Thursday, April 21, 2016

Supergirl Season 1: All Love To The Angel Of Krypton

It's been no secret for the last six months that I'm hugely into the one and only superhero show on CBS - Supergirl.

It's been no secret that I'm hugely, hopelessly crushed out on Supergirl herself. Like all my favorite superhero actors of recent years (Andrew Garfield on The Amazing Spider-Man, Grant Gustin on The Flash, Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man, etc.), Melissa Benoist owns the role of Supergirl so much, she is Supergirl. And what better heroine to be, amirite or amirite? Like all the best of them, Supergirl is a shining beacon of hope, an ass-kicking guardian angel. But without a doubt, she's the first one whom I looked at and thought, "She is an angel." Excuse me for sounding like young Anakin in The Phantom Menace (a movie I still unabashedly enjoy even after growing up and out of Jar Jar Binks' target audience), but let's face it - while those other heroes I mentioned are guys I'd love to just hang out with, Supergirl's the one I started out wanting to hang out with, but fell in love with her once I really got to know her.

Over the course of these first twenty episodes, the entire cast of Supergirl has grown. Their personalities have evolved, and their characters have grown magnificently and organically. Cat Grant especially comes to mind - just look at how much her biting, snarky side has given way to a woman who deeply respects and supports Supergirl, and also accurately comes to suspect Kara's true identity before long. And yet, she's never lost her innate ability to leave a crappy first impression - hilarious with her legendary zingers ("Whole milk has not passed these lips since I last rode a bicycle with streamers!"), but still, crappy, because she would have you believe she can only connect with people when she's insulting them.

Still, though...her one-liners. XD

Cat's not the only dynamic character this show's got, though. In the early days, Supergirl struggled to grow out of her cousin's shadow. She could have easily just come across to the world as a copycat, or a weaker distaff counterpart to Superman. But she's spent the entire season fighting to make a name for herself, to show the world that she's her own hero. The people of National City often need some convincing on that front, and I'd be more than happy to offer it to them.

In many circles I frequent, Superman doesn't get much love because he's believed to be a God Moder. All they see in him is his power and strength, without any of the vulnerability that would make him relatable to us humans - something that, I think, Zack Snyder sought to correct in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, which didn't go over too well with fans who expect Superman to be the eternally bright and shiny epitome of truth, justice, and the American way.

But there's no light without the darkness, and the creative forces behind Supergirl are dangerously gifted at knowing when to tip the scales the other way and show Kara's more negative sides. Her encounter with the Red Tornado comes to mind, as well as another red-something: Red Krypton. It only makes me feel for her even more, and with each episode, the emotional intensity ticks up just a little more. Sometimes, it dials back following a particularly trying show (like "For The Girl Who Has Everything"), only to ratchet back up into the stratosphere eventually (like "Myriad" and, most notably, the season finale "Better Angels.")

At her core, Supergirl is as much a symbol of hope as Superman, and certainly even more so for we the viewers. Tonight's episode of Lucifer (a show I like to watch back-to-back on Monday nights with Supergirl precisely because their title characters are such polar opposites - she the light, he the dark; she the sweet, he the sour, etc.) drew parallels between Lucifer's vulnerability when around Chloe and his implied fear of intimacy. If having people see your weaknesses is a major part of intimacy, then it's no wonder I love Supergirl so much. It's no wonder I wish I could be a character on this show so I could actively help her save the day when it so often needs saving (I don't really bring too many marketable skills to the table, but I suppose if Cat needs a copyeditor for all the publicity she gives Supergirl...), and so I could be her shoulder to cry on when she needs it (not to mention, if Alex isn't around to join her in socially-acceptable binge-watching, I volunteer as tribute.)

Kara strikes me as an Orphan Black fan. Can I join her in Clone Club? Please?

The single best episode of the season for me, however, was "Worlds Finest," that legendary #SupergirlXTheFlash crossover event. Can you say, "squad goals?"

And also, "ship goals?"

Barry and Kara clicked so well, it wasn't even funny - and it validated my creative decision to have all the superheroes in my many fanfics, most notably the Spidey & Speedy crossover trilogy between Spider-Man and a mix of heroes from various DC film and TV universes, become fast friends and work together with incredible precision. I can easily see Kara, Barry, and Peter as the best group of their kind since Harry Potter's Golden Trio. Barry would be the brains, Peter would be the heart, and Kara would be the strength, the glue (like Maze Runner's Newt) binding the team together.

Hey, don't hate. I'm just an overactive fanfic writer.

Bottom line - Supergirl earns her place as one of my favorite TV series of the year. And if CBS does not renew this show for a second season, then I'd be more than happy to send Oliver Queen after them.

"CBS, you have failed this fandom!"

Till next time, Pinecones...

Remember - Denis Leary is always watching. Always.

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