The latest DC property to make its way to the small screen has finally made its debut on UK TV. Supergirl (CBS, 2015-) is here!
When the trailers broke a few months back they were met with quite a mixed response, Ugly Betty with super powers was used a lot to describe the footage. So what is it like?
It is actually ok, yes, it has its flaws and it departs from the comics a bit, but hey, this is TV and things have to change in order to grow the property and transfer it to another medium.
So, what do we have here. A solid start with an 12-year-old Kara Zor-el being sent to earth by here parents to protect her infant cousin. Something goes wrong and she is stranded in the phantom zone for 30 years. Finally making her way to earth, her cousin is now Superman, she is left in the care of a foster family and decides to grow up without using her powers.
Flash forward 10 years and we have a 20 something Kara working as an assistant to a media mogul, she feels the urge to use her powers and find her place in the world. Throw in an underground government agency, a prison full of escaped Kryptonian villains and the obligatory super hero identity crisis and love triangle and you pretty much have Supergirl.
The first episode was fun and that was mainly down to the lead Melissa Benoist, she is great as the awkward Kara, out of her depth in her job as well as her role as a superhero, with echos of Helen Slater in her performance, she was big hit in our house. I liked the links to the wider Superman universe, Superman is mentioned throughout the episode and while he will never actually feature, his presence is felt throughout.
Jimmy Olsen (James here) looks like he will be the mouthpiece for Big Blue throughout the series. He is played by black actor Mehcad Brooks and is very different from the young photographer in the comics, and it really works well. A nice casting touch too was having Helen Slater (Supergirl from the 1984 film) and Dean Cain (Superman from Lois and Clark) as Kara’s adoptive parents. It is early days to see how the cast works out, but the early signs are good, having said that there are two possible problems Calista Flockheart’s Cat Grant comes across as a rip of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and David Harewood’s Hank Henshaw is in danger of becoming a pantomime style villain in waiting.
The bad stuff now, the main problem I have with the set up is that the whole Kryptonian villains on the loose on earth from The Phantom Zone has been done in Smallville already and feels a bit repetitive, still this will be less of a problem for a new audience. The fact that we kept being reminded that Supergirl was female was a little tedious and the exchange about girl/woman just felt a bit out of place. I struggle a bit with the anti-meta task force angle too, but theses are all minor complaints at the moment at least.
On a whole, there is enough in there to keep me interested, and to be honest, given the fact that my daughter is named after this character, it is going to take an awful lot for me not to watch, I am just glad that it wasn’t dreadful as the early footage suggested it might be.
Elsewhere in DC on TV land, The Flash and Arrow returned to our screens this month for their 2nd and 4th seasons.
The Flash first, this was always the more light-hearted of the two shows and looks like it will remain so. Looks like they are going down the Earth 2 route, which will be great for DC hero spotters, 3 episodes in and it is danger of getting stuck in a freak of the week format. Still, it is great fun to watch and there is a rumor that Tom Welling maybe popping up in a cameo to reprise his Smallville role…
Arrow looks like it has lightened up a bit for season 4, the flashbacks are still tedious and they have even added a dumb flash forward sequence, but, like The Flash, it’s 3 episodes in and I am actually enjoying it more than I have in a long time, with John Constantine coming to the show this season and I will remain glued.
Well, with Channel 5 holding Gotham back until the new year (to avoid the US midseason break) that is all for now.
Thanks for reading x