Continuing the trend of live action television shows based on their comic book intellectual properties, WBDC, (that’s Warner Brothers and DC comics for the uninitiated) has produced a third entry series following the success from both Arrow and The Flash now comes Supergirl.
It’s apparently obvious that this series is not only aimed toward the comic geek crowd but most important, the female demographic as more and more women and girls are embracing pop culture mediums such as comics, cartoons, and franchise films. So why not have a female superhero representing the opposite sex?
Based on the leaked pilot, which was slated for release as of November of this year, Supergirl chronicles the twenty-four-year-old Kara Zor-El, who was taken in by the Danvers family when she was 13 after being sent away from the exploding planet of Krypton. She must now learn to embrace her powers after previously hiding them from the general public.
The adventure begins with Krypton and its populace faced with extinction. Kara’s parents send her aboard a second space traveling “Lifeboat” on her way toward Earth in order to watch over her younger cousin Kal-El. But unfortunately her flight plans have been averted as the ship crashes into the phantom zone which helps explains why Kara has not aged as much as her cousin who makes an all too brief “cameo” as her rescuer and is in fact the one who watches over her by providing her with a new family as well as adopting to her new home.
The story itself is your typical heroes’ journey trope, however there are a few allusions that stood out such as the classic metaphor of a women not being capable of doing a man’s job and in this case, a “Superman’s” job. These little references may sound familiar to those few who have seen Marvel’s Agent Carter series. But yet, the show pulls it off. I’m also impressed with the fan service like Superman being shown in silhouette, actors Dean Cain (Lois and Clark) and Helen Slater (1984’s Supergirl movie) making appearances, just to name a few. The supporting cast isn’t bad either and needless to say that it’s very diverse.
The special effects are decent especially during Kara’s plane rescue attempt (sound familiar?). What’s interesting is how far TV series tricks of the trade have progressed and in fact, edges out what was seen from previous effects from both Superman and Superman Returns respectively.
The pacing from the pilot is adequate and there was hardly a moment when I was actually bored throughout this episode. Kara immediately finds self-acceptance as a predestined heroine who seeks to follow in her cousin’s footsteps and does an impressive job doing so when she faces off against a criminal who managed to escape from the phantom zone thanks in part to Kara’s ship accidentally freeing him, among others. In turn, the convicts would like to repay the debt by eliminating her especially since she is the daughter of Alura Zor-El-who in fact, had previously imprisoned these Kryptonian felons.
Unless there’s an upcoming rouges gallery from the comics’ source materials, expect your typical monster-of-the-week scenario. That being said, actress Melissa Benoist gives a solid performance as Kara Danvers aka Supergirl. And the outfit is on par with the other recent DC superheroes.
There’s a humorous montage scene with her testing her costume against criminals while getting fashion tips from her friend, Winn who happens to be gay. Stereotypical? I highly doubt it since the series developer and executive producer, Greg Berlanti is gay himself.
The protagonist grows into her role as the predestined superhero or to some, guardian angel who now works alongside a secret organization investigating and thwarting potential extra-terrestrial threats.
One of the supporting characters serve as a lynch-pin of how and why Kara allies herself with the organization.
In short, Supergirl seems to be a potentially good-if not great series for CBS and if the upcoming episodes airing this Fall are as good as the pilot, then chalk up another victory for DC.