Now that Season 1 of Supergirl has concluded, I wanted to talk about my most anticipated show of the year.
Just a heads up, this post may contain a lot of spoilers. If you are following the show and haven’t watched the season finale (episode 20), then please do so first, unless you don’t mind spoilers.
When Supergirl was first announced in 2015, I was ecstatic. Supergirl has always been my favourite superhero. I’ve done a blog post where I did touch on this but never really elaborated. I believe that the show does accurately portray her (in case anyone who hasn’t heard of her wants to watch), and so, wanted to talk about why she’s my favourite hero.
For me, I find her story a lot more tragic than Superman’s. He came to Earth as a child, having no memory of Krypton, whereas she came to Earth as a teenager (albeit the show portrays a slightly older Supergirl, around 24 years old). She lost everything – her family, friends, her home planet. Yet, she chooses to put her life on the line for people that clearly do not appreciate her (this becomes increasingly apparent in the episode called “Falling”, where people alienated her, instead of supporting her).
Supergirl is a very unique hero. She is one that does not let her past hold her down and always puts her best foot forward, no matter the challenge. She is caring, and always sees the good in people. What’s more is that she is kind. People normally describe heroes as “brave”, “formidable”, “tough”, and “strong”. But her, she’s described as “kind”, “selfless”, “innocent”, and “filled with hope”, all traits I find more important than brute strength (don’t get me wrong, Supergirl is stronger than Superman as well, but that was never a trait that set her apart). Kindness is a trait that people seem to be losing as the days go by. People seem to hail random acts of kindness as the most heroic acts nowadays. They appear to be extraordinary, rather than the norm.
On another blog, Steve Orlando (writer for the Supergirl comics) said the following about Supergirl:
[…] plenty of heroes show up, stop the bad guy, and send them to prison. But Supergirl shows up two weeks later to see how they’re doing, and how she can help. She’s been there, she’s been in tough situations, she’s made mistakes. And she wants to understand you, and help you through yours.
But what made me relate to her on a personal level was how misunderstood she was by people around her. Most importantly, how she handles being misunderstood. Being an introvert, I’m all too familiar when I get looks of confusion when people find out I prefer to spend most of my time alone. People misunderstand introverts in our culture. They often deem introverts as “weird”, “awkward” or “loners”.
What I admire most about her, though, is her humility. The girl of steel. The maiden of might. Yet, she chooses to be someone’s assistant, fetching her coffee, answering her calls. She walks as a god among people, yet, never lets it show. Ever since coming to Earth, she’s been trying to fit in due to the huge differences in culture, norms and the way of life. I found her to be very relatable.
She is brave, selfless and does not let defeat phase her. This is even when staring directly into the face of death (as will become very clear in the season finale). She is someone that we can all strive to be like. We can all learn something from her. She is a good role model for anyone, male or female. And that is why I love her so much. She is a hero in the truest sense of the word.
I can remember myself anxiously scouring the web for new announcements and sneak-peaks. At that time, only they had only announced the concept of the show. The creators had not casted the actress or designed the suit. I started following a site, supergirl.tv, that was dedicated to the show and keeping up with the latest news, occasionally posting sneak peaks and behind the scenes pictures. I figured it would be a great way of keeping in touch with what was going on with the show.
Fast forward to March 2015. The actress was casted and the suit was designed. They also released pictures of her in the suit. And I have to say… I was not happy. The pictures of the suit basically matched what I had predicted – a modern take on the classic Supergirl suit. But the actress… she looked less than stellar. The actress they had picked was not a natural blonde, but a brunette.
But I wasn’t going to drop a show just on the casting. I decided to stick with it and watch the pilot. The pilot had changed my opinions about the show. Firstly, I was somewhat underwhelmed with the show. It had some strong feminist undertones within the story. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-women, but I do not approve of people trying to push their political agendas down people’s throats every chance they get.
Secondly, I made a full 180 on my opinions of the actress, Melissa Benoist. She looked absolutely perfect in the suit. She had a fantastic (and most importantly, a very genuine) smile. Also, she was able to capture the character’s personality perfectly and was just outright adorable. I came to one conclusion: That photographer that took the first photo of her in that suit needs to be fired. Of all the pictures they could have taken, they took one at an angle that made her look the worst under terrible lighting conditions.
The suit was also not how I thought it would be. I figured they made the blue part of the suit of a rubbery-type of material. Something similar to Batman’s suit in Dark Knight movie. However, it turns out that it was made of some other material, called “Eurojersey”. I did a lot of research into the suit because it bugged me the first time I saw it (and still does to this day). I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this material somewhere but I can’t place it. It has a very unique shine that looks great in some of the scenes.
Fun fact: the suit is actually two pieces. The regular blue top with the red skirt is one piece. The cape is not attached to the main suit but to an underliner to prevent the cape from tugging on the top during fight scenes.
The show was pretty much “okay” for me for the following episodes. Not too great, but not bad either. It was average. And I’ll be totally honest. If this were any other show, I would have stopped watching it after a couple of episodes. Only reason I never did is because it was Supergirl. I intended on seeing this show through.
