[TV Show Review] ‘Supergirl’ Season 1 is a magnificent showcase of a Superman/Supergirl show

Supergirl in "Supergirl" (Polygon)
Supergirl in "Supergirl" (Polygon)

Should you watch the series more than once? Yes.

Should you buy the DVD? Nah.

Score: 3.9/5

Number of episodes: 20

Episode length: ~40 minutes

What is Supergirl doing in "Supergirl"? (Polygon)
What is Supergirl doing in “Supergirl”? (Polygon)

“Supergirl” is a live action superhero action drama about Supergirl from DC Comics, specifically Kara Zor-El. As a Kryptonian, she has all the super powers that Superman has, including super strength, flight, heat vision, super breath, and super speed. Season 1 aired over 2015 to 2016.

The first season deals with Supergirl’s public appearance as well as her relations with the DEO (Department of Extra-Normal Operations). It stars Melissa Benoist (Supergirl/Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers), Mehcad Brooks (Jimmy Olsen), Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers), Jeremy Jordan (Winn Schott), David Harewood (Hank Henshaw), and Calista Flockhart (Cat Grant).

A toast in "Supergirl" (Polygon)
A toast in “Supergirl” (Polygon)

Superman is one of my favourite heroes, and watching “Supergirl” has been a blast (even though we didn’t get to see Superman in this season). She’s an example of how a powerful female character doesn’t have to be a pushy, domineering pain (like Lois can be, sometimes) to be an interesting and likeable character. In fact, Supergirl never has to prove herself – which makes her all the more fun to watch. She’s confident of herself and what she can do, and this is what differentiates her from many other female super-powered characters. She doesn’t have to live up to anyone’s imposed standards but her own.

Kara and James in "Supergirl" (Polygon)
Kara and James in “Supergirl” (Polygon)


Villains that can legitimately hurt Supergirl

The problem with television shows that feature Superman is that very often, the villains simply aren’t powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with any Kryptonian without Kryptonite. There is the occasional opponent who can match a Kryptonian in power, but that raises the question – where was this villain all along? Thanks to a clever plot device, “Supergirl” introduces villains who are legitimately powerful enough to be a threat to Supergirl yet haven’t taken over vast swaths of the world yet.

Superpowered fights and flights

When beings of the same strength level clash, things are going get destroyed and people are going to get tossed around. That’s what happens often in the series, and the best part is that Supergirl is often depicted as flying when she fights. It adds a depth of realism, since if you could fly, you’d probably be doing so for all your fights. There are even airborne battles to be seen!

Cliffhanger endings and tight story arcs

The writing for a first season is superb, with endings that leave you craving for the next episode and storylines that cross over multiple episodes. It manages to tell a self-contained, episodic story while still weaving a longer arc that keeps you interested for the long haul.

Supergirl is one of the happiest heroines around

What makes Supergirl so enjoyable is that she’s positively brimming with happiness in almost every episode. And if you’re a virtually invincible goddess, why wouldn’t you? Supergirl revels in being a heroine, and shows us just how fun it can be when you’ve got super powers like hers. The world needs more shows where superheroes actually want to be superheroes, like “Supergirl”.

Supergirl in "Supergirl" (Polygon)
Supergirl in “Supergirl” (Polygon)


Inconsistent power levels

Admittedly, Supergirl’s powers can be rather inconsistent from episode to episode. Remember that she can lift a plane, so that should be the baseline for her strength. Yet in certain episodes, she can barely climb out of some sticky trap by herself. It’s not a major quibble in that she’s certainly very powerful in every episode, but sometimes she feels depowered for the sake of letting the villain get away.

Wynn is irritating


He might be the plucky sidekick that doubles up as the tech expert, but boy can he get whiny at times. Wynn needs to dial back on that whole “I’m a nerdy tech guy!” portrayal, lest it consumes him and he becomes a caricature of himself (which is certainly the case now).

The DEO in "Supergirl (Polygon)
The DEO in “Supergirl (Polygon)

“Supergirl” Season 1 is a magnificent showcase of what a Superman/Supergirl show should be.

Picture credit: Polygon

Check out what I thought of “The Flash” Season 2 too if you like happy superheroes!

Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com

If you liked the article, follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more (presumably) good updates!

To get in touch with me, send an email!


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.