Monday, December 26, 2016

Midseason Review: Supergirl

The first half of the season is done. Time to break them down.

Item the First

It's a puff piece, it's agit-prop, no, it's Supergirl!


Sigh. Too late.

Okay, fine, let's break this down.

The Good: The move for the CW has definitely improved the series. In the first few episodes, you can see the budget actually show up on the screen.

 I guess that means that the filming on location in LA really did eat up most of the budget while they were on CBS.

There is obvious effort put in here and there. The end result of the villain Parasite, for example, wasn't that bad. I say the end result because he was really a global warming fanatic who went insane.

They had one or two obvious character choices for certain players that they did not take that surprised me -- mostly, their decision to not make every member of the Luthor family into a flaming psychopath.

And, to be honest, I don't mind their Superman. I mean, heck, he SMILES. Was a Superman allowed to smile since Christopher Reeves? Hell, Brandon Routh was so dang stiff, he should have been an awesome Superman. He wasn't even allowed to smile until he became Ray Palmer, and now, he makes a great Clark Kent on Legends of Tomorrow ... as the wrong character.

The Bad: everything else.

No, really. This is bad. The opening of the season wasn't that bad. It had Kara and Clark, and it wasn't that bad ... okay, the Cat Grant lusting after a man who is obviously 15-20 years younger than herself was amazingly creepy, and everyone else just looked uncomfortable without calling her on it.

The primary thread for the season revolves around "anti-alien sentiment" and a "home-grown terrorist group, Cadmus." I mean, I can't imagine why anyone would have harsh feelings against aliens. I mean, they nearly DESTROYED THE PLANET last season. Though they actually have some counterpoint to this thinly-veiled political analogue, with even the Martian Manhunter directly opposing an "alien amnesty" proposed by a President Lynda Carter. So they have some props there.

And, seriously, "amnesty"? I'm sorry, in a world where Superman has official citizenship of the United States, are they telling me there's no way for these people to just fill out some paperwork? Is INS / ICE really still screwed up, even in the DCU? Are we kidding?

And we won't even get into the blunt forced message fiction about Kara's sister becoming a lesbian out of ... nowhere, really. Yes, the character of Officer Leslie Thompson from the Superman comic was gay ... then again, so was Rene Montoya, Cassandra Kane, and about half the women in the DC universe feel like they're at least bi, if not 100% lesbian. But they've spent so much time with the sister becoming gay, and less and less time addressing an overall plot. I fast forward through at least a third of every episode, looking for a plot. Kickass female characters ... and they made them gay. Yes, of course. Because "kickass" somehow must mean ... what? Butch? Therefore gay? Um, no, people. That's not how this works.

The sister's sudden coming out of the closet is particularly startling after first season and her having a relationship with Maxwell Lord -- who was so overbearing and overshadowing last season, his disappearance this season is whiplash-inducing.

Oh, and then there's Jimmy Olsen becoming the Guardian .... Do I even have to explain why this is a bad idea? Jimmy Olsen ... as a superhero.  Somehow, Jimmy Olsen is a cross between Iron Man and Batman. Look at him. He's even IN IRON MAN'S SUPERHERO POSE.

Even Kara mentions how her cousin sometimes works with a guy with a lot of gadgets and a lot of issues -- ie, Batman.

Oh, does this mean I can have Batman now? Please? Pretty please?

But, yeah, Jimmy Olsen as a superhero ... because the son of the Toyman made him a suit. Um, point of order, but did Wynn cobble together this super suit out of DEO technology? Did no one notice what had to be millions of dollars in hardware suddenly going missing? Is it as inefficiently run as every other government organization that millions can just disappear without anyone noticing? And screw that, now we just have the problem that Tony Stark has -- why is Wynn not making Guardian suits fro everyone in the DEO? Considering the amount of crap that they have to put up with on a daily basis, why hasn't Wynn made an entire SWAT team suits like this?

Worst of all ... why is JIMMY OLSEN having more time on screen as a superhero THAN SUPERGIRL. You know, in a series called SUPERGIRL?

Yes, I do consider it possible that Supergirl could recover. There was hint that Lynda Carter's President was an alien, suggesting that she be an alien menace, and that all of this illegal immigration analogy falls apart. But I don't see it happening, I truly don't.

And the sad thing is that this is all so easily fixable. I honestly don't care about Kara's sister and her new girlfriend -- that the sister has become gay, or that she has a girlfriend -- if they focused less on that and more on THE PLOT, I'll be happy.

In fact, you will find that complaint very often in the Berlantiverse reviews.  I want less focus on interpersonal relationships, and more of a plot. The sad thing is, for Supergirl, this is still an improvement over last season.

I may keep watching, if I have additional brain cells I feel like sacrificing. Otherwise, this is one hero I can without.

And, I can say without any shame at all, you're better off reading any of the following books.


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