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Monday, November 2, 2015

Review of Supergirl TV Pilot

So last week, the television show Supergirl premiered.  I was finally able to sit down and watch it last night and I have to say it was mediocre at best.

First I want to talk about the good.  Let’s start with Supergirl and the depiction of her powers.  It is clear to me that they have captured the essence of them and spared no expense on the special effects.  Hopefully, this trend continues as this is why nerds and geeks will watch the show (more on this later).

The ongoing plot, which is something that most television shows do these days, is interesting.  Basically, Kara Zor-El was sent shortly after her cousin Kal-El was sent to Earth in order to protect him.  She was older than Superman at the time but ended up in the Phantom Zone, largely because she wasted time hugging her parents good-bye, and so when she did get to Earth, Superman was already established.

Unfortunately, when she came out of the Phantom Zone, so did a whole slew of criminals as well.  They fled their prisons and are now all over Earth.  Reminds me of that short-lived Fox series Brimstone, which had a similar overarching plot.

So Kara was given to adoptive parents along with an adoptive sister.  She grew up and became a media mogul’s personal bitch.  It is here that she finds a truer calling in becoming a superhero for National City.

Okay, I’ve given the basics of the plot, let’s look at some the character interactions as we transition into the bad.

First of all, I have to say that changing Jimmy Olsen into James Olsen smacks of anti-ginger racism to me.  In the comics and television shows of the past, Olsen was a ginger buffoon.  In this iteration, he is a buff, confident black man.  Because we can’t have a black man portrayed as a buffoon.

Kara is instantly attracted to him, of course, because he’s tall, muscular, and confident.

But wait, it gets better: she has a Beta orbiter.  This guy she leads on throughout much of the show with a very clear indication she only plans on using him.  For example, she has him make her costume.  At the beginning, he asks her on a date and she flatly rejects him.  But she has zero problems with telling him her secret identity and having him help her get started as a superhero.

So basically we have a Reverse Jimmy Olsen cucking a random beta orbiter.  It will not surprise if in a future episode, the Beta-Boy is captured and tied up followed by Supergirl getting captured followed by Reverse Jimmy saving her who in term releases Beta-Boy after mocking him while he’s still tied up.

Then we have her “complex” relationship with her adoptive sister.  Apparently, her sister is part of a group who are seeking out the escaped alien criminals and she tries to “protect” her sister by urging her to keep her abilities a secret.  Yet, I find this to be laughable.  The agency she works for should be bringing in both Kara and Superman for a clean up job, since they are both the best equipped to deal with strong alien threats.  Talk about stupidity.

But yeah, we need that faux conflict to pad out the show.  Half the time when Kara and her sister were interacting, I felt like this was just another primetime soap opera that the CW produces.

Here’s a tip for the producers of the show: your target demographic doesn’t want to see too much girly emotional shit in their superhero shows.  That’s why Buffy went into decline as Angel became more popular.  Your target demographic will be superhero geeks.  You will not be able to branch out beyond that.  Even female comic book geeks will want to watch the show for the action, not the girl talk.

One final note about the show though: it doesn’t play up the misandrist card unlike Agent Carter.  It does a bit of the girl power stuff, but it is more subtle and honestly, a female Kryptonian would qualify as a superior fighter in most cases.  She even uses her sex as a means to defeat the bad guy in the end by tricking him into thinking he as beaten a weaker female in combat, which was clever.

So overall, the show started off as mediocre at best.  While it had its highlights with Supergirl being a superhero, there could have been less cuckoldry and girl talk.  Check it out and see for yourself.  You might like it.  If not, I don’t blame you.