this show, but it’s still early

Supergirl’s first episode is everything I dreamed it would be. It’s a huge info dump of some of the most ridiculous superhero mythology ever conceived, and it’s self-consciously (and at times misguidedly) feminist in a way that I hope doesn’t turn out to be characteristic of the series. But it’s also enormously fun.

Melissa Benoist is mostly responsible for this as she plays Kara Zor-El with a sort boundless enthusiasm and charm that makes her instantly lovable. Benoist’s charisma isn’t the only thing to love about this Supergirl, though. While the episode itself is full of dull/silly-but-necessary backstory that is told in flashbacks and voiceovers, Kara’s character is shown to us and by the end of this pilot, we have a pretty good idea of who she is.

I adore Kara’s straightforward earnestness and her apparent total lack of any ability to keep a secret. I love that Kara isn’t a reluctant superhero, although the pilot is careful to show that her transition from determinedly ordinary woman to costumed hero isn’t going to be entirely seamless. Still, this isn’t some kind of chosen one scenario, Kara’s powers aren’t a surprise or a burden, and it looks like most of Kara’s challenges are going to be external ones.

Even better, this pilot basically starts with the assumption that Kara is smart, strong, and capable of dealing with these challenges. The only time we see Kara out of sorts is when she meets James (not Jimmy) Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) who is so hot that she’d have to be far more than superhuman not to be flustered. In her other interactions, even with her demanding boss, Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), Kara is confident and earnest without being annoying.

This characterization of Kara is probably the most feminist thing about this show, and it’s definitely the feminist thing about the show that feels least studied and forced. I appreciate that the show is explicitly feminist, and I there are actually a couple of more self-aware moments that are downright hilarious (the waitress who just straight up says “Can you believe it? A female hero! Nice for my daughter to have someone like that to look up to,” for example), but I’m not convinced yet that this is entirely intentional. Cat Grant’s speech about the “Supergirl” name was downright cringeworthy, and the misogynist villain was a bit of a flop.

The show also isn’t as feminist in its execution as it ostensibly is in its writing. While there are multiple female characters, and the episode passes the Bechdel test many times over, Kara doesn’t seem to have any actual female friends. There are also no women of color in this first episode at all, and while it’s nice to see a race bent James Olsen, I did get the uncomfortable feeling that Mehcad Brooks was being used as “exotic” eye candy.

It could be that these are things that will be improved upon in future episodes. This is only the pilot, after all, and often there are major changes made between pilots and subsequent episodes. I sincerely hope that this is the case here, because I think Supergirl has the makings of a truly good show.

What I will be (and you should be) watching this fall

So, it took me most of a summer of watching light fare to recover from this last season of Game of Thrones, but I think I’m more or less ready for watching and writing about some new television this fall. I won’t be writing about everything I watch, obviously, and there are a couple of things I intend to write about that I don’t know if I’ll be able to stick with–that could end up like my watching and posting about Killjoys did this summer; I still haven’t watched the last two episodes of that show, I was so bored/frustrated with it.

Here’s the plan:

The Mindy Project – Tuesdays on Hulu starting 9/15. I honestly love this show, and I will watch it til the end of time, although I rarely write about it outside of a line or two on Tumblr. The first episode of season four is excellent, and the first three seasons are available to stream on Hulu as well so it’s not too late too catch up if you’re really dedicated.

Doctor Who – Saturdays on BBC America starting 9/19. Doctor Who is another show I just can’t quit. It’s also one that I intend to write about this year, although I haven’t had much positive to say about it during Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner. I’m not making any promises about this one, though. Right now, my goal is to have my Doctor Who post up on Monday mornings, but I’m not going to destroy myself over this show the way I do over Game of Thrones. If it gets too insufferable, I will likely switch to just watching it.

Minority Report – Mondays on Fox starting 9/21. Frankly, I’m already bored by this series, but I’ll probably check out the first episode or two just to confirm my suspicion that it makes no sense. I’m pretty sure the whole point of Minority Report was that the whole pre-crime thing is a terrible idea and this show seems to be presupposing that–maybe it isn’t? Okaaaay.

