He SAID: There’s a new (Super) Girl in Town…

Christopher M. Enis
Unless you’ve been living in a galaxy far, far away, it’s been impossible to miss that the Geeks have inherited the Earth (well, Hollywood and Television. Same difference).  These days, you can’t swing a Streaky The Super Cat  in any direction, without hitting a Superhero movie and/or television series. Despite this, there hasn’t been many with a lead female character (ABC’s Agent Carter and The CW’s iZombie are the notable exceptions).  But as we close 2015, change is on the horizon… and her name is Supergirl.
The first episode of CBS’ Supergirl aired on CBS. Even with its typically older viewership, the series might be right at home at a network with a long history of female-empowered storylines (Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Alice and, more recently, The Good Wife & Madam Secretary).
Based on the DC Comics character (created in 1959 by Otto Binder and Al Plastin43d4f1c7352b0e244413e1f916af6075o), Supergirl is Kara Zor-El a.k.a. Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist). She and cousin Kal-El (Superman) were the last survivors of the doomed planet Krypton.  Kara and Kal were sent on their way in separate rockets to Earth, but a cosmic mishap literally changed the course of both of their lives.
In a stunt casting move that only nerds will appreciate, once Kara finally makes it to earth she is taken in by Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers… who are none other than former Supergirl Helen Slater and former Superman Dean Cain. Kara begins her life on Earth like any country girl who e39b3d6b58850791165a9aace73184d5ends up working in the big city… under a painful interpretation of The Devil Wear Prada’s chief villian, played by Calista Flockhart. Shall we just pretend that she doesn’t resemble husband Harrison Ford’s frozen facade circa Return of the Jedi about the eyes and face? Yes? Okay. I kept sitting there waiting for her face to move into some sort of … expression. Alas, nothing. But we’re pretending not to notice! Back to the story…
Kara may be the second most powerful person on the planet but there seems to be more than a few reasons why she’s decided to hide out and pretend to be ‘normal.’ An unexpected emergency causes her to shed her doubts, and go up up and away… fueled by all the Girl Power cliches that CBS can muster in a single episode. It’s alma7a35b1f367bf382057e436bb3fd8e0aost too much. But I get it. So even though the story so far is full of plot holes large enough to drive a semi through, it’s all for the good of the Girl Power. Supergirl doesn’t exist to add to the deep, dramatic angst that is the norm for most of the superhero series/movies. It’s meant to show that ‘anything you can do I can do better’ for the real life up and coming SuperGirls of our time. The male characters on the show take a back seat in the first episode (I’m working to ignore the fact that Jimmy Olsen is way too damn old), and there’s a pretty good chance their supporting status won’t change much as the show progresses.

The best thing about Supergirl is likely Supergirl herself. Benoist is on point in a star-making role.  She makes Kara likeable, believable and worthy of rooting for. She is a breath of fresh air in a superhero universe dominated by men… not to mention the vanguard of a number of series/movies with women in prominent roles (Jessica Jones on Netflix, the Wasp in the upcoming Ant-Man sequel, and Wonder Woman in Batman vs Superman).  d18efb7dc9cd33986220dac9bf30a556Supergirl is a great and long overdue start to the Superhero Ladies Revolution, and she should soar for years to come.


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