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By: Hess Sahlollbey
One of the most highly controversial TV shows this fall, Supergirl finally aired and blew me away. From the moment the six minute preview appeared online, fans of the character were quick to write the show off as being too clichéd.
Having now seen the first three episodes, I’m better equipped to judge the show than I was after seeing the preview.
In Supergirl, Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) is a fish out of water. Having grown up on Krypton, Kara has come to earth as a teenager to escape Krypton’s destruction. While she might not have been born on earth, she’s more than ready to prove that she can get by just fine without help from her famous cousin, the Man of Steel. That being said, the show did feel a little too much like a chick flick since it had all the usual tropes: A best friend who is not so secretly in love with her, a shitty job where she fetches lattes for a Devil Wears Prada type boss, and a handsome new co-worker who can make Kara instantly forget how to speak. The suspension of disbelief can get to be a bit much when Kara has a luxurious apartment despite being a columnist with apparently no job security. Kara also disguises herself in plain sight by wearing her hair in a ponytail and glasses just like Clark Kent does. Later, she rids herself of both and receives compliments from her crush.
In Supergirl, Kara has her heart set out for Jimmy Olsen. And while their flirting may be sweet, it again feels a little too formulaic. In defense of the show, this was a pilot and its purpose is to set the stage. I’m already looking forward to the development of their romance — it feels more natural than the usual unresolved sexual tension of a will-they-or-won’t-they that we see on most shows.
Another point that interested me was the discourse between Kara and her boss, media publisher Cat Grant, over whether or not Kara’s superhero alter ego should be known as “Supergirl” or as “Superwoman.” As Superman’s cousin, Kara finds it insulting, telling Cat, “I’m a woman.” Cat, however, laughs in her face and says, “No, honey. You’re a girl. I’m a woman” as Cat attempts to take back “girl” as empowering.
Later there are subtle Superman cameos that don’t take the spotlight away from Kara. Anything from a blurry vision of him jumping in at the last minute to lend a helping hand to Kara, to the text message exchanges they have from time to time. While it would be nice to see the Last Son of Krypton, I can’t say that I miss him. Melissa Benoist is very likable as Kara all on her own.
If you’ve been craving more female centric superhero shows then rejoice in knowing that Supergirl is definitely worth a watch. What I like most about it is that the show has a lot of heart. Unlike 2013’s Man Of Steel, which had audiences divided on the cynical portrayal of Superman, Supergirl is a very family-friendly adaptation of the comics.