Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Supergirl first impressions

Last night I finally sat down and watched the first four episodes of Supergirl (or the first three and the fifth, since the DVD and Wikipedia disagree on episode order) and I am absolutely besotted by this series. Reasons for this, in no particular order:

It passes the Bechdel Test multiple times every episode. Now, I'm the first to say the BT gets used as a moral absolute far too often but its a useful critical measure in cases like this.

I love that Cat Grant (Kara's boss in this version) is shown to have a businesswoman persona and a family persona instead of being all business all the time. She's a nuanced character who could so easily just have been a cardboard cut out heartless capitalist. Oh, she has heartless moments, sure but there are moments of genuine affection she has for people and the look in her eyes the first time she meets Kara as Supergirl is an amazing insight into her character, kudos to Calista Flockheart for selling that moment.

Speaking of semi-evil capitalists it does my old heart good to see Max Lord in one of these things.

Kara's skirt is a decent length. I don't mean this in a prudish way, I mean it in a “I remember the pre-Sterling Gates Supergirl comics” way when artists couldn't help themselves from using the mini-skirt to draw panty shots. We don't want that, we don't want that even more than the 1980s costume with the headband that the pilot episode activitely mocks.

The series has a much better excuse for all these random villains running around in the immediate vicinity than The Flash managed. Plus, this is a world where Superman has been around for a decade so the writers don't have to waste time on origin stories if they don't need to.

Kara has multiple mentors: Cat at her job, James Olsen (yes, that one) in her superhero life and her sister in another aspect of her superhero life. Hell, just the fact that Kara has multiple emotional and professional support systems is amazing.

On the subject of James “Jimmy” Olsen, there's so much to say: I love that he's trying to make something of himself away from Metropolis and Superman; I love that he has some interesting anxiety issues based on being “Superman's pal”; I love that for a change he isn't portrayed as a completely witless stooge; and, um, well...
oh, will you just look at this cutie?

I like that they're using the DEO instead of ARGUS. I mean, I like Amanda Waller well enough but four live actions Amanda Wallers might be too many Wallers.

I don't even hate this version of Lucy Lane and I always hate Lucy Lane. I don't love her but she's tolerable. I will not be entirely disappointed if she never ends up blindfolded and in a fight with a kangaroo (long story...).

I absolutely love the way the series addresses the issues facing professional women through Kara/Cat scenes, both with Kara as Supergirl and Kara as Kara. Its does it in non-preachy ways that don't seem accusatory towards the male audience (which, sadly, is a problem for making the male audience empathise if they feel under attack at the same time they're being educated). Since they're generally conversations between two women it doesn't come off as a confrontation but as an older woman looking out for a younger one. That is a type of relationship, specifically of female friendship, we really need to see more of.

This is a damn fine show. 

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