TV Show Review: Supergirl Season 1

supergirlI’d seen a few things about the television series Supergirl recently and decided to investigate a little more in-depth so I went out and purchased the first season on DVD.

“Meet Kara Danvers, aka Kara Zor-El, who escaped the doomed planet Krypton at age 12 and was raised by her foster family, the Danverses, on Earth. There, she learned to conceal her superpowers and keep her identity a secret. Years later, Kara lives in National City working for fierce taskmaster Cat Grant alongside her friends, IT technician Winslow “Winn” Schott and photographer James Olsen. But Kara’s days of keeping her talents a secret are over when Hank Henshaw, head of a super-secret agency where Kara’s older sister, Alex, works, enlists her to help them protect the world from sinister threats. Though Kara struggles to balance her extraordinary skills with her human emotions, her heart soars when she takes to the skies as the DC Comics character Supergirl.”

The first season contains 20 episodes: Pilot, Stronger Together, Fight or Flight, How Does She Do It? Livewire, Red Faced, Human For a Day, Hostile Takeover, Blood Bonds, Childish Things, Strange Visitor From Another Planet, Bizarro, For the Girl Who Has Everything, Truth, Justice and the American Way, Solitude, Falling, Manhunter, World’s Finest, Myriad, and Better Angels.

This is going to be an odd way to start a review, but when I was first researching this series, I performed a basic search and was sent to one of the professional sites. I’m not indicating exactly which one because I honestly don’t remember and I don’t want to post information I know for a fact is inaccurate. The very first comment about the show as a whole was from someone who posted about how it was episode after episode of “more feminist crap.” This made me determined to find the series and buy it within a day. Nothing makes me happier than seeing positive representation for overlooked and underappreciated characters and shows, especially if that show has the potential to bring hope into the world.

Since I purchased the first season of Supergirl, I have binge-watched the entire season. Twice. And I even started trying to watch the episodes on cwtv, since I have the inability to watch them live. I think I’ve seen every episode they’ve posted also at least twice.

So what is it about this show that motivates me to continue to watch it, and to do so repeatedly?

First of all, the show does a lot of really neat little nerdy things. Kara Danvers (Supergirl)’s foster mom is played by Helen Slater, who is the same actress who played Supergirl in the original movie from 1984. Jeremiah Danvers, Kara’s foster father and Alex’s actual father, is played by Dean Cain, who is the same actor who portrayed Clark Kent/Superman in the 1990s television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Both the original Supergirl movie and Lois and Clark had a lasting impact on me during my youth and I have positive feelings for both, even though it’s been a very long time since I’ve watched any of them. Supergirl also adds in a lot of the comic book mythology and combines new characters with familiar ones, which makes the series a special treat for people with a comic book and a movie background like mine.

I think the strongest aspect of this show is the casting. While from the outside looking in, it would appear as though most of the cast are women, the truth is that this is probably one of the most balanced casts I’ve seen in a show. If you count the main characters on the back of the first season guide, you have exactly three women and three men.

supergirl_castThis is probably the single most aesthetically pleasing James/Jimmy Olsen I’ve ever seen in any rendition of the Superman universes and one of the special features on the last DVD in this season is from the San Diego Comic Con panel in 2015, which was a little awkward because Mehcad Brooks, the actor who plays James Olsen, was encouraged to show off his rather spectacular six-pack of abdominal muscles.

Winslow “Winn” Schott, played by Jeremy Jordan, does a fabulous job of being the over-looked IT guy and he was one of the reasons I enjoyed the pilot episode especially so much. When Kara/Supergirl shows Winn her powers, she does so because she knows that he’s going to be excited for her. He’s so excited for her that he actually is the one who designs her Supergirl costume. Winn is easily a super genius and the fact that he made an amazing costume for his best friend to go out and become a superhero says a lot about the power of this character’s heart and his skills. He is *proud* of the costume and I thought it was one of the best scenes in the pilot episode where they were trying out different outfits and talking about using different materials to be more durable and subtly changing small parts of the costume until they got things just perfect.

Chyler Leigh as Alexandra “Alex” Danvers is easily my favorite character in the series so far. She’s absolutely human and she demonstrates true love, devotion, faith, and general badassery by working extremely hard to be successful. She studies Xenobiology as well as being able to use just about any weapon. Above and beyond everything for me, though, is that she cares. She cares and believes in Kara/Supergirl *so much* that she is willing to sacrifice everything without hesitation. But she’s also badass enough to know exactly what her capabilities and limitations are. She always finds a way.

Cat Grant, played by Calista Flockhart, is as real as people come. She calls out blatant sexism and unapologetically talks about the way the world is balanced. I really appreciated Cat and Kara’s interactions because they constantly worked to make each other stronger and better, but they don’t compete against each other. They are both strong women, working together to make the world a better place and to bring more hope into the world. Cat is often a mentor for Kara/Supergirl by providing knowledge that is designed to help Kara become a more effective assistant and person and to help Supergirl become a better hero. Cat has some really great lines and she is wonderful at demonstrating effective ways to lead a business by being caring and decisive. If only more businesses had leadership like this in the real world.

Melissa Benoist is clearly the perfect choice to play Kara/Supergirl. As Kara, the mostly awkward assistant, she demonstrates that there are more important things to focus on rather than appealing to people’s sense of fashion or how they believe she ought to behave. She’s socially awkward, which is both relatable and adorable at the same time, but she’s also incredibly smart and dedicated to her job, both as an assistant to Cat Grant and as Supergirl. She wants to help people and she wants to learn how to help people better. She brings out the best in the people around her and she inspires hope.

This show as a whole brings out the best in people. Above and beyond all things, I think this show is about hope and about making the world a better place, and I think that’s something the world as a whole desperately needs right now. I don’t think watching shows where everyone dies and the world gets destroyed is doing anything positive for us as a society or as a people. I think that shows like this can inspire us to be better than we are; to be mindful of the world in which we live and the hypocrisies we often unknowingly support. I think this series also shows that there is redemption available to anyone who wants it, but that same redemption takes a lot of work.

I could probably talk about each individual episode, or go into more depth on the plot and other major character development, but I really don’t feel like giving television spoilers for those who haven’t seen this show yet and might be interested in watching it at some point in the future. I will say that I’m glad I bought the entire first season because this is probably the only television show I’ve ever watched where every episode ends on a cliff-hanger. I liked not having to wait to find out what was going on.

Considering how many times I’ve already binge-watched just this season, I think it’s safe to say this is one of my very few solid fives from my rating chain. I obviously own it, I’ve obviously watched it multiple times in a very short period, I very much intend on buying the future seasons, and I am extremely likely to continue rewatching it in the future.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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