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Supergirl Season 1 Review

by rushilkot3149 on September 17, 2016

Hi! I am a new reviewer on this site and wanted to explain my review process. For season/series reviews, I will give a overview of the season/series, reviewing it using segments before moving on. I will then discuss the characters one by one before moving on to judge the vfx or other factors. These reviews will be scored out of 10 with series reviews having the possibility of individual season scores. For normal week to week reviews, I will employ a similar style. I will discuss the episode and will highlight characters and performances I find important to discuss instead of reviewing every single character. These reviews will also be out of 10. That's all folks! :)


**Spoilers**


Supergirl season 1 had many things going for it. Led by Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kriesberg, successful producers and show runners of The Flash, this show had high expectations. The cast itself is great. From Melissa Benoist to David Harewood, the cast is filled with star power. The show however lacked this star power and struggled to find its footing.

Storylines:

Supergirl's overall story was mediocre at best. Using weak connections, the show primarily used a villain of the week format to progress its story. Unlike shows like The Flash who use the format but keep their main villain relevant, Supergirl lacked any main villains to tie the episodes together. Astra, Non, and Indigo served as the main villains for the season but their appearances and impact were limited to the episodes they were in. Maxwell Lord was also this wild card character but lacked the charisma to create any real connection between him and the audience. 

The beginning half of the season also struggled with finding its identity. It went back and forth from being a show about pushing the feminism identity to a normal superhero show. There were multiple times where the dialogue was cringe worthy or extremely cheesy thus hurting the storyline they were apart of. The storylines lacked true emotions and were only relatable due to the acting. That is not to say that the series was completely horrible. Throughout the show, there are moments and episodes which really shine and show what they show truly can be. The back half of the season had great singular episodes which were enjoyable to watch and had some great acting. But the common problem through even the good episodes was the dialogue and its connection to feminism.

Feminism was the biggest problem in the early episodes. Their attempt to prove what Kara was boiled down to her gender, not her ability. This belief is ignorant of what world these superheroes live in. Any Kryptonian, regardless of gender, would be treated like any other superhero. The Supergirl writers forced these false beliefs that because Kara is a girl, she must go out of her way to prove that a female superhero can still be as valid as a male superhero. Instead Kara's journey should have been about setting herself up as her own hero instead of setting up a hero who is defined by her gender. A perfect example is Black Canary from Arrow. This superhero was set up and went through trials due to her lack of experience as a hero, not because of her gender. Arrow never exploited the Black Canary due to her gender and the media in the show never criticized her for being a girl. All of the CW superhero shows never had a problem with superheroes who were women and frequently showed how strong they were without somebody calling them out for their gender. Why did Supergirl go out of its way to call out Kara for being a girl? Fortunately, this plot point was dropped and the show moved on. But it hurt the first few episodes resulting in a less than pleasurable experience.


The show and Kara divide their time between the DEO and CatCo, which are both not that very compelling. CatCo has three primary side characters in Winn, James, and Cat. Cat was the only interesting character providing a wicked sense of humor and being a person who is able to be a role model. She provided a shoulder for Kara and Supergirl to lean on. But the rest of the characters at CatCo were pointless. Winn was love interest two and was designated hacker with a minor role on the show. As much as Winn served a small function, James served none. He was love interest one and was nothing else. He was nothing else but something for Kara to drool over. And when they gave him a purpose, his mission would be over in a episode and he would go back to being pointless. The DEO also lacked depth as well. Hank  was great but Alex has me worried. I liked her in the role she played but there was nothing much to do with her in the first season. If they do nothing with her and keep her as the comfort for Kara, she will become old and boring in a heartbeat. Which goes back to the divide between both sides of Kara's life. As compelling as the divide should be, each side by itself must be compelling. Arrow did the same thing in its first two seasons and succeeded. Oliver as the Arrow and Oliver as Oliver were both necessary and compelling areas of his life and defined who the character is. His attempt at balancing gave us moments where one side was more important than the other providing true balance over the whole season. Kara on the other hand felt that she was awkwardly in the middle and wasn't committing to one. 


