The Supergirl Pilot was “mysteriously” leaked early this week. So I decided to ask two friends with different knowledge about comics to weigh in on the pilot from a woman’s point of view. And while I’m now fully aware that I am not the show’s targeted audience, I have a few thing to say about the show as well. I’ll keep my review very short and limited to two bullet points, but I have to warn that all three reviews will have spoilers. So if you care enough, then you may want to wait until you’ve seen the pilot before reading this. But before we turn it over to the ladies, here are my two issues with the pilot.
- It relies too much on Superman
The show seems to be extremely focused on reminding us that her cousin is the Man of Steel. In fact, we’re beat over the head with that fact throughout the forty-five minutes of the episode to the point that it actually sells Supergirl as inferior in her own show. It’s the equivalent of hyping up Froot Loops before trying to sell consumers it’s plastic bagged knock off counterpart. And that is exactly what a show shouldn’t do if the plan is for the character to stand on her own two feet.
Everything about her, even her changed origin story, is based around Superman to the point that she lacks any identity what so ever. I understand that she is related to him, but she should be more of an contrast to his character rather than a lower knock off. If the show is really trying to push the idea of a strong female character, then they are failing by forcing her to live in the shadow of a man. CBS has to correct this before moving forward with the show. Because at the moment, the show only suggest that they couldn’t get the rights to Superman and this is the best they could do.
- The show tries too hard to sell the female aspect of the character
I don’t want to make another comparison to Superman, (The pilot overly did that already) but he has a certain way of carrying himself due to the power he possess. He pretends to be as weak and normal as possible to hide how powerful he is. Superman is not Clark Kent. His real persona is Superman. He knows how to relate to regular humans due to being raised on Earth, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s god like. So if he feels that way about himself after growing up on Earth, then why does Supergirl hold herself to Earth’s flawed standards?
Kara wasn’t born on Earth. She was raised to the age of thirteen (According to the show) on a highly advanced planet. She came to Earth with her culture fresh in her mind and has knowledge of how powerful she is. So the old “I’m just your average girl. There’s nothing special about me” cliched attitude and situations does not fit a woman that can lift airplanes and destroy 18 wheelers. The comic book version of Supergirl had a difficult time adjusting to Earth’s ways. It would have made more sense to go with the idea of her being a strong female character trying to adapt to her new home rather than making a god grow nervous over a guy she likes.
Another moment that left me scratching my head is when Hank Henshaw kidnapped Supergirl, took her back to his base, and simply dismissed her because she’s a woman. The whole scene made no sense what so ever and only served to beat us over the head with their message that she’s inferior to Superman due to her being a woman. Why kidnap her and show her the alien dangers that the world has to face and then dismiss her as useless? Is the military only interested in weaponizing Superman because he’s a male, but doesn’t give a crap about her abilities due to her sex? And why would Henshaw think that the world’s strongest woman is only suitable to serve coffee? And the biggest question of all, how could Supergirl’s feelings be hurt by someone she could literally throw in to the sun if she wanted to?
It seems like CBS tried their best to make a strong female character meet society’s view of what how a strong female character should be. And the result was exactly the thing women are trying to get away from. It’s trying to come off so feminist to the point that it insults feminism. But those are my thoughts on the show. Here is what a couple of cool ladies have to say about the pilot. The first review is from my wife. Keep in mind that she is not the biggest comic book fan. So she fits the audience CBS is trying to target.
There’s a need, and market, for female superheros. It just sucks that no one can write one good enough to be worth a damn. Let’s talk about that Supergirl pilot. Grrr. Superheros are “in” right now, and you’d be a fool not try and capitalize on it. So CBS is diving into the superhero era with Supergirl, which is slated to air it this fall, makes sense.I couldn’t tell if the writers were being serious, or just tongue-in-cheek. When Supergirl criticizes her boss about whether or not to call her Supergirl or Superwoman, Cat Grant gives this absurd spiel about how she, Cat, calls herself a girl, and by being rich, thin, and hot, she has rebranded the word girl into a supposed empowered version of a woman.. Those characteristics that she just described, however, were superficial and shallow and are not the characteristics that make a woman, a woman. Let alone, the most notable characteristics of a superhero who just saved a plane from crashing, and stopped random crimes in her city. So this new, superficial description of Supergirl as this highly evolved woman, so evolved that she turned back into a girl, contrasts remarkably with an earlier scene in the episode.There was a waitress at a diner who, when looking at news footage of Supergirl, remarked that her daughter now had a female superhero to look up to. I’m thinking that the writers and director of this show need to figure out who they are writing for. What kind of show do they want to create. Because the definition that Cat Grant gave seems geared towards tweens and teen girls who lack the self-esteem to call out the hypocrisy of a show that is pushing the female empowerment angle on one hand, and literally reducing women to girls on the other. I just can’t. But since I’m writing this at 34 minutes into a 46 minute episode, I will hold my final judgement until this episode is over.Final Judgement:• Who is the Black guy that dismisses Supergirl every time he see’s her? The military commander of the group monitoring the aliens, In their first scene, told her to go back home and fetch coffee. The next scene they’re in together, she inadvertently helps them capture the aliens, and he’s says sarcastically, “you did help!” Like, who is this guy?!? Doesn’t Supergirl have the strength to send this guy to the moon, literally! So why is he so mouthy?• Supergirl is not her own person. She’s Kal-El’s cousin, she has a crush on Jimmy Olson. Oh, and did you forget, she’s Superman’s cousin. Why can’t she be able to stand on her own, and be defined by herself? Why the constant need to justify Supergirl’s existence by her relationship to Superman? It’s like saying Supergirl is not valid, and by being related to Superman, she is allowed space on our televisions.I’m not impressed with this episode. I feel the creators of this show don’t have a clue what kind of show they want. This episode is part camp, part Devil Wears Prada, and part comic book. It’s a weird combination that leaves this viewer confused and disappointed.
