Martin Carr reviews the first episode of Supergirl…
There are those who will consider this a bad idea. Not Supergirl. That remains a good idea poorly executed. Anyone who sat through the Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway travesty will understand where I am coming from. No, what I am talking about is having a man review it.
This is a female super hero and so traditionally you would have thought a woman should write the reviews. My feelings however differ somewhat. My opinion is that gender need not apply to writing. If you invest in the programme emotionally, are able to view things objectively and can write a sentence why does it matter?
Fact is Supergirl in this spin-off stroke pilot gets by on charisma in buckets from its lead Melissa Benoist. Familiar to the sharp-eyed amongst you as love interest to Miles Teller in Whiplash, Benoist carries this fantastical premise on slender shoulders. Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant serves her well as an over demanding boss, news hungry and suitably self-absorbed. What this pilot does suffer from is an excess of plot.
There is so much crammed into the running time that things whip by at a rate of knots. Origin, arrival, job and personality quirks are all established in under fifteen minutes. A trick done with such efficiency that you will literally blink and miss it if you’re not careful. Helen Slater and Dean Cain turn up in cameos as her parents, while adopted sister Alex is swiftly revealed to be more than the sum of her parts.
Follow this with a lightning quick enlistment into the ranks of an organisation who resemble S.H.I.E.L.D. and the show is complete. Not only is Kara ticking the saving sister in peril box in under thirty minutes, but they manage to make it feel natural. Nothing about Supergirl is less than contrived but this fails to matter. This thing is polished so much it blinds you. Benoist, Flockhart and new millennium Jimmy Olsen played by Mehcad Brooks steal it. Chyler Leigh does a good job as Kara’s sister Alex while the villain beats on our girl to bone crunching effect. But is no match for her once the team have figured his weakness.
Supergirl is copy book stuff done well. With the introduction of an agency fighting unseen alien forces, we have a nice endless supply of foes for Kara to thwart. Everything is in place, from charismatic lead and solid supporting cast. Meaning that barring bad ratings Supergirl has the capacity to run for as long as it likes. Effects are at a decent standard, some thought has gone into plot, while tips of the hat are there for those who remember 1984. Not bad for openers in my opinion.