Friday, November 13, 2015


Supergirl feels like a show from another era. Sure, it's got top notch special effects and aside from an awkward green screen here and there, it looks amazing. And nobody is sporting a beehive or a mullet or feathered bangs. But when I watch Supergirl, I feel like I am watching one of those action adventure shows from when I was a kid. The A-Team, Macgyver, or Star Trek. Oh, and of course you can't forget Wonder Woman in that list.

What is it about Supergirl that makes me feel so nostalgic? I think it's the overall tone, and forgive me for using this term, how it feels so earnest. It's certainly not cool to fight for truth, justice, and the American way (which is why Superman is supremely uncool), but I remember watching shows with my family as a kid that held up these ideals. If you were in trouble, and you could find them, you could hire The A-Team. Macgyver used his brain to save others, and you can't get more idealistic than Star Trek.

This doesn't have anything to do with the post. I just wanted to put a picture of Richard Dean Anderson on here.

Supergirl inhabits the same universe, where a young woman with unlimited cosmic power* just wants to use her abilities to help people. I imagine little girls, their brothers, their parents, and all other members of the family watching this show together. Cheering for Kara to catch the bad guy, to realize her cute friend likes her, and to show the doubting secret agent-types that she can save the day on her own.

There's no doubt in my mind we are living in a Golden Age of Television, but everything is just so dark. I'm all for hard-hitting drama, but sometimes you need a break from the bleak. Supergirl is just the thing: an adventure story with a strong (literally strong) female lead who saves the day and loves doing it.

OK, so let's talk specifics. Will YOU love Supergirl? Like I said above, it looks great. Sometimes the dialogue is a bit clunky and I'm not sure we needed a love triangle (though teens will probably eat it up). If you find the basic plot of The Devil Wears Prada untenable, then you might not be a fan of Kara's day job--executive assistant to the demanding media mogul, Cat Graham--but I for one could watch Calista Flockhart chew the scenery and bitch out her underlings all day long. And it certainly makes Kara relateable; who hasn't had a job with a bad manager?

If you also prefer your drama on the more existential side of the spectrum (The Walking Dead, looking at you) you might find Supergirl a bit too...nice. But if you're looking for a good old fashioned adventure, this could be the show for you.

Supergirl is juggling a lot of elements, but as the writers find their legs I think it could really be something special. The show and Kara both need to figure out how to better balance her freelance superhero work (and family issues) with her role as an agent with the black-ops agency tasked with protecting Earth from alien threats. This is a minor quibble though.

At its heart Supergirl is a fun throwback to the action adventure series of old improved with modern effects and more inclusive storytelling. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay Supergirl is that at the end of the first episode I wished this show had been on when I was a little girl. It would have been nice to have someone like Kara to look up to.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM on CBS.

*and more than itty bitty living space based on her palatial apartment in National City.

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