Spin-Off Out Of This World

Name: Supergirl
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Year: 2015 – 2019
Season: 1-5

Supergirl flew onto our television screens back in 2015 with her badass super abilities and her dorky charm. Following the success of past superhero television series, Flash and Arrow, Supergirl joins the Arrow-verse with charm and enthusiasm.

If you know the storyline of Superman, Supergirl has the same set-up. A young Kryptonian is sent to Earth, adopted by human parents and growing up to become a hard hitting journalist. The main difference we see is that Supergirl is a lot lighter and less serious, compared to Zach Snuder’s Man of Steel.

Kara Danvers played by Melissa Benoist delivers Supergirl with such passion, showing Superman’s younger cousin taking the limelight. A hidden feminist message was planted early on in season one, when no one expected anything of Kara and her powers because of Superman being on the scene. But when a plane is about to fall from the sky with her sister on it, she can’t help but to hit the skies and show the world what she is made of. Ultimately, Supergirl shows that women are as strong as men and shouldn’t be seen as anything less than equal.

The good thing about Supergirl is that it doesn’t waste time on explaining her origin story, wrapping it up within the first hour. We do come across the struggle of balance between her life as Kara and her life as Supergirl. Supergirl follow the classic rule of keeping her identity secret, but the lack of life for that identity becomes a worry for Kara.

Secret identities have always been used within the superhero genre of movies and television programs. The risk of more people knowing could put them in danger. But as Supergirl comes across as genuinely a nice person, she feels bad for keeping it secret from her close friends and family. This is powerfully shown throughout all the season so far.

So different, as soon as Kara decides it’s time to embrace her superhero side, she excitingly tells a friend that helps choose and make her costume. By the end of the episode, it is known by Supergirl’s circle of friends, keeping her secret, with the obvious exception to Kara’s boss. Doing so leaves us with the best of two worlds; Kara not wasting time with the angsting and obvious lies to keep her secret a secret, and the best part of her concentrating on kicking ass. It’s really awesome to watch her excitement when she sees herself saving the day on the news. 

Supergirl got a lot of negative reactions to its original trailer with people calling it a superhero chick flick. As it centres around a dorky female character with some romcom scenes, this was a problem in people’s eyes. But if you look at the superhero genre a little wider, these themes show up in The Flash and Spider-Man, and most superhero movies. The only difference we see if that the superhero is a female protagonist. 

Season 2 finds Supergirl, teaming up with her cousin Superman (Tyler Hoechlin). Relationships shifts from romance to friendship between Kara and James. We also discover more about the mystery alien from the pod that fell in Season 1. In the third season Kara is struggling with her emotions of loss, stripping her human life and only living through her supergirl alter ego. Season four delivers an eye opening storyline of aliens living in National City being exposed, struggling to live without being hunted. Season five is the ultimate friendship challenge for Kara, sharing her secret with a Luther, will she regret sharing her secret? Will a Luther be able to be a good friend to Supergirl?

But throughout the seasons Supergirl recruits a team of trusty protectors to help her protect National City, which include:

  • James Olsen aka Guardian (Mehcad Brooks)
  • Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh)
  • Clark Kent aka Superman (Tyler Hoechlin)
  • Winslow Schott Jr (Jeremy Jordan)
  • J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter (David Harewood)
  • Mon-El (Chris Wood)
  • Brainy (Jesse Rath)
  • Nia Nal aka Dreamer (Nicole Maines)

With more and more female superhero adaptations being released I hope this criticism will soon die out. The superhero genre is really getting into a full swing of diversity, delivering lighter series with Supergirl and The Flash then more serious darker series with Arrow and Gotham. I look forward to see how Supergirl helps with Crisis on infinite earths.

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