Hit or Sh**: CBS’ SUPERGIRL
In this Crossfader series, our intricate and complex rating system will tell you definitively whether new television pilots are worth your valuable time. We call it: HIT OR SH**.
In a world of male-dominated superhero content, it’s about time that a female superhero got the mainstream media treatment. Unfortunately for SUPERGIRL, playing it safe on CBS just might be the show’s kryptonite. SUPERGIRL follows Kara Zor-El, Superman’s elder cousin and would-be protector. When Kara’s pod gets knocked off course into the Phantom Zone upon Krypton’s destruction, she arrives on earth much later than expected to find Kal-El all grown up and a hero in his own right. So she decides, in her own words, the best thing she can do is “fit in.”
Conventionally attractive white women have it rough
SUPERGIRL is an exercise in formulaic storytelling. Essentially a retelling of the Superman origin story, SUPERGIRL’s plot hits all of the typical narrative beats, setting up a weekly procedural that can keep ratings afloat at the expense of fresh ideas and real character development. Kara’s emotional arc is woefully rushed, running the gambit from hero-turned-zero-turned-hero again in the span of an act or two. This hackneyed writing, along with abysmal direction, minimizes the talent of the particularly charismatic lead actress Melissa Benoist, who was the ray of sunshine in an otherwise dull affair.
But while Benoist’s rendition of Supergirl brings some much needed light-heartedness to the superhero genre, her supporting cast is not so lucky, making it out of the writers’ room barely intact. Casualties include the cringeworthy Winn ‘Mr. Friendzone’ Schott, and Kara’s enigmatic sister Alex, who flip-flops on her motivation more times than a bad politician. Perhaps the only supporting role that has real potential is the unapologetic Cat Grant, a powerful, cutthroat media mogul to rival any man. It seems Kara Zor-El isn’t the only Supergirl in this show.
*”Boss Ass Bitch” plays in the background*
There’s no question that SUPERGIRL is poised to become a ratings juggernaut, but as a critical success, it falls short. Time will tell if the writing and direction improve to the level of the show’s visual effects, which are top notch for the lower-budget world of television. However, admittedly, the fight scene choreography leaves much to be desired in a world where DAREDEVIL’s incredible one-take hallway scene exists. Still, there’s enough for the show to draw on to keep me interested for another episode or two. At least until Marvel’s JESSICA JONES drops on Netflix in November.
Verdict: Sh** Probation
SUPERGIRL airs on CBS on Mondays