It’s probably hard for y’all to believe, but I’m picky about the shows I watch. I don’t get into the Shondaland dramas or anything too dark and depressing. I binge-watched Jessica Jones when it came out since I liked Daredevil, but by the time I got to the end of the series, it left a really bad taste in my mouth.
As much as I liked aspects of Jessica Jones, I hated that what motivated the heroine wasn’t a desire to atone for her past or to try and reform the city, but just as a way of “getting by.” She’s fighting to survive, but there’s no real hope in the overall tone of the show.
In contrast, there’s Supergirl. I’ll be the first to say that the show is cheesy. The dialogue can be laughably bad at times and some episodes felt a bit too simplistic. But by the end of each episode, I am left with a beautiful feeling. That feeling is called hope. The show is very idealistic in contrast to the majority of the shows and movies that take place in the DC Universe, but the idealism is a breath of fresh air considering how cynical and dark the most popular shows on TV are nowadays.
While the plots and dialogue can be hit and miss at times, what keeps me going back to the show are the characters, so I’ll go into each of them starting with the major recurring antagonist Maxwell Lord, played by Peter Facinelli.
I love to hate this guy. He’s basically like Lex Luthor or Iron Man gone wrong. He is very skeptical about Supergirl and wants to tarnish her reputation. He’s driven on the desire of autonomy, to never rely on superheroes to save the day. He has a tragic backstory, but while he wants to make the world a better place, he wants to do so on his terms. In another show, he would’ve been a great tragic protagonist. But in this show, he’s a worthy adversary of Supergirl because he’s human and can affect how the world sees her through his influence.
The alien/metahuman villains are usually just around for one episode, with General Astra being the exception.
General Astra (played by Laura Benanti) is the main alien antagonist. She was Kara’s aunt, her mother’s evil twin sister. She’s driven to rule the world through fear and intimidation. Again, in another show, Astra’s motivations would be seen in a more sympathetic light, willing to do whatever it takes. The best way to describe Astra up to this point is “the ends justify the means.”
But the character I hate the most is actually another human antagonist, General Sam Lane, played by Glenn Morshower.
As much as I support the troops in real life, General Lane represents the dark and gritty view of heroism that’s in a lot of the DC Universe movies. Like Astra, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to carry out his plans and doesn’t give Supergirl any compassion or consideration. The worst thing about him is that he’s supposed to be a good guy, but his methods and motivations aren’t exactly as clear.
These three antagonists stand in stark contrast to someone who is quickly becoming my favorite character on the show: Cat Grant, played by Calista Flockhart.
Cat started out as a one-note mean boss. I’ll admit that her stances on feminism can be heavy handed at times and she’s very self-centered, so she’s not all good. But at the same time, I love that she acts as an indirect mentor to Kara/Supergirl. In the most recent episode, Kara basically admits that working at CatCo is one thing that keeps her grounded in life, even if that job involves being at Cat’s beck and call. Cat was smart enough to figure out that Kara is Supergirl, but Kara found a way to trick her boss in order to keep her job. I refuse to believe that Cat bought into Kara’s “double act,” though. She’s way too smart for that, in spite of her idiotic incident with the elevator in “Livewire.” Instead, I choose to believe that she’s letting Kara have her secret identity and playing along with Kara’s game.
There’s also another mentor figure that I’ve grown to like: Hank Henshaw, played by David Harewood.
Initially, I was kind of cold towards Hank. I understood his skepticism towards aliens and his reluctance towards Supergirls’ acts of heroism given her inexperience, but he reminded me of a gym teacher or a drill sergeant at times, willing to break the hero. It turns out, though, that he is a good person underneath his hard exterior.
Alex Danvers (played by Chyler Leigh), Kara’s sister, is also a wonderful part of the supporting cast.
Alex is another realistically portrayed female. Her jealousy towards Kara is very understandable, but it never gets to the point where she outright hates her sister. She wants to protect her sister and at the same time figure out how she can be her own person. She can hold her own in a fight and she helps Kara out with balancing life as a superhero and as a normal girl.
But Alex isn’t the only one who helps keep Kara grounded.
I have a love-hate relationship with Winn. On the one hand, he’s adorable, played by Broadway veteran Jeremy Jordan, and he contributes a lot to the story as a hacker and the voice of reason, especially in the most recent episode. Unfortunately, like Xander from Buffy, he has a major crush on Kara and sometimes acts out on his jealousy. I understand having unrequited feelings but as I’ve been learning, you aren’t entitled to a person’s love just because you want them. And given that Jeremy Jordan has played the whiny, inconsistent Jimmy on Smash and the well-meaning but tragic Jaime in The Last Five Years, I have my doubts about him.
On the other hand, James Olsen (played by Mehcad Brooks) is proving to be a great character. As someone who grew up watching Smallville, I love this new version of Jimmy Olsen, a photographer who outgrew his initial dorkiness. Kara has the hugest crush on him and I don’t blame her! He’s a sweet guy and he wants to go out of his way to help Kara as she learns how to become her own hero.
It just sucks that he’s still a dork when it comes to love. Oblivious doesn’t even begin to describe it!
Which leads me to the only character on this show that I just want to either go away or die.
I don’t like Lucy Lane (played by Jenna Dewan-Tatum). At all. Granted, part of my hate for her is due to shipping reasons. I hate the high school level drama that is the romantic rivalry that Lucy has with Kara. Lucy has inherited her father’s skepticism and while she gains respect for Supergirl and treats Kara kindly, she hasn’t learned the rule about exes: you guys broke up for a reason! Again, I can’t give a fair aspect of her because I hate that she’s getting in the way of Jimmy and Kara, but she needs to contribute more to the show other than being a romantic rival and a lawyer.
And last but not least, we have the star of the show, Kara Danvers/Supergirl played by Melissa Benoist.
Kara is my favorite character on the show aside from Cat Grant. I am always on her side, even during her dorky moments. She may not always get the best storylines and her dialogue can be cheesy as heck, but I relate to her trying to become her own person amidst the scrutiny of every eye on her. I love that she follows her cousin’s example and that even when she gets pushed to her limit, she finds a way to get out of her situation without resorting to giving into her anger. What I like best though is that she still has lessons to learn even after she establishes herself as a superhero. She’s still learning, even with all the superpowers she has. I relate to that aspect of her more than anything else.
I do hope that the writing for this show can get better. It’s already making great progress so far. I highly recommend this show, especially to families. It’s lighthearted enough for the whole family to enjoy. My dad has a great time pointing out the little shoutouts to other superheroes in the show, specifically Mr. and Mrs. Danvers who are played by Dean Cain (from Lois and Clark) and Helen Slater, who played Supergirl in the 1984 movie.
BTW: This show needs to cross over with The Flash. It would be absolutely perfect!