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[TV Review] ‘Supergirl’ Episode 1.01 – “Pilot”

The new era of DC Comics TV shows finally gets its first female-led series, CBS’ “Supergirl“.  The fact that it comes courtesy of Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, who have already had great success over at The CW with the likes of “Arrow” and “The Flash” (as well as the upcoming “Legends of Tomorrow“), just makes it all the sweeter.  Shout out to producers Sarah Schechter and Ali Adler as well!  While it’s still up in the air as to whether or not this show will eventually tie into Berlanti & Co.’s DC TV Universe (I’m doubting it will, despite the CBS connections to CW), regardless, their fingerprints are all over this.

Is that a good thing?  Yes and no.  Having a female lead far off from the likes of Star City and Central City helps differentiate things, although the show references Superman and Metropolis in this one episode more than “Arrow” and “The Flash” probably mentioned it other total last year.  Here’s hoping they curb the Superman nods in the future.  I want to revel in the deeds of Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist), not constantly be reminded of her more famous cousin, Kal-El.

It also bothers me a bit that they felt the need to slap their patented team-based formula on this series.  While Oliver Queen could certainly use back-up and intel regularly and Barry Allen benefits from having a team with a lot of science-based knowledge behind him, Kara doesn’t really require any of that.  Some occasional help is nice and expected, but I fear that they will fall into a narrative trap and repeat themselves by sticking so strictly to that team-based model already.

I like Kara’s co-workers at CatCo, her dayjob, and it helps that two of his friends there (Mehcad Brooks’ Jimmy Olsen & Jeremy Jordan’s Winn Schott Jr.) know her secret by the end of the pilot.  Calista Flockhart is also fun as her self-centered, somewhat cold-hearted boss, Cat Grant.  That said, I’m honestly not digging the DEO (Department of Extra-normal Operations) side of things.  Having a military team that she is sure to coordinate with regularly, even if it involves her adoptive sister Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), pigeonholes this a little too much into a set formula for me.  Still, I’ve trusted the team behind this thus far and it’s usually worked out, so for now I will assume they have a plan to keep things from getting stale.

On the whole, the pilot worked for me.  It’s not perfect, but pilots almost never are.  Hell, most pilots tend to be rather off; stilted and full of nothing but exposition.  This moved along at a nice clip and did a pretty good job of not only interesting its characters and concepts, but also setting a tone right out of the gate.  I could use a bit more insight into the villains at play, especially since our main baddie for this inaugural episode was a bit bland, but there’s plenty of time for that in the coming weeks.

On a sidenote, my daughter absolutely paid attention to this as it was playing, at least more than she does most other things I watch (though she is a Flash fan).  Will this series strike a chord with young girls as a whole?  Only time will tell, but I’m glad that they finally have the option of watching something like this.  There’s nothing wrong with girls looking up to male superheroes and enjoying their adventures, but they should also be able to do with same with female ones.  Welcome, “Supergirl“.  My daughter Alex and I are happy to have you around.

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