And then episode 6 (Red-Faced) hit. I’m not sure what happened with the writers, but everything seems to have clicked. The show seemed to have hit its stride and figured out where it wanted to be. The ending of the episode with her final fight against the Red Tornado was perfect. Her anger, her pain. Her rage. Supergirl has always had a temper in the comic books, and that scene was able to capture that aspect of her personality perfectly.
The show basically kept on getting better, with episodes like her being attacked by the Black Mercy in “For the Girl Who Has Everything” (which I wrote an entire blog post on), her exposure to Red Kryptonite in Falling and the much-awaited Supergirl/Flash Crossover episode “World’s Finest”.
But what I liked so much with the show was the bond between her and her sister. It’s something I found quite interesting, and the show plays off of this bond throughout the season, leading to some very powerful moments. I did a little bit of searching on the internet and it turns out that Mellissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh (the actress that plays her sister, Alex Danvers) became really close friends as the show progressed. As for the crossover, the chemistry between Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin was just great. Even the pre-release poster looked great. I really do want to see a few more crossovers, although I’m not quite sure how they plan on getting it to work, considering Supergirl was in a different universe than the Flash.
There was also something else I noticed about the show… I actually empathized with Supergirl something I don’t normally do with characters in any of the TV shows. Sure, I have characters I like, but I never experienced actual empathy for them (as as the internet likes to call it, “the feels“). Supergirl was different. It might be because I admire the character. It might be because she is my favourite superhero. Also, it might be because I relate to her on a personal level. I’m not quite sure what it is, but the experience is definitely worth it.
Some of the scenes exhibited an “awww…” reaction for me – something that anyone that knows me well will tell you is not normal for me. And those scenes were not few and far between. Right off the top of my head, I can think of a few great scenes. The scene where Kara finds out her mother lied to her in “Hostile Takeover” and the final scene with Bizarro in “Bizarro” were both really good.
Even better was the scene were Alex finally tells Kara that it was her who killed Astra in “Solitude”, or the scene at the ending of “Falling” where she breaks into tears after realizing what she had done. However, the best of them all, the scene where Alex begs Kara to reject the dream in “For the Girl Who Has Everything”, a scene which still gives me the chills as I think about it now (another fun fact: it turns out her tears were actually very real, according to an interview Chyler gave some time ago!).
As the show progressed, my frequent visits to supergirl.tv gave me a little more exposure on the actresses and the production of the show. I watched a few of Melissa Benoist’s interviews and it dawned on me that she is very much like the character that she plays. She seems genuinely nice in real life, always laughing and has just an all-round great attitude. She truly seems like a good person.
Casting someone like that in a role of Supergirl is basically the best thing the producers could have done. Her personality compounds really well with the character. The creators could not have given the role of Supergirl to a more fitting person. It is something that couldn’t happen to a better person. She truly deserves it. I also think that it might be because of her personality that the show starting getting more popular as it went on. People actually adore her. She’s always laughing, and is just goofy at times, as the below gif may indicate.
The role she plays in the show is not particularly easy either. On a regular basis, she plays Kara Danvers, a shy, quiet, and somewhat “dorky” girl. She also plays Supergirl, someone who seems like a polar opposite. Strong, brave and very confident. But she has actually had to act with different personas too throughout the show. In “For the Girl Who Has Everything” she had to act as the Martian Manhunter impersonating her, which was one of the funnier scenes in that episode. In “Falling”, she was under the influence of Red Kryptonite where she was no longer reserved before she turned purely evil towards the end of the episode. The vast variety of roles she has had to cover, and how well she managed to act is a testament to her talent.
Another thing I liked about the show was its many tributes to the previous supergirl actresses. Helen Slater, who plays as her foster mother in the show, was the very first supergirl to appear in film. The movie came out in 1984, and while it did not do so well, it still has a fan following. Next came Laura Vandervoort, who plays Indigo. She portrayed their interpretation of Supergirl in Smallville during Season 7 (with an appearance in Season 8 and two appearances in Season 10). Both these actresses appear in the show, which I found to be a really nice touch for die-hard fans of the character, as it is only them that would notice something like this.
The finale, again, had some very great moments, with great writing. The speech that Supergirl makes, while may seem a little corny at the beginning, really reflect back on who Supergirl really is. It circles back and reinforces what they show has been trying to capture in her character – one of hope. All throughout the episode, right to the very end, there’s a lot of great character interaction, lots of emotions – everything that this show does better than other shows.
The ending, I was not too happy with, not because it was bad, but because it ended on a cliffhanger. I’m not much of a fan for cliffhangers. I would very much prefer a proper ending, in the very case the network does not renew the show for a second season, which is still unknown.
It’s a shame that people never really gave the show a chance. The show did start out badly and it did get better. But, another thing to point out is that this show isn’t for everyone. If want to watch heroes kicking butt, or don’t like the thought of women in positions of power, this show isn’t for you. But if you like the character, or the sisterly bond she has with Alex, this show has plenty offer.
All in all, I’ve really happy with how the show went. It took a little time to find its footing, find what it does well and what it did badly, and corrected itself as it went on. People wanted to see more of the relationship between Alex and Kara, and that’s what they got. It led up to some of the most powerful moments in the show. I really do hope the show gets renewed for the second season.