ByLd Kristoffer J Chelidoni, writer at
Ld Kristoffer J Chelidoni

I recently had the chance to view the pilot for the new Supergirl CBS series. The sad thing is, it was terrible. Now all pilots have issues, but this one was slow in some areas and way too fast in others.

From here on in SPOILER ALERT!! If you don't want this pilot spoiled don't read past this point.

We open with a scene where we learn of a thirteen year old Kara being sent off after he younger cousin to protect him, only to be shunted into the phantom zone by the shockwave from Krypton exploding. Many years later from our perspective she finally arrives on Earth somehow escaping the phantom zone. She meets Clark (whom we don't see) and is brought to the Danvers to be raised. (The Dean Cane cameo was certainly worth it.) (Edit: corrected the name of the family, they're Kent-surrogates if you will).

But this prelude is hardily skipped over in a handful of minutes to an adult Kara living the mild mannered life as, of all things, the assistant to the editor and chief of a publication company, Cat Grant (played by Calista Flockhart)(I can't help but feel that this character is a throw back to Mr. Grant from the Mary Tyler Moore Show).

The show takes a turn when Kara, played by Melissa Benoist, starts complaining that her life is too ordinary. She wants to be like Superman. Just a few scenes later we learn that Cat Grant is cutting the budget of the Tribune (Kara's Daily Planet) where she expounds upon the need for a hero if the Tribune is to survive.

The whole setup is mediocre at best, but it leads to the big first scenes where Kara, to save her roommate/sister (and potential lover~coming out of the closet happens later, just not as a lesbian) she must save a passenger jet that is rigged to crash by some Phantom Zone renegades. Sure enough she saves the day, becomes the splash hit hero and gains the attention of the media.

We then get slapped in the face with the fact that her step-sister is really working for a secret-government agency created to track the Phantom-Zoners who escaped the prison that was held there a the same time that Kara did. Of course this happens in the least fashionable way, since the organization decided to stop Kara from putting out a fire and pumped her full of Kryptonite drugs a la tranq darts.

Further battles ensue with Kara getting her ass handed to her only for her to rely upon the help of this government agency and her sister to stop the villain who setup the plane to crash.

Upon her victory she's confronted by Jimmy Olson who knows that she's superman's cousin and given a cape that is made from the Kryptonian material that his suit is made from.

At some point during the middle of the episode Kara reveals herself to a coworker, haphazardly and in broad daylight. She literally drops off the side of the building and flies back up, in view of anyone with binoculars or who was working in the building at that moment.

So what did they do right? Well Kara is certainly not skilled as a fighter and needs to be trained and this shows in the first episode. But unlike in both the comic universe and previous animated iterations, she is seemingly being trained by her sister and the government agency in this universe. In the past Kara versions she's always been trained by either the Justice League (as a Young Justice) or by Superman himself.

What they got wrong, on the other hand, was pretty much everything else. The episode was too fast paced, it does a pretty bad job of introducing the character, and there just wasn't the right sort of character development expected of a pilot like this.

What I'd have done differently: I'd have had Kara fail at saving the plane, maybe not being able to fly, following the remark from early in the episode "I don't know if I can fly, I used to, but it's been so long". By limiting her powers like they did in Smallville, it'd give her something to work towards. By failing at saving the plane she'd realize that saving people is far more than just her using her powers and not something to be giddy over (which she certainly does do when the news reports are all over how she saved the plane). Having her save her sister after the plane crashes and maybe saving other people both on the bridge and on the plane would make her think through how to save people and why she's doing it.

While I understand why they did what they did in the show, it doesn't help the show. It is too fast to introduce Supergirl, too fast to reveal Kara as Supergirl, and doesn't present her with appropriate challenge while she attempts to follow in the footsteps of Kal/Superman.

So while the pilot, in my opinion, is utter crap, the show in and unto itself has potential. But if it continues on the path it is on, which is going to be a poor man's copy of Smallville with too much emphasis on monster/bad guy of the week, the show will be short lived.

Update: The recent premiere of Supergirl seemed to come with a bang and a pop with nearly 12.9 million viewers tuning in. I was, admittedly one of those to tune in, hoping that some changes had been made to the rather regrettable pilot. Sadly, none were.

I'll stick by what I said in my initial review. This pilot was sloppy, and while the show has potential, I very much doubt that it will last very long.


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