Supergirl isn’t sure what it wants to be. It bounces between a rom-com, coming of age story and fairly traditional comic book fare. It succeeds more when it stays away from the campy comic book stuff, but when you’re a show called Supergirl, that’s not really an option.
Supergirl follows the adventures of Kara Zor-El, the cousin of Superman, who was sent to Earth to protect him. Unfortunately, her ship took a detour and she landed on Earth 24 years after her cousin. So, with a hero already protecting the world, Kara decided to take a job as a lowly assistant and hide her true powers. But, when her sister’s plan experiences engine failure Kara embraces her gifts and reveals herself to the world. Opening up a whole new world of trouble in the process.
Keep in mind, all of this backstory was explained without anyone ever uttering the words Superman because, despite being a show called Supergirl, they couldn’t get the rights to Superman. It was… strange, to say the least.
Melissa Benoist’s performance as Kara borders on the cliché “adorkable” girl, but stays on just this side of charming. For now. It’s easy to see how it could become grating week after week if she doesn’t undergo some serious development. Chyler Leigh, as Kara’s adoptive sister Alex, is serviceable in a role that is only meant to be supportive. As is Mechad Brooks as James “Jimmy” Olson (I guess they could get the rights to him?) But the real standouts are Jeremy Jordan as Kara’s best friend Winn and Calista Flockhart as her tough as nails boss, Cat Grant. Cat Grant could easily come across as cliché’ but Flockhart manages to ride the line and keep it fun.
If only the rest of the show could follow her lead. Despite the success of the Marvel universe, DC still can’t seem to figure out that keeping things light and campy is the way to go. Supergirl has its moments of lightheartedness, but it veers into over the top melodrama far too often. If its already visiting that well this often in the pilot, it doesn’t bode well for future episodes.
Final Verdict: It has some definite potential, but it needs to do some course correcting.
*Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.
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