There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

So here’s the deal: my jam has always been the Bat Family. I love Batman and all the Gotham Knights. The fact that I disliked Gotham the show sort of made me sad, but I don’t giving up on it. I’ve never been a huge Superman fan, although I’ve seen all of the movies, a lot of Lois & Clark, and read many years of JLA. I also loved the Trinity comic book which starred Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. I still consider that one of my favorite series. I’ve read plenty of Supergirl over the years, most notably when she was Linda Danvers, one of the slightly lesser known versions of her. But Linda was Supergirl right around the time I started getting into the comics in the mid-90s. When I heard about the Supergirl show being launched, I was delighted. I was especially excited once I heard that it was not going to be a gritty dark show, since they have that with Arrow and it didn’t really fit Kara well. I saw this show as an excellent opportunity to give little girls and teenage girls someone to look up to, and it was probably going to be aimed at families more than anyone else. That might not typically be my kind of show, but I was ready for something different. I am pleased to say that’s exactly what I ended up getting!

The pilot wasn’t perfect by any means, but pilots rarely are. What any pilot needs is to set up the world, the main characters, and a vague idea of the overhanging plots/themes. This one did it well, if a little clunkily at times. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Supergirl is Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist), the cousin of Kal-El aka Superman. She was sent by her parents to help protect her baby cousin, but she got stuck in the Phantom Zone and was frozen in time for 24 years. When she finally landed on Earth, Kal was already grown up and rescued her. He gave her over to Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers, trusted scientists who helped Kal/Clark figure out his powers. Kara was raised in an ordinary life while her cousin went around being Superman, and she longs to be a hero too. It’s hard to say what’s held her back other than an inferiority complex and the belief of her family she should be safe and keep out o fit. Instead Kara’s grown up to be the assistant of Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), the head of a mega-media company. Kara’s sweet and a little mousy, and she cares a great deal about her serious older sister Alex (Chyler Leigh). Alex is an influential force who wants Kara to not be a superhero. It’s strange Kara never learned how to use her abilities much before now, considering how useful they are, but she does have a vague sense of them. When Alex’s plane almost crashes, Kara zooms to the rescue and manages to save them, getting a name for herself as an upcoming superhero. Cat in particular gets into it and coins the name Supergirl. They do a little back and forth about whether Supergirl is silly since she’s not a girl, she’s a woman, and Cat says … honestly a little nonsense. Really they just wanted to address what was likely to become a point of contention for critics, but it honestly doesn’t help much. I think they could’ve made her Superwoman, but if they’re looking for name recognition, this is how they’re going to go. It is what it is.


Kara tells her secret identity to co-worker Winn (Jeremy Jordan) who already has a crush on her, and does doubly so now that he knows she’s a superhero. He leans toward the Nice Guy attitude at times so I’m going to be watching him carefully, but for now it’s kind of funny for her to have a nerdy sidekick a la Jimmy Olsen. SPEAKING OF JIMMY OLSEN he is a character in this played by the lovely Mehcad Brooks who will supposedly be her main love interest. Yes please. A+++ choice. Much better than Nice Guy over there. Jimmy shows up to work with Cat, but he is also there to help her on Clark’s behalf. Kara’s rise to fame gets the attention of the alien Vartox who was responsible for the near plane crash she stopped. He wanted to challenge a Kryptonian so here was his chance. Kara also comes up against Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) who runs the Department of Extra-Normal Operations. Kara’s shocked to find out that her sister Alex works for them and that she turned Kara in when her powers started up. Ouch, Alex. The problem is that Kara’s ship also landed at the same time as a criminal ship from the Phantom Zone, so that means there are a bunch of superpowered criminals about to make some trouble.

Kara at first gets her ass beaten by Vartox, probably due to the fact she’s not in full control of her powers yet, and because she doesn’t have the confidence. Alex has a change of heart and gives her sister support to become the superhero she can be, and also Kara hears from her mother Alura. This is a fun little plot device considering we know that Clark used to get advice from a recording of his father too. Kara defeats Vartox with her heat vision, but then he kills himself. Ooookay. The DEO decide to work with Kara now that she’s coming into her own as Supergirl, and she gets her awesome cape from Jimmy as a gift from Clark. Listen this show is pretty light hearted and adorable, and I like it. It is a little Devil Wears Prada, and some people don’t like that. It’s not exactly my typical type of show, but it’s a breath of fresh air considering all the angst we’re getting from superheroes these days. I don’t think Supergirl will be without some drama and angst, but if the overall message is that of positivity and hope, it’ll be a nice change. That’s what the Superman family is supposed to be about, but they’ve taken Clark so dark in the past few movies. Clark’s natural kindness and optimism about humanity was very important to his character, at least when I used to read Superman comics it was. I like the idea of Kara being that force in the media. Plus I like the idea of such a positive female role model for young girls.


Basically to the haters I say ‘deal with it.’ Even if I hated this show I would watch it, because if Supergirl fails, it’ll give studio execs more of an excuse for why female led superhero projects should never be supported. I have a little hope because the pilot viewing number was very high. Is the pilot perfect? Oh god no. Not at all. There are a lot of things they need to iron out. But it has potential, and I want to see it meet that potential. It is a little silly and cheesy, and I feel like that’s okay because of the audience it is aimed at and what it wants to be. The cast is likable and fun. Melissa Benoist is adorable; I never watched Glee when she was on it, but I enjoy her sweet hearted Kara so far. I love that the bond between sisters is going to clearly be important, because you can always get my thumb up when siblings/family are a major part of a show. Some people say it’s anti-feminist and … I’m not sure I get it. Is it because she’s girly and awkward? She’s a powerful female character in charge of her own show. That’s pretty damn great. People say it’s the superhero The Devil Wears Prada and I don’t see why that has to be an insult. The Devil Wears Prada is a great movie with awesome female leads. Two Oscar winning actresses starred in that! Is it because that’s considered a “chick flick” and therefore deserves derision? I’m just going to side eye you over here.

Everyone has their own taste, and it’s okay not to like the show or to find Kara appealing. I personally like that she’s well meaning and sweet rather than gritty and tortured. I also like gritty and tortured characters (Hello Batman my precious). There are all types of women, and there’s nothing wrong with having a varied type of women characters. It’s everything right! For every Batman there’s a Superman. For every Black Widow there’s a Supergirl. They’re all great characters, but they’re different, and that’s good. The more women characters we get in the spotlight, the more likely we are to see complicated and nuanced performances and writing. Jessica Jones is coming out soon, and eventually Captain Marvel too, so we’re getting more superheroines out there. I’m excited. And I really hope next year we’ll be seeing a whole crowd of Supergirls on Halloween. BTW, I had Supergirl pajamas growing up, and I used to run around yelling that I was flying. I have the urge to do the same right now.


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