Supergirl- Have you seen it?

Better question- Are you still watching?supergirl-melissa-benoist-supergirl-tv-show

Personally, I’m on the fence. As with anything having to do with the DC world, I always watch with eyes squinted with trepidation because more often than not, the execution falls short. Really short. Sometimes off the planet short. (Wonder Woman anyone?)And Super girl is too important of a series to jack up. We, as in the world, need a good superhero series with a female protagonist. Hell, we just need a good series with a female protagonist- period.

I have so many thoughts about Super girl, I could go on forever, so I’ll try to condense them into a few bullet point sections, and of course, everything I’m about to say is my opinion. J But first, a few quick details. Super girl airs Monday nights at 8pm E/P on CBS, and is brought to you by the people who have worked on Arrow, The Flash, The Tomorrow People, and Chuck, to name a few. So a good start, right? Awesome, then let’s get to it.

  • The cast is fabulous. Melissa Benoist is totally likeable as Kara Danvers/Super girl. She’s wholesome, quirky enough not to be annoying (yet) and reminds me of every average, young, twenties-something woman I’ve meet. She’s surrounded by a great supporting cast with Jeremy Jordan, and Chyler Leigh, and I’m digging Mehcad Brooks as a more relaxed and groovy, mature version of James Olson. That’s right, James, not Jimmie. I even like Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant, but more on that later. And I can’t even describe how hard I fell over with delighted laughter when I saw Helen Slater and Dean Cain as Kara’s adoptive parents. So epically awesome.
  • Villains. So far all of the villains have been pretty two-dimensional and easily forgettable with their only function being to test Supergirl’s powers. Where is the villain that is going to test her mental fortitude? Where is the villain that will challenge her not only physically but make her question her morals as well? There was a great dynamic with Kara’s aunt Astra percolating in episode two that went nowhere. Seriously. Nowhere. Why did it go nowhere!?! It also appears as if Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli) is being groomed as the Lex Luther of National City. The writers have a long way to go if that is so. Right now I find the character creepy and petulant. I want a villain like Klaus Michaelson on The Originals. Holy crap is that man amazing. You hate him but feel for him all at the same time. But maybe Kara isn’t ready for that level of evilness. Once she is, this show will launch into the stratosphere.
  • Cat Grant. Oh… Cat Grant. I didn’t want to like her. Personally, I feel a woman can be in a position of power without being bitchy. I still feel that way. But with each episode, I understand where Cat is coming from. Cat is the voice of profession women of my generation. Each week she highlights the double standards women experience and the obstacles we still face in this “modern world.” Now, we may differ on our approaches in how we handle those issues, but I understand how she was shaped into the person she is today. Oh my gosh, I related all too well to the scene with Cat and her mother, and it reminded me of how I feel as a commercial fiction writer conversing with literary writers. Do I want Cat to change? Maybe. A little. She doesn’t need to get soft, but a little more squishy would be a nice character development.

Now to the crux of my hesitancy to be completely on team Super girl.

  • As a twenty-something young lady, Kara is very much indicative of a new adult heroine. Angsty, unsure of herself, trying to establish her place in the world and in her own skin. Great! Way to nail the genre. However, there is only so much of the should I-shouldn’t I-hand wringing I can watch without yelling at the screen for her to grow up already and take action. The way I think and feel now is the way I thought and felt at age ten. I was never a new adult and therefore I cannot relate to someone who hems and haws in every episode. At some point in time Kara is going to have to make a decision and stand by it. The incessant worry about whether or not she is good enough and the constant apologies she makes for being who she is, is getting old. I want my superheroes confident. Not cocky- confident. I hope with what happened in this last episode, Red Faced, that corner is being turned and we’re going to see some real character growth.

In my opinion, hero-centric stories tend to concentrate on the hero avenging or defending (insert here). A loved one, an idea, a way of life, etc. Any relationship they develop is secondary or tertiary to the central storyline. With heroine-centric stories, the relationships the heroine has is integral to the storyline, and more often than not overshadow the story arc. The heroine must also address issues the hero doesn’t even think about. Can she have a career and a satisfying home life? Can she be both strong and feminine? Does she save the world or save her marriage? Can she wear a nice dress and not have to worry about her reputation or fear about being taken seriously? Unfortunately, those are the things women have to contemplate. Is it fair? Hell no. But to not address them is the equivalent to writing a story about a woman where the heroine is nothing more than a man in a skirt, so to speak. Those issues must be mentioned at some point in time, but what I don’t want to see is that being the entirety of the series. Give Kara something more to focus on than James and Lucy. Please, lord, not Lucy.

Super girl has the ability to be for this generation what Buffy was for mine. All the writers have to do is give the girl some conviction and watch her really fly.

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Genesis by Anna Alexander