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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

open thread: Supergirl

supergirl

Tonio Kruger requested an open thread to discuss the CBS series Supergirl, so here ya go. (I haven’t seen it, so I have nothing to say about it.)

Assume that the comments below are full of spoilers.

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  • RogerBW

    I’ve only seen the pilot so far, and… I’m dubious.

    If it didn’t have the sexist clichés it might as well be about an original character (which I’d have preferred anyway), so it’s trying to get round that by hanging a lampshade on them (the whole “I am a girl” scene), but the writing isn’t good enough to make that work and the clichés are still there.

    Yeah, the love triangle is two guys rather than two girls. Gosh wow.

    The effects are great, and the acting isn’t bad at all, but my goodness they need better writers.

    One of the things that worked best for me was the way they didn’t use the word “Superman” (instead just saying “him”). Rights issues? Don’t know, but I liked it.

  • The trailers made it look pretty bad, so I didn’t bother watching the first episode. Hasn’t there only been one so far?
    I’ll wait and see on it, like I do with most shows.

  • RogerBW

    You’re right, I thought part 2 had been broadcast but I misremembered.
    I don’t expect to stick with it long-term because I don’t like a lot of the things that go along with “a superhero story” but it’s mildly interesting so far.

  • althea

    I loved it.

  • Bluejay

    It’s got several problems, most of them pointed out in this review that Danielm80 linked to on another thread. But Melissa Benoist is fantastic in the role, and is the best reason to watch the show and root for it to get better. The criticism that the show is similar to the Black Widow SNL skit is really not on-point; the reason that skit is funny is because it’s an absurd fit for Black Widow. But it works for Supergirl, and for Benoist’s performance.

    I found the pacing of the pilot episode really… interesting. It packs in enough story for several episodes, which means it feels a little breathless and rushed. The show is clearly aware that its audience is already familiar with (and mostly tired of) superhero origin stories, and so it hits those beats almost perfunctorily. On the other hand, it might benefit from lingering a little longer on some of those scenarios so that we get to know the characters a little better.

    It’s odd that the story takes place in a world where Superman is the only other hero. After the heavily-populated MCU, and, more to the point, the many heroes that already exist in DC’s Arrow/Flash TV universe, why are the Supers operating alone?

    The messaging can sometimes be a little too on-the-nose. The villain snarls, “On my planet, females bow before males!” It’s almost (almost) as bad a line as Anakin Skywalker snarling, “From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!”

    But Benoist is great, the tone is refreshingly joyful and light, Benoist is great, it passes Bechdel with flying colors, and Benoist is great. Hope the show works its problems out in the next few episodes.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I liked the pilot episode but I also liked MST300King said episode. The writing does need work and Supergirl the character is still a long way from being as perfectly realized as Buffy Summers was in the first episode of her series — or even as perfectly realized as Clair Bennett was in the first episode of Heroes
    .
    I did enjoy it though for many of the reasons that Bluejay mentions and I can’t help but suspect that any ratings failure experienced by this show will simply be used as an excuse to not produce any more superhero shows with a lead female character. That said, I can understand why Daniel80 and others might not wish to watch further episodes.

  • Danielm80

    I like this comment by Jamie Poniewozik:

    So, because of the attacks in Paris, CBS pulled an episode of “Supergirl” and instead broadcast the show’s Thanksgiving episode a week early. It was a decent concession in response to a terrible situation. That’s one way of looking at it.

    But here’s another: The week after a barbaric attack, for which repressive, misogynist fundamentalists claimed responsibility, CBS ran a story about a superpowered woman who holds down a career, makes her own decisions and fights on behalf of justice.

    That may not be a perfect response. But it’s a damn good one.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/18/arts/television/after-bloodshed-tv-can-be-cathartic-or-insensitive.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

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