The Supergirl pilot leaked this week, and I was way too curious to not watch it. I, of course, had many opinions about it, so a friend of mine asked me to write them down so that he could share it on his blog as a criticism from the female perspective. To be honest, I don’t know if my opinion can be considered the female perspective, simply because I don’t view it as such. However, here’s my opinion of this particular show as someone who has spent years enjoying television, and loves superhero shows.
First of all, the pilot alone gives away too much information. I thought that the trailer was giving away too much, but the pilot told me that I would spend the episodes between the premiere and the midseason finale bored out of my mind. I say this because that pilot had more reveals than the first two seasons of Arrow. Every single one of them could have been saved for later episodes.
Supergirl needs to take some serious notes from its predecessors. The Flash teased Gorilla Grodd for majority of the season, until they revealed him somewhere around episode 20. Arrow held onto Thea’s parentage until a few episodes into the second season, despite the fact that you get an inkling that there may have been something going on between Malcolm and Moira very early in the first. Supergirl has the reveal of Kara’s aunt in the same episode as the breaking and remaking of Kara’s relationship with her sister. That’s too much, too soon. This is still just the pilot.
We don’t get the chance to see Supergirl grow. She is immediately put out into the spotlight, and has her identity perfected in a matter of a montage. She doesn’t wonder about who to tell; she immediately tells that random friend at the office that was just trying to ask her out literally ten minutes before. I refuse to believe that anyone who had anything to do with the The Flash had a hand in it. Not when it took 21 episodes for Iris to figure out that Barry was The Flash, despite the fact that they literally grew up with each other. Sidebar: Iris should have been flipping tables in that episode.
Don’t get me started on the Jimmy Olsen reveal. As much as I love Mehcad Brooks, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he needs to be in the pilot, nor what purpose he will serve for the rest of the show. I would be okay if Jimmy Olsen was the love interest, but Kara looks at him like he’s going to mentor her into being the next Superman.
It needs to be said: this show will never survive if it continues to rely on Superman the way that it does. The current DC Television Universe has survived thus far without a Superman, so why does it now need him to validate one of its shows? Again, I love Mehcad Brooks, but he could have been any other DC character and still served the show far better than he does as Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. Smallville has been over for four years and can no longer be considered canon in the current DC Television lineup. It would have been smarter to retcon Kara Danvers’ background into that of a Supergirl that landed on an Earth that had never known a Superman. By referencing Superman every five minutes, the showrunners are basically saying that Supergirl cannot carry her own show. Or, more accurately, that they are incapable of developing Supergirl properly without Superman.
I don’t want anyone to come away from this post thinking that I am saying that Supergirl cannot be a great show; it definitely has the potential. I don’t know who leaked the pilot, but they’ve actually done the studio a big favor. This way the studio can review the feedback, and take in all of the constructive criticism. They can rewrite and reshoot the pilot in a way that better serves the show that they are trying to create.
I want Supergirl to work, simply because I know that DC/Greg Berlanti is capable of giving me quality television. I’m not going to pretend that Supergirl isn’t DC’s only show lead by a female protagonist, and that there’s a good chance that we may not get another one should it fail (remember that Wonder Woman show that never happened?). However, I honestly just want Supergirl to be great because Daredevil, The Flash, and the first two seasons of Arrow have all been great. So what reason does Supergirl have to not be?