I admit when I first heard CBS was going to do a live action version of Supergirl that I cringed a bit. Not because they were doing the show for the most part, but my worry about what direction they were going to take it. Lets face it, female superheroes are kind of getting the short end of the stick lately, with a severe lack of them in lead roles. There are plenty in secondary roles, but it feels like its more about sex appeal than strong women. CBS is not known for this type of show in recent history. They are known for catering to a particular demographic historically and its one that superheroes are probably not a staple of their television consumption. That has started to change in recent years with shows like Big Bang Theory and Scorpion, amongst a few others, that have started
drawing in a younger demographic (especially in the male category per the published statistics). So, yes, I was fairly sceptical when the announcement came out. Then we got our first look at her official costume.
That image is what made me decide to give the show a chance. Its classic in its look. Its simple and not sexualized. And playing the title character is Melissa Benoist. Those who were fans of Glee are familiar with her. She’s an interesting choice for the role. There’s an innocence to her face and overall personality. But I am torn about her being the choice they went with. She seems much too young to me. I am assuming they were going with an older version of her based on they story we piece together from the trailer. But she doesn’t seem old enough to fill the role, along with my confusion about how old is she supposed to be exactly. In the trailer, she is shown to be about 12 years old when sent to Earth by her parents at the same time as her cousin, Superman, who was a baby at this time. But trailer makes it appear as though he’s older than her. If someone can explain why this is (it seems to be along the lines of the original comic incarnation of her character), please comment on the article.
But lets talk about that trailer, shall we? I was equal parts squee and wariness during it. I’m truly torn about it. Lets take it point by point:
- The trailer firmly establishes her as being somewhere around her mid-30’s (destruction of Krypton was 24 years prior, she seems around 12 during that scene). Again, I question Melissa looking old enough to be this character.
- Typical Clark Kent-esque persona. Can’t really argue with it. Didn’t like the whole “asking out” scene, it feels like we’re treading into rom-com territory.
- Calista Flockhart channels her best Miranda Priestly impersonation, which I will admit I found amusing.
- Jimmy Olsen has grown up and doesn’t like being called Jimmy anymore. Kara’s fangirl reaction to him was adorably dorky when she realized who he was because of the photo of Superman.
- Now we get to a point I really liked. Instead of wanting to hide who she really is, she’s not comfortable with it. She acknowledges shes special and it bothers her she has to hide it. And when her chance comes to step into her role as Supergirl, she doesn’t care if people know its her. She wants them to know. She literally stands proud in the spotlight for the cameras.
- I’ve heard debates about why she should be called Superwoman and not Supergirl before, but I think the speech given by Flockhart’s character when Kara questions why they are calling her Supergirl nails it on the head. Just because they are using the word “girl” doesn’t take away from who and what she is.
- The whole “You’re a lesbian, thats why you’re not into me!” moment when she was revealing she was Supergirl to her co-worker really bothered. Because apparently that could be the only reason she’s not into him, right?
- Thank god they didn’t go with THAT outfit. And for the record, capes are cool. Just like bowties and fezzes.
- I’m looking forward to seeing more of the working out her costume & discovering her powers. And I admit to getting choked up at the pride in her voice over wearing her family’s coat of arms.
- I don’t know what to think of this military organization, and until we learn more about them, I’ll reserve judgement on their role in the DCU. But I was extremely bothered with her being told to go back to getting someones coffee if she wanted to help.
- I liked seeing her sister coming around and encouraging her to be who she really is.
- I’m trying to figure out the song at the end. While its kind of poppish, it feels right somehow, kind of uplifting and positive in a powerful way.
Verdict: I think this show has potential if they steer clear of tropes and let Supergirl be who she is. Not someone who has to rely on men to be powerful and define who she is. But I have a lingering doubt that CBS can do this successfully. I do like the lighter, more fun, tone this show seems like its going to have. Recent entries in the live action DCU have been very dark and broody for the most part, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think the tone this show is going with will help to set it apart from the others. I just hope it doesn’t go too comedy and make her into a joke. We need a strong, female lead superhero offering right now, and this has the potential to be that.