Guilty: I streamed it and wrote on How Supergirl Failed to Fly

by Devina Gunawan

I couldn’t help it. My guy friends kept on talking about Supergirl, the leaked episode 1, that I just had to see it.

And I did.

And it was cliche. Very cliche.

Remember the days when Arrow started on CW and it basically shot us all down with its coolness? Or when the Flash ran past our expectations and won over our hearts?

Well, yes, I have to say, we do need a superheroine.

But this Supergirl isn’t exactly what I need on TV. It stands out, don’t get me wrong, because everyone loves stories about heroes and people saving the world. And I have no doubt that it will win over many viewers. However, to say that it will succeed in the same way other superhero shows do… I am lacking in confidence.

A lot of feminists will love this show. A lot will argue, obviously, about the word ‘Girl’ and on other things. However, a lot of women will love the fact that the one saving the day is not a guy, but a woman – pardonnez-moi, a girl.

However, the story is very cliche. It is predictable and everything that happens is expected. A lot of the parts: the flirty James, the sidekick who is in love with Kara, the sister who is jealous of her but supports her, and the whole thing connected to the Krypton – all of them are cliche.

I do enjoy, however, watching the beautiful Alex played by Chyler Leigh. Now talk about beautiful, strong women!

But here’s where I lay my problems, as beautiful as she is, Melissa Benoist isn’t that convincing as a heroine. She goes from having low self esteem, to excited about being a heroine after saving a plane, to feeling unsupported by her sister, to revealing her secret to the nearest coworker, to fighting bad guys and losing, to… seriously, so many things happened in the pilot, I don’t know how Melissa could catch up.

It is as if the writers are rushing the pilot. It feels like a “Go, go, go, go, we need to establish her as a heroine right now!” That instead of letting the audience learn more about ‘who is this girl we will call our heroine?’, the writers go to, “Let’s have two minutes of her background story, and five minutes of her current life, and then make her a hero. And then let her discover what happened with her arrival on earth and fight a bad guy and prove herself worthy.”

People, Oliver Queen had his fair share seen as the bad guy and a murderer before people could see him as a hero! It took episodes!

Supergirl-pilot

I would much prefer it if the pilot had touched more of Kara’s struggle, of how badly she wanted to save others but how strange it was for her to start something up like that. I would like a pilot that showed how she could not balance wanting to have a normal life and keeping her powers when she saw crimes. And then she could save a plane and have the fight with Alex. Afterwards, she could ponder upon what she should do, if she should hide or if she should continue fighting.

Because her excitement over becoming Supergirl and famous was too soon – she did say like few minutes before she saved a plane, that even though she had super powers, she knew she had to stay normal. Then what happened to that? Five minutes and then bam! She changed her mind like that.

The revelation of Alex working as an agent to track down aliens should also come later, in my opinion. It was just so sudden and quick that I could barely feel any betrayal or sadness, or anything, really.

Again, I would much prefer Kara going through struggles after saving the airplane, figuring out herself, perhaps getting that blanket from James, and then deciding that, “Hey, I am going to save the world.”

Then, they could move onto episode 2.

It would have built up stronger emotional connection between the audience and the characters. I would have felt the pain, the anger, the confusion, and it would feel real.

Instead of that, I got a slam of, “Let’s go through the plot! A, B, C, D, E, did we go over all of them already? Yes? Good. Now we end the pilot.” Which, even though I can’t say I didn’t enjoy, is not enough.

There is one thing that I know works from TV shows that revolve around superheroes: Audience needs to feel for the hero/ine. In Arrow, we all feel Oliver’s struggles. The writers have done a wonderful job in the character development and Amell is one heck of an actor. In Flash, we get to see so much of Barry’s life that we understand what he goes through and we cry when he cries.

I don’t think it’s the case for Supergirl – not just yet.

And I am not going to give up on this show, because I love having a girl save the world. So I will give this show few more episodes (It will premiere in October) and see if I will continue watching it or not. If anything, I might just watch it for the sake of analyzing it… And for a random TV show marathon kind of night.

Oh, and for those who have seen this pilot – am I the only one who thinks she dresses like Felicity Smoak?

If you haven’t seen it, here’s the trailer:

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