I’m not a major DC fan, nor am I that much of a fan of any particular Superman property, except I watched Lois and Clark when I was little, but with Supergirl I thought I’d give it a shot. Mainly due to a strong feminist story, a lightness of touch not evident in the rest of DC’s oeuvre and, I can’t deny, Melissa Benoist is very lovely.
She’s the breakout star here, bringing a joyful exuberance to every scene, as well as a winning smile and a lively manner, she’s the Supergirl of Supergirl, and the show only comes after her. It’s nice to have a lighter tone, that may resemble a lighthearted rom-com in tone, but has a slicker edge underneath. There’s cheesy moments yeah, which Superman film hasn’t had them (Man of Steel hasn’t), but that doesn’t matter, when it’s this engaging.
When the action gets going, it’s exciting and well choreographed, with a touch of humour. When Kara grimaces, trying to get a plane to turn through a bridge, it makes you smile, Benoist’s performance captures the struggle, whilst being utterly charming, and all the while, your pulse is pounding. For a pilot, it’s also brisk. It gets through the important plot, takes you into Kara’s world and sets up the rest of the season in 45 minutes, without it ever flagging or feeling boring.
It’s written well, which helps, though perhaps the direction and style is a bit too Desperate Housewives type twee*, without the dark side (yet), as well as the music being a tad too grandiose. The cast and characters are great though, Kara and Alex get the most development, and the rest get nice moments and scenes to round of this first episode.
It’s also great to have a show mention it’s feminism, it eludes especially to the name Supergirl, Why not Superwoman?, and utilises it’s canvas to make a point about female superheroes. As it is, Supergirl is a great example of a female superhero that’s confident, determined and not have some sort of a damaged psyche. She loves to be a hero, and that’s what makes her watchable.
It’s not perfect, it’s only the pilot after all. Look how Buffy changed between it’s pilot and its greatest episodes, but so far this is promising, and I look forward to watching the rest. It made me smile, and that’s no bad thing.
Rating: B 7/10
*I love Desperate Housewives BTW