Scream Queens – Tuesdays on Fox starting 9/22. This show is relevant to basically all of my interests. And it has Jamie Lee Curtis. I’m currently planning to write about this one on Wednesdays.

Heroes Reborn – Thursdays on NBC starting 9/24. This show is basically not relevant to anything. No one wanted or asked for it. But it’s a thing that is happening. Since I loved the first season of Heroes as well as anybody, I will be watching this, but I’ll only be writing about it if it’s really good or really comically terrible.

Bob’s Burgers – Sundays on Fox starting 9/27. Love it. Watch it with my family. Will almost never post anything about it except gifs of Tina on Tumblr.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Sundays on Fox starting 9/27. Also love, but also won’t write about unless something major happens.

iZombie – Tuesdays on the CW starting 10/6. The first season of this show was a little uneven, and I wasn’t totally thrilled with the way it ended, but I plan to tune in again this year and write about it some more. Depending on how things pan out, I may end up choosing between this and Scream Queens to write about, though. Just, realistically, I’m not sure I have it in me to write about more than one show a day, especially as I’ve got a lot of reading that I want to do over the next few months as well.

Jane the Virgin – Mondays on the CW starting 10/12. I won’t write about this show (mostly because it’s basically perfect), but it’s another one that we watch as a family and I can’t wait.

Supergirl – Mondays on CBS starting 10/26. I kind of dislike most super hero stuff, but this show looks completely charming. I’m currently planning to write about it.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – Saturdays on Starz starting 10/31. This show is definitely what I am doing on Halloween. I’m not sure if I will write about it or not. It depends on how good this show is and how bad this season of Doctor Who is.

Into the Badlands – Sundays on AMC starting 11/15. This show is almost certainly awful, but I’m kind of interested in it anyway. No plans to write about it.

The Man in the High Castle – On Amazon Prime starting 11/20. I haven’t read the Philip K. Dick novel this series is based upon, but the trailer for the show looks promising. I’m hoping to read the book sometime over the next couple of months, and then I might watch the show.

Jessica Jones – On Netflix starting 11/20. Another Marvel show. I’m somewhat looking forward to this one, but I haven’t even finished Daredevil yet, so there’s no telling when I’ll get around to it. I do really like Krysten Ritter, though.

Childhood’s End – On SyFy starting 12/14. I read this book over the summer, and I totally understand why it’s one of the great sci-fi novels. I also totally have no faith in this adaptation of it. It looks legit awful, and I’m a little embarrassed for SyFy about it. I’ll definitely be watching it, though. And I expect that I’ll write some about it, too. I think it’s going to be just that enraging.

The Expanse – On SyFy starting 12/14. I’m somewhat more optimistic about this show, although I haven’t read the source material (and don’t really intend to unless the show is really good). I’ve no idea whether I’ll write about it or not. It depends on whether I have any feelings about it strong enough to be worth sharing.

I’m really disappointed that the new shows that seem intended to capitalize on the popularity of Game of Thrones-esque, gritty, dark medieval European settings (The Bastard Executioner and The Last Kingdom) both look boring as shit. I’m actually a pretty big fan of the gritty medieval stuff, but I have no desire to watch shows that look to be almost entirely devoid of women. Game of Thrones might hate its women, but at least they exist there.

In all honestly, the shows I’m most looking forward to this fall are all returning favorites. The new stuff that’s coming out isn’t that exciting, with a couple of exceptions, and a solid half of it looks actively bad. I figure I’ll try a few new things, though. Worst case scenario, everything is terrible and I end up reading more books instead.

The new trailer for Supergirl looks super fun

I am unabashedly excited about this show no matter what anybody says against it. I don’t think it’s going to be extremely good, and the entire Supergirl/Superman mythology is absurd, but it looks like exactly the sort of light, slightly silly entertainment I’ve been wanting recently. I wasn’t interested in Arrow or The Flash, and I couldn’t get into Agents of Shield (and therefore skipped Agent Carter), but Supergirl looks like it’s right up my alley.

Premiere is October 26.