Pilot Reviews Supergirl

Supergirl 1×01 – Pilot

"Besides fatty foods, there is nothing people love more than a hero. So go get me that girl. And Kara... go get me a lettuce wrap."

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Last week, CBS released a horrible, cringe-inducing promo for its brand new series, Supergirl. The terribly-edited piece positioned the show as the worst kind of chick flick with a goofy lead and scenes ripped straight out of The Devil Wears Prada and Ugly Betty. The backlash was brutal (and extremely deserved), until the entire pilot “leaked” a couple of days ago, six months before the show’s premiere. It’s obvious to me that CBS resorted to some much-needed damage control and purposely released the pilot to gain some goodwill. Why? Because this debut episode isn’t nearly as bad as the promo had you believe.

Sure there’s the requisite amount of exposition-y dialogue and predictable beats, but as a whole, Supergirl is actually pretty charming and well made. In fact, this is one GREAT looking show. The production values are top-notch, with excellent use of CGI and some expertly-filmed fight sequences. It’s obvious that CBS poured a lot of moolah into this production and it shows. The real question here is if the show can maintain those production values over the course of the season (here’s hoping CBS didn’t blow all their budget on one episode).

Supergirl has another weapon up its sleeve, and that’s the exceptional casting of Melissa Benoist as our heroine. I’d never seen the actress before but she’s superb in the role – equal parts lovable and kickass when the moment calls for it. Much like Stephen Amell (Arrow) and Grant Gustin (The Flash), Greg Berlanti knows how to cast a superhero lead, and I for one can not wait to see her crossover onto Berlanti’s other shows and interact with our favorite heroes. Watch out for this girl, I have a feeling she’s going to morph into one heck of a megastar.

As for the rest of the cast, Calista Flockhart and Mehcad Brooks are fine as Cat Grant and Jimmy Olsen, but I was less impressed by Chyler Leigh (of Grey’s Anatomy fame) as Kara’s sister. Her role in the pilot is far too contrived and forced, although the sisterly bond between her and Kara might actually end up being a highlight of the show going forward.

The pilot wisely ends with a nifty reveal of the show’s big bad, the ominous “General”. I won’t spoil his identity here, but suffice to say, it’s a good twist and one that has me optimistic in the show’s desire to build a coherent and satisfying story arc. Fingers crossed.

Super Bits

– The plane sequence is surprisingly high-budget for a TV show. Impressive.

– Love the shot of Kara falling off the building then flipping over Winn. Great mixture of CGI and practical effects.

– I don’t think Cat’s “Supergirl” speech to Kara is as effective as the show was aiming for. Isn’t Superwoman STILL better?

– The beating that Vartox gives Kara in their first face-off is quite brutal and well-staged. I don’t like that she needs to be saved by Alex though.

– Alex’s speech through the door is quite touching. As is her mom’s heartbreaking message to her.

– The visual of Kara stopping the bus – badass! It’s also pretty cool that she plays the female victim just before winning!

– So Jimmy was sent by Superman to watch over Kara. I’m guessing they’re the show’s endgame couple?

Kara Quips

Cat: The only reason I bought this building was because it had a private elevator. That way I don’t have to get soaked in cheap cologne every morning on the way to my office. Find out who used it and have them reprimanded or bathed, I don’t care which.

Cat: I have a meeting with the board today at lunch, so cancel sushi with my mother. Oh, and cancel my therapist. I won’t be needing it if I’m not having lunch with my mother.

Kara: I’m kind of tired, I just carried a plane on my back. I’m gonna go to bed.

Kara: Uh, there’s something about me that for most of my life, I’ve run from it. But last night, I embraced who I am and I don’t want to stop.
Winn Schott: Oh, my God, you’re a lesbian. Oh, Kara, that’s not why you’re into me. This is… this is great news!

Winn: Capes are lame, you can tell your cousin I said so. Actually never, never do that.

Cat: James. You are interrupting a very craftily worded termination.

Alex: The world needs you to fly Kara.

Winn: Uh, if… If I believe the comments on the website, they mentioned a “Female/reptilian boxing match in the desert.”
Kara: I’ll tell you all about it at our next crime-fighting lunch hour.

Conclusion
Sure there are growing pains, but there’s also potential for something more. I’ll stick with this one for a few episodes and see if it can overcome them. After all, we can never have too many superhero shows on TV can we?

Nad Rating
B-

9 comments

  1. Great review, Nadim. I've been waiting for this! 🙂

    Loved the CGI and the special effects so much, it makes me thrilled that the show is on CBS. I hope that level of top-notch fight sequences keep impressing us in later episodes. I would have probably enjoyed the episode more, though, if I hadn't seen (and hated) the extremely long and spoilery trailer.

    Definitely tons of potential here, but the one thing I disagree with you on is Calista Flockhart. She was worse than “fine” here, I don't know why because I usually love her. Her grand entrance into the building was soooo The Devil Wears Prada (with the sunglasses and the snobby attitude and the corny dialogue). I seriously hope I can start liking her later on but here she really annoyed me.

    Great twist in the end! Also loved hearing the music (very Superman-fitting) on this show. I kind of wish I can see the next episode now just because of how charming Kara is here.. And no we can NEVER have too many superhero shows! 😀

  2. Haha Chris you caught regarding the Calista thing. She really was pretty terrible but I couldn't do that to her after loving her so much on Brothers & Sisters. She's a great actress, but the dialogue she had to spout off was really lame. I remember hearing she was cast as the show's baddie, so maybe that's something to look forward to in the future? Here's hoping!

  3. I think re: the whole “Supergirl” thing, the show was just stuck with a problematic legacy name and felt the need to justify it onscreen. Probably a mistake.

    Incidentally, the name originally made more sense in the comics because Kara was a TEENAGE GIRL when she first debuted, not in her early 20s. :/

    This pilot was clunky (I haven't watched beyond it yet) but it shows a lot of promise and I hope they give it a chance to find its feet.

    One thing I loved is that they did the absolute minimum they had to in terms of “Secret Origin” and just skipped straight to the story. “Oh hi, I'm Superman's cousin – you've heard of him, right? Coo', moving on…”.

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