7 reasons you should be watching Supergirl
Ivan Radford | On 23, Oct 2016
Supergirl Season 2 flies onto UK TV on Monday 24th October and, while the show is still in its early days, it’s fast become one of the most entertaining super-series around. The programme’s second run airs on Sky 1 every Monday, starting tomorrow, at 8pm. Don’t have Sky? You can stream it live and on-demand through VOD service NOW, which gives you online access to Sky Atlantic (The Young Pope), Sky 1 (Arrow, The Flash, Yonderland) and FOX (The Walking Dead), for £6.99 a month, without a contract. The whole box set of Season 1 is also available. (You can catch up with our review of Season 1 here.)
With all the technicalities out of the way, here are seven reasons you should be watching Supergirl:
1. It stars a female superhero
“Can you believe that?” cries a waitress halfway through the opening episode of Supergirl. “A female hero. Someone for my daughter to look up to.” It’s hardly understated, but Supergirl’s USP can’t really be overstated: she joins Jessica Jones as the first female hero in the modern age of comic book films and TV. And she doesn’t just fly the flag for the cause: she wears it as a cape while saving an airplane. Not bad going for a mild-mannered 24-year-old employee at a newspaper.
The hero in question? Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist), who is sent to Earth hot on the heels of her younger cousin, Kal-El (Superman), to protect him. But after a bit of timey-wimey space stuff (involving “The Phantom Zone” and a jail full of mean alien prisoners – hello to the show’s monster-of-the-week premise), she arrives on the planet years later. He’s already become Superman, so she has to find her own path. Kara’s surrounded by other equally super women, from her adoptive sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) to her smart, ruthless boss, Cat (Calista Flockhart). Even her aunt, Astra, is the villain – this is a show full of fantastic female role models (well, maybe not the aunt), placing its female bonds before male romance and constantly underlining its message of support and empowerment.
2. It’s happy
If that all sounds a bit cotton candy, that’s because it is: Supergirl is the superhero world painted in bright, primary colours. But if you’re tired of DC’s dark, stormy films, Greg Berlanti’s upbeat series is the perfect antidote, especially if you’re watching this with a young niece, daughter or sister. After all, they can hardly watch Jessica Jones.
3. Melissa Benoist is marvellous
“I didn’t travel 2,000 light years to be an assistant.” That’s the kind of dialogue you can expect from Supergirl, which constantly treads the line between cheerful and cheesy. It often steps into cheesy territory, but the show has a secret weapon to make it work: Melissa Benoist. The actor, who impressed so much in Whiplash, is effortlessly charming, selling both Kara’s own internal conflicts – finding herself, expressing her anger and distinguishing between justice and revenge – and her external enthusiasm. Punching, swooping, flying with a massive smile, it’s impossible to get tired of watching her.
4. It crosses over with The CW’s other shows
If you’re a fan of Arrow and The Flash, then Supergirl is an instant must-watch, as the show increasingly crosses over with the other Berlanti and The CW productions. The network has even acquired the show from its original home of NBC to make sure that they’re all together in the same place.
5. It has its own style
If Marvel’s movies are a bit laboured in their interlinking mythology, DC’s TV series manage to connect with each other without stopping them from doing their own thing. The fight sequences are impressively distinct to Arrow or The Flash, as Supergirl’s brains and flying skills inform the action choreography. As with his work on Arrow, meanwhile, Berlanti knows that a show can’t hinge on one person alone, and so we take time to get to know each supporting person in turn. That includes Hank Henshaw, head of a government organisation to defend Earth from aliens, who gets his own cool back-story, plus likeable geeky sidekick Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and Jimmy Olson (Mehcad Brooks).
Supergirl also plays light with her relationship with Superman, which takes a while to find the right tone, but once it sticks, it makes sense for the series to wait before introducing her cousin proper in Season 2.
6. It’s made for comic book fans
In case the impending arrival of Superman in the second season didn’t give you a clue, this is still a show for comic book fans. Despite the light-hearted mood aimed at a younger audience, over the course of Season 1, Supergirl tackles all the traditional set-ups you could want from a hero, from a mortal-for-a-day episode, which sees her encourage humans to be heroes in their own right (“Last night, I helped a family assemble an IKEA table!”), to a confrontation with an evil twin. Dream worlds and further parallels with Superman’s universe (watch out for Lois Lane’s sister, Lucy Lane) abound, and Benoist even gets a chance to shine by playing against type after encountering some “red” kryptonite that brings out her dark side.
7. Did we mention it’s about a female superhero?
It bears repeating. Supergirl is a significant landmark in the comic book genre. The show knows it – but that doesn’t mean it can’t have fun. The result is uplifting, inspiring, and highly entertaining. Get on it.
Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc