This Supergirl isn’t all that super, but it is “okay”. It’s kind of “Ally McBeal” meets the “The Flash.” This episode is the original pilot for the series, so there is a lot exposition and there are a lot of introductions. Which doesn’t leave all that much room for story. Making everything tonight feel rushed, and a little cheesy. But it has potential, so hopefully the creative team will shake out the kinks once the series gets going.
The Supergirl pilot was conceived and produced by Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti, and the other creative minds that brought us THE FLASH. And for the record, I loved the Flash pilot. But the Supergirl pilot isn’t as clever. The set-up is a little clunky and contrived, and it hits you over the head with the whole ‘Girl Power’ theme a bit too hard for my taste, being a guy. But little girls will no doubt love it.
I’ll refrain from too many spoilers, but I think it’s safe to say that I enjoyed Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl. She plays a nice variation of Christopher Reeve’s Clark Kent/Superman persona, with the awkwardness and the glasses disguise.
Kara comes to earth at the age of about twelve to protect baby Kal-el, aka Superman. But because of an astral complication, she arrives on earth years later than planned , when Kal-el’s already a man, and a major hero. So, since she’s still only twelve, Superman leaves her with a normal human family. And she pretty much forsakes her own powers to grow up ‘normal.’ Then, as an adult, a convenient catastrophe strikes and she leaps into action, choosing to be a hero, like her cousin.
Those early years are just skipped over, so it left me wondering. What twelve year old, in their right mind, would just give up flying, super strength, heat vision etc.? It doesn’t make sense to me. But that’s what Kara does. Now, twenty-four, she’s living in National City and working for the media mogul Cat Grant, as an assistant. Then when she does decide to become Supergirl, Kara keeps her assistant job, but also goes to work for a secret agency that protects the city from alien threats. An agency that, unbeknownst to Kara, her foster sister also happens to be working for. What a lucky break.
But the pilot’s biggest problem is SUPERMAN. Yes, my favorite hero in the whole wide world is mentioned throughout, but you don’t really see him. And they don’t mention him by name. They call him the ‘Big Guy,’ etc. So you’re left wondering why he’s such a no-show. She’s just starting out as a hero, so she’s still pretty green when it comes to the whole hero thing. (Yes, that was a Kryptonite reference) And when Supergirl needs help, her cousin’s just not there. It felt like something was missing.
All that being said, I think the regular episodes might actually be fun, even without the big guy. Kara will have to juggle her new responsibilities as a superhero, with her very human relationships. And the supporting cast is interesting, to say the least.
James Olsen is there to seemingly fill us in on all things Superman. And possibly be a love interest for Supergirl. But he’s not the young, naïve Jimmy Olsen we knew and loved in the comics. He’s older, and he’s been hitting the weights. He’s got swagger. And he’s African American now.
Supergirl’s best friend is the nerdy Winn Schott, and he’s comical and annoying. But given that his name does carry some weight in the DC Universe, he could become more than he appears to be. In the comics, Winslow Schott is a Superman villain known as The Toyman. And if you watch The Flash, the lovable Caitlin Snow, is also Killer Frost in the comics. The creators of the show must enjoy giving us these kinds of Easter Eggs.
Her boss, Cat Grant, seems to be a character right out of the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.” Grant is domineering and a diva. And Supergirl’s foster sister is supportive and overly protective, almost parental.
How all this is going to shake out, is hard to say, given what we see in this episode. But you only have to wait a week to find out. Stay tuned.
Programming note: In the US, Supergirl is going head-to-head against Gotham. It’s Supergirl v Batboy! So either chose a side, or DVR one and watch the other.