Taking The Plunge
It’s official, folks. The first daughter of Krypton has made the moves over to the CW for her second season of Supergirl. There were a lot of questions going into the new season, on the new network, with a network already rife with DC superhero shows. The season premiere of Supergirl didn’t so much have a lot to prove, but having so many changes occur behind the scenes could spell disaster for any show. Good thing Kara and the crew maintained much of what made the show work over on CBS.
“The Adventures of Supergirl” kicks off with a small celebration among friends, well, family actually, as Kara toasts to, before being interrupted by a crashing aircraft approaching the city. It’s that moment that we’re not only (for first time viewers) introduced to Supergirl, but this universe’s version of Superman also arrives on the scene.
Much was made of Superman’s inclusion on the show after the painstaking effort put into explaining his absence in season 1. The explanation being that he was letting his cousin make a name for herself. It was a convenient fix to an obvious issue (Superman hadn’t appeared on TV since Lois & Clark, not counting the final five seconds of Smallville) of avoiding what Warner Bros. believed to be character confusion. So here there he was, on our television screens, after years of barely a mention, he’s now a side character on Supergirl, for at least one more episode if the dialogue is to be believed. And he was fantastic in that capacity.
Tyler Hoechlin is a welcome addition to the DC TV univerese, and his version of the Man of Steel is a much more refreshing version of the character than the cinematic version. For one thing, Hoechilin’s version of Clark Kent appears to be pretty good at his job. A respected and known journalist, who actually knows the goings on around him. He also has the slightly awkward side which makes Clark so unassuming. It’s a trait shared by both Kryptonians. It’s what makes his heroic actions all the better, as he doesn’t appear to bemoan or begrudgingly take on his role. He smiles, introduces himself to citizens and officials, but most importantly for, he steps aside.
“The Adventures of Supergirl” only paid as much attention as necessary to Superman, quickly establishing his backstory with both Martian Manhunter and Kara’s sister. The focus was still very much on Kara, and her transition from awkward, nervous assistant, to bridging a bit of the gap between her two personas. She’s coming into her own as Supergirl, and in doing so, there is space for her star cousin to come along.
Now, for the other changes to Supergirl, some were handled subtly, while others were completely called out. Like the DEO headquarters moving from a dank cave under the National City streets to a swanky, glass laden structure right downtown. A move clearly made due to budgets cuts from switching networks, but a nice touch nonetheless as it makes the DEO seem less shady in their operations if they’re able to exist in plain sight.
There did seem to be a need to restart some story aspects for the network move, the most glaring is the immediately defunct relationship between Kara and James Olsen. After a season long build to the two of them finally getting together, having Kara suddenly decide it wouldn’t work was pretty abrupt. Especially considering how much time they’ll be spending together. Maybe it opens the door to other relationship storylines, but this could have been handled with a little more care considering how much had already been invested.
Then there’s the villain angle. You may be able to pull of a movie or two with weak villains due to runtime, but a weekly show doesn’t have that luxury. Supergirl has struggled with villains in the past, with only a handful making a noteworthy impact. This season is looking to shake that up with possible threat, Lena Luthor (yup, his sister), and Metallo. While Lena Luthor will clearly be evil, I like that she’s not the mustache twirling ne’er do well that Maxwell Lord was last season. Max was obviously behind everything going to shit in National City. You don’t get that from Lena, which could make for much better arcs going forward.
“The Adventures of Supergirl” was a nice start, and firm introduction to the CW crowd that may have missed out last season. They’ve kept all the light hearted, group elements that made the show work in the first place. And as long as Melissa Benoist is on her game, you’d have to be soulless to not find her charming as hell.