As the show progressed, one major new storyline came to light which was surprising and very entertaining. I'm of course talking about Martian Manhunter. Martian Manhunter's main storyline was a pleasure to watch and it was great to see him with Supergirl. He played an integral part of the team and his role filled the void which the show had regarding role models. Besides him, there were other story arcs that were interesting to see play out. Kara's Red K episode and the fall out due to her actions created a familiar situation within comic book television but still was a treat to watch. Unfortunately that arc was cut short due to some lazy story planning. The Flash also was very good as it was great to see the insane amounts of chemistry between Kara and Barry. But even that episode struggled with its dialogue.

The season finale was an okay finish to a storyline that was never more than okay. Filled with overly emotional and unrealistic dialogue, the finale had some pacing issues and was predictable. Superman's usage was infuriating to long time superman fans as they clearly avoided using him for the finale and gave some pretty unreasonable dialogue about his predicament. But the one thing that made it unique was the pod arriving. Spoilers for Season 2 follow.  Now knowing that the person in the pod is Mon-El, it will be interesting to see where they go from this. Also superman's appearance in the first two episodes of season 2 will hopefully redeem him. 

Overall the storylines in each episode might have been good but the overall season lacked a unified approach with its stories. 


Characters:
  • Kara Zor-El: Melissa Benoist perfectly portrayed this character, giving her nuance and emotion even when the writing didn't support it. She balanced this tortured side and this lovable cuteness to her which made Kara a complex character I can't wait to see next season.
  • James Olsen: Like I said before, this character was pretty pointless and lacked any real function in this series. But Mehcad Brooks does provide a likability to Jimmy which I hope they use in the future.
  • Winn Schott: Similar to James, Winn lacked a major function in the series. He did however play an important part later as the fact that he was a hacker made him somewhat important to the DEO. Jeremy Jordan also possessed an innate likability which helped Winn's overall character. 
  • Cat Grant: Like I said before, Cat really is a great character. She is funny, smart, and possess a heart filled with advice and teachings for Supergirl and Kara. Calista Flockhart hit it out of the park! 
  • J'onn Jones: Another great character. David Harewood creates a sympathetic hero in the Martian Manhunter and his portrayal is spot on. Can't wait to see more of him in the future.
  • Alex Danvers: A solid portrayal from Chyler Leigh but the character lacks real depth. She was fine in season 1 but lacks longevity. Hopefully they extend her character and delve more into who she truly is in season 2.


Action/VFX:
The action and overall vfx were very good for a superhero show. Of course they were not movie perfect but they had some redeeming qualities to them. Seeing Martian Manhutner's full form on TV was great and the flying in each episode was top-notch. The fighting however lacked variety which became a problem as the series went along. Supergirl's powers makes her fighting scenes more based around the ability she decides to use. Director Lexi Alexander mixed things up with a more focused attempt at fist-to-fist combat but that was in vain. It was the only time where action in the show was based more on actual fighting.  


In conclusion: (Spoilers for Season 2) 

Supergirl Season 1 was not perfect. It had clear flaws and hopefully the show fixes them for the future. Season 2 has many new characters coming in such as Maggie Sawyer, Mon-El, Kal-El, and Lena Luthor who look to be interesting additions to the show. Hopefully the show finds a balance between all of the plots,characters, and action. 


Season 1 Grade: 7.5/10 












 

Comments

Comments

I am into Smallville then flash and now supergirl. I've downloaded the first few seasons of supergirl already, I can say I'm a little hooked. Spoiler alert! With the crossover of flash, superman, and arrow, it gets exciting by the minute. I'm so glad I just finished my due on keyresumeservicesreviews, now I can start watching them all over again! I can't wait for the next season.