Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Supergirl' Soars with Enthusiasm and Action


★★★★★ (5/5)

It's hard to believe it's taken this long to see a superheroine on network television but it's finally happened and it's good. CBS's 'Supergirl' comes from Greg Berlanti who's helped bring the golden age of comic book television with Arrow and The Flash on the CW. However, there isn't a more important or ambitious venture than bringing Superman's cousin to the ratings network leader. Luckily, Melissa Benoist handles it all with class, passion and enthusiasm.

Sure, we've had Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman (both in the 1970s) and Jessica Jones doesn't arrive until November but when it comes to empowering television female action heroes the gold standards have been Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena: Warrior Princess (both ended in the early aughts). Since then there's been a resurgence of superhero shows and movies. 

The biggest movies have been Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy and of course the Marvel Studios films. Except there hasn't been a solo film with a female lead to come from all that success. There won't be one until Wonder Woman (2017) and Captain Marvel (2018) arrive in theaters years from now.

Black Widow has been especially popular from appearing in several of the films, but Marvel refuses to make a stand-alone film for her. They barely want to market toys and merchandise of her much less produce a movie. And while great female characters populate current TV shows they are part of a team or supporting characters. So fairly or unfairly, 'Supergirl' carries the burden of being the first in this new hero age to represent superheroines and its success (or not) will be scrutinized. 

The pilot jams a lot of information in one episode. It feels as though everything was riding on the pilot so they crammed it with backstory, present day slice-of-life, learning how to use her powers and showdown with a villain. That's a lot to take in and process, but Benoist aptly tackles the range of emotions with ease making a protagonist that is optimistic, resilient and empowering. 

As Kara Danvers aka Kara Zor-El, Benoist charms in ways Christopher Reeves did in 1978's Superman: The Movie. She's earnest and energetic with a great sense right and wrong. Twelve-year-old Kara escaped the doomed planet Krypton with her parents’ help at the same time as the infant Kal-El. Protected and raised on Earth by her foster family, the Danvers (Dean Cain and Helen Slater who've played Superman and Supergirl respectively themselves), Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex, and learned to conceal the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin in order to keep her identity a secret. 

Years later at 24, Kara lives in National City assisting media mogul Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart doing her very best Devil Wears Prada Meryl Streep) and befriends top photographer Jimmy James Olsen (the hottest portrayal ever by Mehcad Brooks). 

The show wears its feminist spirit on its sleeve. The discussions of glass ceilings and proving she can stand on her own away from the humongous shadow of her better-known cousin are peppered in the script. It's a welcomed approach that doesn't avoid the topic even when facing an openly sexist alien villain in Vartox (Owain Yeoman). And this is where the show's ambitions take flight, literally. 

Berlanti could have taken on any superhero in the DC Comics catalog, but he chose one of the most powerful. A character in the Superman family takes a lot of visual effects and stunts and much grander in scale than a guy with a bow and arrow. And yet the third act in the pilot establishes 'Supergirl' as the action show you'd expect from a comic book adaptation, with all the impressive flying and fighting usually seen on the big screen. 'Supergirl' may be a lot of things, but it's not taking a backseat to any other superhero show on TV. 

Again, none of it works without a convincing lead and Benoist brings infectious enthusiasm and charm to Kara. She's excited about using her powers to help people and is invigorated when she saves a plane from crashing. This is the type of hero fans claim they want to see, not the brooding kind we get a steady diet of. 'Supergirl' shares more with 'The Flash' on the CW and 1978's 'Superman' than 'Gotham' or even Berlanti's other show 'Arrow.'  'Supergirl' is a winner, it's smart, it's fun and exciting. It's girl power at its finest. 

Supergirl's premiere airs Monday, October 26 at 8:30 PM. The series will then move to its regular Monday 8 PM slot the following week, November 2.

Need more convincing or want more information? Check out these newly released sneak peeks of the show and a primer about the history of Supergirl below.









Comments

Popular posts from this blog

REVIEW: 'Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman' #6 by Andy Mangels and Judit Tondora

The series has been great fun but for fans of the original Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter and the Bionic Woman starring Lyndsey Wagner it's been a time machine to what could have been when these two iconic heroines meet.


WONDER WOMAN '77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN #6  Writer: Andy Mangels Artist: Judit Tondora Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Release Date: September 20, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
 Andy Mangels and Judit Tondora have put together a sprawling crossover event that faithfully captures the tone and aesthetic of the 1970's shows. Often complicated and full of exposition, the camaraderie between Diana and Jamie is genuine and to see them in action makes the cover price worth every penny. Bringing together not only the titular heroes but incorporating their respective supporting characters like Wonder Girl and combining villains was no easy feat but Mangels and Tondora pull it off with enthusiasm and precision.
The plot to use Fembots to…

LONG BEACH COMIC CON Invades the Southland with William Shatner, Dave Gibbons, Cosplayers, and More

It's that time of year again when pop culture fans from all over Southern California and beyond descend on Long Beach to meet and greet some of their favorite stars from comic books, television, and movies. This year the 2017 Long Beach Comic Con offers some new exciting guests, panels, concerts, film festivals, cosplay contests, and an expansive Space Expo.


Visit downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Sept. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 3 for the annual Comic Con at the Long Beach Convention Center. This year's lineup includes legendary actor and cultural icon Star Trek's William Shatner speaking in the Main Stage room on Saturday as well as esteemed veteran comic writer and artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen).
A con that still values comics will feature comic book vendors, artists, writers, and publishers. Approximately 100 other guests including animators, voice actors, and professional cosplayers will be participating in more than 100 entertaining and informative panels covering animation,…

REVIEW: 'Genius: Cartel' #3 (of 5) by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman, and Rosi Kampe

Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin tighten the vice around their hero Destiny when she deviates from the mission to a plan of her own. Now outgunned and trapped while trying to rescue dozens of frightened women from the cartel's sex-trade, Destiny must use her superior intellect to find a way out alive in Genius: Cartel #3.


GENIUS: CARTEL #3 (OF 5) Story: Adam Freeman, Marc Bernardin Art / Cover: Rosi Kampe Colors: Brad Simpson Letters: Troy Peteri Published: October 18, 2017 Diamond ID: AUG170655
Ignoring orders to assassinate the leader of a drug cartel, Destiny pursues her true mission—free two dozen young girls from the cartel’s sex-trade operation. With an army of mercenaries on her tail and the US border over 1,500 miles away, how will she fight her way out while protecting such fragile cargo?
Digital : $3.99 Print: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
When Destiny decides to alter the mission leaving her troops to complete the assassination of the cartel leader, she opts to lead the women a…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

REVIEW: 'Crosswind' #4 by Gail Simone and Cat Staggs

'Crosswind' #4 delves deeper into the situations that Cason and Juniper have found themselves in. The fates of both are increasingly in danger just as Cason as Juniper begins to stabilize the domestic life. Juniper as Cason has a target on his back and a deception that could cost a life before the two return to their rightful bodies.



CROSSWIND #4 Writer: Gail Simone Artist: Cat Staggs Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: September 27, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
The last issue was a satisfying chapter but things get inevitably messier. Cruz is out to get Cason for sleeping with his fiance Mika and making sure he keeps quiet about killing the idiotic son, Siggy, of the mob boss. He's got to play Mr. Randolph against Cason now and it's sure to set some deadly actions in motion. Meanwhile, back in suburbia, Cason just set Juniper's husband straight about his philandering. He needs help getting away as a woman so he enlists the help of a transgender woma…