TV Review: Supergirl - Season 2, Episode 1 - "The Adventures of Supergirl"
EPISODE 1:THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL
SYNOPSIS: When a new threat emerges in National City, Kara/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) teams up with her cousin, Clark Kent/Superman (guest star Tyler Hoechlin), to stop it. Kara is thrilled to have family in town but it leaves Alex (Chyler Leigh) feeling a bit left out. Meanwhile, Hank (David Harewood) and Supergirl are stunned by the pod that came crashing to Earth.
REVIEW: When it was announced a few months ago that CBS's SUPERGIRL would be moving to The CW, I was immediately put on edge. As a fan of the character since childhood, and not always a fan of The CW's brand of televised super heroics, I was fearful that the switch would mean that Kara and the rest of her friends would undergo drastic changes upon making the move. It's not that I don't enjoy THE FLASH - though I will admit that I thought the show's second season paled when in comparison to the first. And ARROW ... well, let's move on. I'm overjoyed to report that many of my concerns about the network swap have flown up, up, and away after seeing tonight's debut episode.
Of course, moving to a new station means that some things are bound to change. Will National City continue to look the same? Will the effects continue to appear polished and free of the obvious clunk witnessed in shows like DC's LEGENDS OF TOMORROW? Will the score continue to be dynamic and serve as a proper audio backdrop to Kara's heroics? And perhaps most of all, will SUPERGIRL continue to do what it does best - be a feel-good corner of DC's television lineup where fans can go to get away from the excruciating drama of Olicitiy on ARROW or the wash-rinse-repeat villainy of THE FLASH? I'm here to tell you, yes, yes it can.
Now, if history has proven anything, it's that a change of scenery can sometimes be refreshing. I'm referring of course to the upgrade of the DEO's homebase. It appears that, this season, we've traded the secret military organization's cavernous quarters for that of a more Sharper Image vibe - meaning that instead of stalagtites and bats we've got skylights and expresso machines. It's a nice upgrade to be sure, and certainly easier on the eyes. Fans of SUPERGIRL's first season will have also noted that the effects for this first episode appear on-par (if not slightly better) with what we've seen in the past. It's not like the whoosh, flames, and frost effects of Kara's power set have ever come off as anything too extreme, but the budget for effects such as these are always a concern. The question isn't whether or not the studio can create them, it's a matter of quality and consistancy. If you cheap out part of the way through the season, fans will notice, and they will make their discontent known through a variety of social media outlets and message boards. Honestly, SUPERGIRL has had enough stacked against it that cheap effects are not something it will be able to tolerate.
For me, my biggest concern regarding Kara's second season was the inclusion of her cousin, Superman. It's not that I don't like Superman. Hell, I'll give you some killer comic book recommendations, right now. If you've never read Grant Morisson's All-Star Superman, you should get on that. And while you're at it, check out Mark Millar's Red Son, Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb's Superman: For All Seasons, and even the current DC Rebirth Superman comic by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason will do you no wrong. Anyway, my hesitance about Superman entering the fray was that I didn't want his getting involved to over-shadow Kara's exploits in any way. I'll elaborate. To me, this felt like the network had lost its confidence in Supergirl being able to carry her own show and that the star power of Superman would prompt fans to tune in with the promise of Mr. Spit-curl and a Smile being invovled. Perhaps I'm not entirely off-base here but, as evidenced by the events of this episode, Kara will not be playing second-fiddle to her Kryptonian cousin.
For me, Teen Wolf's Tyler Hoechilin portays a Superman that I can smile about. While Hoechilin's Clark Kent is perhaps a bit more rogueish than some would expect, he stills drops the occasional stack of file folders to keep the farce alive and well. Though perhaps when his character dons the blue pajamas is when he shines the most. This is not your MAN OF STEEL Superman. No, Hoechilin's Superman has a bit more of that "good old boy" feel to him - the sort that isn't afraid of rescuing a cat from a tree rather than allowing an entire city building to fall on top of it. He's a Superman that cracks jokes and inspires elation. More importantly for the sake of this program though, he fights besides Kara, not in front of her.
Of course with a new season of SUPERGIRL we also have the series main cast returning to the show - though how long for some is yet to be seen. Melissa Benoist doesn't miss a beat as she returns to her Kara/Supergirl character with ease. She continues to be as charming as ever, and perhaps even a bit more mature since last we saw her. This is skipping ahead a little bit, but I was overcome with joy when she decided to shoot straight with Jimmy (Mechad Brooks) about the status of their relationship. Honestly, I applaud the writers for ditching this angle to the Jimmy and Supergil dynamic. As someone who has endured some agonizing dating scenarios via any of The CW's super hero programs, I'm pleased to know that SuperOlson won't become a thing.
In relation to the plot, it should be very interesting to see what adding the character of Mon El (he's that guy that Supergirl and Martian Manhunter found in the Kryptonian pod that crash landed in National City at the climax of Season 1) will do for the show going forward. And speaking of new characters, I've got to give it up to the inclusion of Lex Luthor's adopted sister, Lena - played by the beautiful Katie McGrath. Not only do we no longer have to stare into the narcissitic void that was Maxwell Lord, Lena's character appears to carry a mystery inside her - as opposed to simply coming off as the show's new high-powered ice queen. I'll be curious to discover if Lena's intentions to pull the Luthor family name from the wreckage are genuine, or if she's harboring the sort of dark secrets that landed her brother in maximum security prison.
Thinking back on the events of this episode, I feel as if the future of SUPERGIRL is a bright one. This episode had a little bit of everything that made the first season so undeniably charming - save for that bogus finale where rather than an epic beatdown we got a sappy speech and a pizza party as the season's farewell note. I found myself audibly cracking up at several of the jokes that were peppered throughout this episode as well. The scene in which Alex (Chyler Leigh) remarked to Kara that her cousin smells particulalry good nearly made me spit out my mouthful of Red Bull. And hey, I'm a sucker for a good Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) pep talk, alright? In the moment when she's having a heart-to-heart with Kara, saying, "We all get used to our own personas,and are used to our own comfort zones. Trust me, in order to live we must keep daring, keep diving.", I admit that I experienced a bit of the warm and fuzzies. To which she then reverted right back to being the razor-edged, no nonsense woman that we I know and can't help but love.
All around I think The CW's SUPERGIRL is off to a fantastic start. The most important thing about the show's return for me was that it maintained the heart and optimism that helped seperate itself from the remaining DC-related programs. So far it looks to be doing that quite well and I can't wait to see how the show continues to soar to new heights throughout this 22-episode-long season. With our first villain revealed in the episode's final moments, it sure will be interesting to see if the combined power of both our caped Kryptonians will be enough to stop the chaos that always follows in the wake of Metallo, DC's Kryptonite-powered cyborg.
STINGER: Episode 2: The Last Children of Krypton - Supergirl ends up seriously injured during an attack on National City by a kryptonite-powered villain; and Superman puts the blame for his cousin getting hurt on Hank, because the kryptonite was stolen from the DEO. Meanwhile, Kara's first day at her new job doesn't go as planned after she meets her new boss, Snapper Carr.
|Extra Tidbit:||I long for the day when Streaky the Supercat makes an appearance on this show. It probably will never happen, but a guy can dream, can't he?|