Review: Super Girl (episode 1)

Super GirlMy wife and I watched the first episode of Super Girl last week. That’s not a lot to go on, of course, but I’m in a snap-judgement mood. If my review is off, please let me know in the comments.

Plot

Super Girl tells the story of Kara Zor-El, who’s sent to Earth along with her cousin Superman, to protect him. While he’s an infant, she’s thirteen years old. Unfortunately, she ends up traveling through the so-called Phantom Zone, which delays her arrival on Earth by 24 years. By that time, Superman is already the hero of Metropolis, while she’s still a thirteen year old.

Fast forward eleven years. Kara lives in National city. She’s not using her powers, because her foster parents and sister keep telling her not to. When the local paper is downsized because National City has no Superman, and Kara’s stepsister ends up trapped in a crashing plane, she decides to act anyway.

That triggers a series of events. It turns out Kara was being monitored by her sister all that time, for an organization aimed at defending Earth from aliens. She also becomes a target for a group of criminals from her home planet of Krypton that she accidentally helped escape imprisonment in the Phantom zone.

You reeling yet? Yeah, the plot is a bit far-fetched, even for a super hero show. Why was she diverted to the Phantom Zone and not Superman? Why were she and Superman in different pods at all? If the Kryptonians could put criminals into a space ships, why couldn’t they flee their planet’s destruction themselves?

Mostly though, I was bored. Seen it, read it, heard it a hundred times before. It’s a basic hero-story plot, complicated, yes, but without much originality.

Characters

The main character of the series is – duh – Super Girl, a.k.a. Kara Danvers. If anything about this series is remarkable, it’s that it’s a super hero show with a female lead. Of course, Dollhouse and Buffy the Vampire Hunter preceded her and Orphan Black, Jessica Jones, and Killjoys are on Netflix beside her. Still, the majority of superhero shows and movies still feature male heroes (Arrow, Daredevil, Captain America, …), so any female leads are welcome.

Then there’s her sister, Alex Danvers. Honestly, I hated her. She keeps putting her sister in her place, berates her for wanting to help people, and turns out to have a career based solely on the existence of her sister. Trying to ‘protect’ your sister while spying on her and making a living off it, is pretty messed up in my book.

Third up is the Hank Henshaw, the leader of the DEO (Department of Extra-Normal Operations). He’s basically an alien racist. He doesn’t have a kind word to say for Kara, or for her sister. Maybe it’s just the carried-over animosity from Homeland, where the same actor portrayed another government executive gone asshole.

That leaves the two male love interests, James Olsen and Winslow Schott. At least, I think they’re the love interests. James appears to be gay for Superman in the first episode, so maybe he’s just a side character to round off the cast? Or maybe he’s bisexual? Or I misread the character completely. Winslow is just your run-of-the-mill male love interest. He’s a bit geeky and Kara doesn’t see he likes her. Ha, ha.
– Wait, is that Twilight I’m watching? Or the Mortal Instruments?

Again, not much to look at here. Bland in a new setting.

Conclusion

I didn’t hate Supergirl. What I felt was more a sort of general disinterest. And not because I only want a male lead; I loved Dollhouse and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Super Girl just doesn’t appear to have a compelling premise or characters.

Of course, I’m basing this off the first episode of the first season, so what do I really know?

Author: Martin Stellinga

I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands

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