The next review is from a good friend and fellow blogger, Eurydice Howell. She’s a die hard comic book fan, so she’s sharing her opinion with a better understanding of comics and comic related television shows. In other words, she’s the audience that CBS is failing. You can find more of her posts at eurydicehowell.com
The Supergirl pilot leaked this week, and I was way too curious to not watch it. I, of course, had many opinions about it, so a friend of mine asked me to write them down so that he could share it on his blog as a criticism from the female perspective. To be honest, I don’t know if my opinion can be considered the female perspective, simply because I don’t view it as such. However, here’s my opinion of this particular show as someone who has spent years enjoying television, and loves superhero shows.
First of all, the pilot alone gives away too much information. I thought that the trailer was giving away too much, but the pilot told me that I would spend the episodes between the premiere and the midseason finale bored out of my mind. I say this because that pilot had more reveals than the first two seasons of Arrow. Every single one of them could have been saved for later episodes.
Supergirl needs to take some serious notes from its predecessors. The Flash teased Gorilla Grodd for majority of the season, until they revealed him somewhere around episode 20. Arrow held onto Thea’s parentage until a few episodes into the second season, despite the fact that you get an inkling that there may have been something going on between Malcolm and Moira very early in the first. Supergirl has the reveal of Kara’s aunt in the same episode as the breaking and remaking of Kara’s relationship with her sister. That’s too much, too soon. This is still just the pilot.
We don’t get the chance to see Supergirl grow. She is immediately put out into the spotlight, and has her identity perfected in a matter of a montage. She doesn’t wonder about who to tell; she immediately tells that random friend at the office that was just trying to ask her out literally ten minutes before. I refuse to believe that anyone who had anything to do with the The Flash had a hand in it. Not when it took 21 episodes for Iris to figure out that Barry was The Flash, despite the fact that they literally grew up with each other. Sidebar: Iris should have been flipping tables in that episode.
Don’t get me started on the Jimmy Olsen reveal. As much as I love Mehcad Brooks, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he needs to be in the pilot, nor what purpose he will serve for the rest of the show. I would be okay if Jimmy Olsen was the love interest, but Kara looks at him like he’s going to mentor her into being the next Superman.
It needs to be said: this show will never survive if it continues to rely on Superman the way that it does. The current DC Television Universe has survived thus far without a Superman, so why does it now need him to validate one of its shows? Again, I love Mehcad Brooks, but he could have been any other DC character and still served the show far better than he does as Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen.Smallville has been over for four years and can no longer be considered canon in the current DC Television lineup. It would have been smarter to retcon Kara Danvers’ background into that of a Supergirl that landed on an Earth that had never known a Superman. By referencing Superman every five minutes, the showrunners are basically saying that Supergirl cannot carry her own show. Or, more accurately, that they are incapable of developing Supergirl properly without Superman.
I don’t want anyone to come away from this post thinking that I am saying that Supergirl cannot be a great show; it definitely has the potential. I don’t know who leaked the pilot, but they’ve actually done the studio a big favor. This way the studio can review the feedback, and take in all of the constructive criticism. They can rewrite and reshoot the pilot in a way that better serves the show that they are trying to create.
I want Supergirl to work, simply because I know that DC/Greg Berlanti is capable of giving me quality television. I’m not going to pretend that Supergirl isn’t DC’s only show lead by a female protagonist, and that there’s a good chance that we may not get another one should it fail (remember that Wonder Woman show that never happened?). However, I honestly just want Supergirl to be great because Daredevil, The Flash, and the first two seasons of Arrow have all been great. So what reason does Supergirl have to not be?
There you have it. Two different reactions from women whom are still waiting for a show about a strong female comic book lead. It’s just a shame that the television’s strongest woman is only physically strong.