WARNING! MINOR SPOILERS!
The brand new Supergirl series is the latest comic book series to hit TV following the widespread onslaught of shows that we had last year. Along with iZombie and Agent Carter, it opts to cast a female protagonist in the role, the cousin of the famous Kal-El, aka Superman. Kara is one of my favourite characters in comics and it was great to see her come to life in the show which should appeal a lot to fans of The Flash, adopting a similar, light-hearted and fairly cheesy tone that works. Don’t expect to see the grimdarkness of Man of Steel present in Supergirl; it’s fun, cheerful, uplifting and even though it may not be anything we’ve seen before, it’s a welcome addition to CBS’ line-up. With one episode, it joins Person of Interest as the best show on the network responsible for countless NCIS spinoffs.
Kara is the other survivor of Krypton’s destruction, having been sent to Earth to protect Kal-El as he grows older. However, something went wrong with her ship which caused her to arrive on Earth as a teenager, after Superman already became established as a hero, saving the world. There are tantalising hints to DC’s premiere superhero throughout this episode, but the show manages to stand on its own (unlike the early episodes of Agents of SHIELD) by not dropping them every few seconds. Melissa Benoist takes the role of Kara, who comes into play when she’s 24 years old, working at CatCo as an assistant to Cat Grant played by Calista Flockhart. With Superman out there saving the world she doesn’t really have a mission anymore, and she’s perfectly content going about a normal, everyday life until her foster sister (Chyler Leigh), falls into danger, and Kara is forced to take a stand as Supergirl.
Melissa Benoist excels in the role as Kara, nailing the character well and creating an instantly likeable, charming protagonist. Her interactions with Mehcad Brooks’ James Olsen is fun and even if there is not a great range of depth explored to her character in the pilot it does establish her on a strong note, especially with a fairly solid supporting cast, who are developing well.
The special effects when it comes to Supergirl are a tricky issue. How can someone replicate the effects of Man of Steel on only a small screen budget? Would CBS fall into the trap of making it out of place and odd, especially when they haven’t tackled a superhero show before? That was the main worry that I had when going into the pilot, but it’s safe to say that Supergirl manages to live up to those expectations, creating a pretty breathtaking sequence in the pilot that I won’t spoil here, but needless to say, it matches anything seen on The Flash and Arrow. The only question is whether the effects can remain as good throughout the entire series.
The pilot isn’t perfect though. The show may be fun , but I’m hoping that it can avoid falling into the same trap as Arrow and The Flash has when they’re not focusing on big, end of season villains. They’re often either cheesy or forgettable, or (most of the time, in the case of the latter) both and that was very much so the case with the pilot. Still, as it’s only just the pilot, there’s plenty of time to move around. Maybe tackling the pacing problems is something that the show needs to address as well in the future, because at the moment it’s still almost too quick. Of course, we haven’t really seen enough of this show yet to really know what it’s going to be like on a weekly basis. I’m hoping it’s going to avoid the villain of the week format in search of something more interesting, but given that it’s on CBS, I would be very surprised if it didn’t follow that structure
What did you think of the Supergirl pilot? Did you enjoy it or did it not quite live up to your expectations? Let me know in the comment section below and catch the next episode of Supergirl next Monday on CBS.
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