Monday, December 28, 2015

Best of Supergirl 2015, Part 1 of 3: The Supergirl Show

Welcome to the first of in a series of three posts looking back at the Best of Supergirl in the year 2015.

It has been an incredible year for the character in many aspects as Supergirl has finally been brought into popular culture in a meaningful and incredible manner. While I tend to concentrate on the Supergirl in the comics here, there is no doubt that any 'Best of Supergirl 2015' coverage has to begin with the television show.

I am still in shock as a Supergirl fan that each week I get to see my favorite character on the small screen, appointment viewing for me and the supergirls at home. Insanity!

Of course none of that initial excitement would mean anything if the show wasn't good. And while I might be biased, I think the show has been incredible.

It all starts with Melissa Benoist as Supergirl.

I mean, she lights up the room with her performance of Kara. She has this infectious sort of enthusiasm when she is in the costume, doing heroic deeds and seeing the best in everybody. But most importantly, she brings the range of emotions you need to bring to the character. Sure there is that optimism and brightness. But there is a fiery streak she shows when she sees evil being done. There is the uncertainty of being a new hero. She can be shy as Kara. And yes ... adorkable. Supergirl can be the most vulnerable character while being the most invulnerable and Benoist captures it all. How I love the initial plane rescue scene and her happiness afterwards!

The rest of the ensemble cast really shines as well. I have come to really love what Chyler Leigh is bringing to the character of Alex, the brilliant, protective, and powerful older sister. Calista Flockhart has been brilliant as Cat Grant. Cat could have been a caricature but Flockhart is bringing some depth to the character, making her as much an inspiration as Supergirl. Peter Facinelli is smarmy, charming, and evil. And Jeremy Jordan, Laura Benanti, Mehcad Brooks, and David Harewood have also been great.

There have been some wonderful moments in every issue, covered exhaustively by me in the reviews.

But I think the one that gave me the most goose bumps was an IM conversation where Superman told Kara he was proud of her, saying she was doing great, and that he was impressed with her victory over Reactron.

Getting validation and appreciation from Superman is something of a running theme throughout Supergirl's history. Whether it is implicit (throwing her in an orphanage until she knows how to use her powers) or only perceived as such by Kara (in the 2003 reboot series), Kara wanting to earn the S-shield and Superman's respect is a theme. She wants to emerge from his shadow and be her own hero. This little electronic discussion is something I, as a Supergirl fan, have been waiting to read for decades. I got chills.

All the commentary on feminism, race, work conflicts, family issues, and love ... this emotional side of the show is solid.

And the show has really excelled with the special effects for the action sequences. From the plane rescue to Reactron's beams to Livewire's electricity to Hank's transformation to J'onn, this really has felt like a mini-movie week in, week out.

But it isn't just the effects, the 'Human for a Day' hunt for J'emm felt like horror movie. The fight sequences, whether Kara throwing haymakers or Alex emptying twin .44s into Jemm, the whole heroing side of the show is so well done.

Add to that just enough Easter Eggs to keep a hard core Kara fan attentive and you have a winning formula. I mean we have heard 'Maiden of Might', 'Guardian Angel', and 'Secret Weapon' on this show. Unbelievable!

I gush weekly about the show in episode recaps. So if you want more details, I would head to those posts.

But between all the publicity for the show and now the final product, it has been a fantastic year for Supergirl in the television medium. And now people who might not know otherwise recognize how great a character Supergirl is!

Happy 2015!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing those thoughts, Anj. And totally 2nd your sentiment about how Supergirl is being shared with the world at large. Between the TV series, the Bombshells comics, and the Justice League 3001 comics, I'm one VERY happy fan -- now if only she'd make an appearance on DC Superhero Girls. That's my only niggling annoyance that they're 9eps in and STILL no Supergirl yet.

Can't wait till next week with the return of our favorite Monday evening TV Show.

Look forward to Pts 2 and 3 of this, and see everyone on the other side of 2016!

Also, I've mentioned this before, but still waiting for your review of the 1984 movie. Is this perhaps something on your "for 2016" list? :)


Martin Gray said...

Happy 2015 to you too! Nice tribute to a great show. I can't wait see what comes next.

Gene said...

It has been a great year for Supergirl in 2015. For 2016 I am going to sit back and enjoy the ride!


Anonymous said...

I watched the pilot last night and was sort of shocked to see how thoroughly unpleasant Calista Flockhart was playing Cat Grant, she comes within an ace of firing Kara around the twenty minute mark. Then again Pilots rarely predict the dramatic development of the series, I doubt Berlanti et al could predict the Benoist-Flockhart chemistry (it's akin to James Marsters & Sarah Gellar if we need fantasy tv precedents)...Oh and Kara is already warning Jimmy er James Olsen about "trying to save her" that much is interesting foreshadowing, I wonder if the whole Kara-Olsen thing founders because he can't back down from trying to protect her...?
There are the makings of a good ensemble cast here if everyone plays their creative cards right thats my fave takeaway so far...


Anonymous said...

One more thing that made the chat scene between Kara and Clark poignant. In the end both are alone. They are unique in their powers, talents, and perspective but they are unlike anyone else and have lost the rest of their family, which can be lonely. But instead of being bitter, they rise above it, and have a conversation that only they can have.