I had a nice surprise today. I was looking at some websites and saw that the Supergirl pilot had been leaked online. I don’t normally watch things that I’m not supposed to but it’s six months until the show is out and so I decided to watch it. After all the point of a pilot is to convince people to watch their show and I wasn’t convinced yet. The real pleasant surprise though was the show itself. It’s not perfect by any means, but it was a lot of fun and I absolutely plan to watch more episodes when it does come on on television.
I’ll start with a couple of the minor problems I had with the show. The first was the obvious avoidance of saying the name Superman. Superman clearly exists in this world as Supergirl is his cousin and they don’t hide that. But they won’t say superman. Perhaps D.C. isn’t letting them, but whatever the point it’s distracting because they use ever term they can to talk about him but Superman.
The other problem is that they hammer the female superhero button a bit hard. I’m very happy to see that someone is doing a female superhero on TV but they really aren’t breaking ground. There have been plenty of superheros shows on TV that have female leads including several Joss Whedon shows, Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman and plenty of cartoons. But it wasn’t that the pointed it out more than once that made me uncomfortable it was the moments that would probably have been more appropriate in a romantic comedy. Because while it is important to show the personal life of a person in a Superhero show, and often this is a bit underused I don’t need to see her picking out clothes though to be fair the parallelism to the later scene where she picked out a superhero costume helped a bit. My basic point is that I don't think you need to make a show a romantic comedy to get women to watch.
Beyond those nitpicks though I was incredibly impressed by the show. Most important was that the main character actually felt like Supergirl. This may seem like a low bar, but D.C. has had some problems with the characterization of characters with super in the name over the last few years. For example in the TV show the Supergirl costume is bright red and blue not dark and it looked great.
All the actors were good. There is some room for improvement as this is a pilot but everyone felt comfortable in their parts and like they had a reason to be part of the show. Even if the villain which is often the weakest part of pilots (since they have a lot less time to explore them than in later episodes) felt fine. He was fairly basic, but they made him reasonably threatening and connected to a bigger threat which is all you hope for.
This is a strong show and one that has a lot of possibilities. And perhaps it says it best in the beginning when it say that you know Superman’s story, but you probably don’t know Supergirl’s and that leaves a lot of room for stories that use Superman’s world without the immediate recognition of the plot from one of the previous TV series about Superman.