Why The SUPERGIRL (2015) Trailer Has Me Cautiously Excited
Seems like it sneaked up on us, but yesterday we got the official trailer for CBS’s upcoming fall show, ‘Supergirl’. More than a Trailer, the first look features a 6 minute long introduction into the character, her world and the tone of the show. While there’s a lot to take in–good, bad and concerning–the trailer does manage to excite and open up new doors for where the superhero genre may go on television, while raising some questions, concerns and doubts about how successfully they will be able to pull the whole thing off. Take a look at the Trailer below, and read on for why I’m cautiously excited about ‘Supergirl’.
The entire trailer reeks of formualic television aimed at women. The undecipherable various pop music playing literally during the entire trailer is tacky. The expected gags, punchlines and set up for obviously jokes that don’t land all that well don’t do the best job of highlighting the dialogue and character’s interaction within the show. The fact that everybody seems to know her secret identity, the cliche’d characters in the same dynamics seen over and over again. There’s a lot more that can be nitpicked and dissected to point out what a bad show this may end up to be, but like the show itself, I’m going to remain optimistic and focus on the positives. Well… almost.
Not an Origin Story
While this does look to be Supergirl’s first foray into becoming an actual superhero, secret identity and well, there’s not a lot of the self esteem issues and identity crisis stuff that’s usually associated with an alien on earth adjusting to their powers *coughSuperman*cough* that one would expect from a show like this. Especially when you take into account how much whining Clark does in almost ever iteration about ‘never fitting in’ or ‘being accepted’, in comparison, the character of Kara, played by Melissa Benoist, seems pretty well adjusted.
This should be a refreshing take on a superhero, as the character also seems to have been old enough to already know her origins, her history, parents, etc, to bypass the whole self discovery journey that we’ve seen all too often. I’m sure this streamlining will be replaced by a different kind of melodrama, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
Melissa Benoist Is Super Eager
While the first look of the costume didn’t inspire confidence in the actresses’ abilities to be anything close to being ‘super’, the lead actress looks to fit the role perfectly. Her earnest and eager vibe, presumably as a young inexperienced actress herself, really works well in imbibing the character with the same attributes, as she slowly becomes a hero. Seeing her in the suit in context to the setting and tone of the show doesn’t look nearly as cheesy or corny as the first look made it seem to be. Benoist also seems to be just as excited in the role, learning to be Supergirl, as we all are to see her do it.
Why Is Supergirl Needed?
What’s glaringly obvious from this introduction, is that the show will not shy away from references to Superman, his origin, and the lead characters’ relationship to one of the most famous superheroes ever, and it does raise some questions. With such obvious acknowledgement of the Man Of Steel, what will necessitate this character to become a hero, without drawing the paralells to her cousin? We’ve already heard lines in the show of ‘the world needs you’ and such, but does it really? Especially if the world already has a Superman? Why does another city in the same country as Superman, need another hero, with the same powers, origin and almost the same name? This is something the show needs to address quickly so it can move on without being over burdened by a Superman connection, before it becomes a problem.
The Superman Problem
The 6 minute trailer features a good chunk of Supergirl’s story by relating it to the pre-existing knowledge about Superman himself. The introduction of the character of Jimmy Olson, a Superman ally being privy to her secret identity it seems, whilst she’s receiving gifts from and getting messages from him, makes me worried about how heavily the show will lean on it’s Superman connection. While in the beginning this may make the show interesting for casual fans tuning in to get easter eggs and references to Superman, that will become a crutch fairly quickly, preventing the show from putting down its own roots on the basis of concepts and story arcs introduced within the show, for this show.
Yet Another Secret Organization
Where the Trailer gets a little weird is with the introduction of an secret organization that ‘protects Earth from Extraterrestrial presence’. While this seems to be a place where Supergirl (and her civilian sister) can apparently walk in and out of freely, as well as them knowing her secret identity (evident by the ‘get coffee’ quip, something Kara does in her day job) the existence of this group seems dubiously questionable. Firstly, why aren’t these deadly villains not being stopped by Superman in this same world? 2ndly, it seems like a strange coincidence that this organization has been dealing with Alien presences, while not seeming to care about Supergirl’s own alien origins, or even wanting to utilize her skills to their advantage. It’s a little off. Unless of course this group and Supergirl share a pre-existing relationship based on them finding her Pod when she landed on Earth, allowing her some lee-way and a sort of surrogate parent type relationship between the leader of this organization, played by David Harewood.
Don’t Mess It Up
There’s also the strong, hoping against hope, that the show doesn’t feature the main lead as a woman unequipped to handle her new life, and that her depiction may actually be something worth enough for young girls to look up to. Being the first ever female Superhero live action show to exist, ‘Supergirl’ can be for mainstream commercial television audiences what ‘Buffy‘ was for fan girls decades ago. While some degree of teenage style emotional melodrama is expected, here’s hoping that Benoist’s wide eyed eager attitude doesn’t translate into being obliviously inept character.
The… Golly, Gee, Gosh Of It All
Despite some glaring issues and concerns about how this show will perform, including but not limited to the entire premise itself, the look, feel and tone of the show is something that can’t help but invoke excitement upon watching. Sure it seems very chick flick, but the wide eyed exhilaration felt by Melissa Benoist as she takes flight, is something that the audiences have been wanting for a while. The dark dreariness of the DC Movie Universe is one constant complaint, and while ‘The Flash’ manages to take some of it away, that show still features a hero motivated by a tragedy. ‘Supergirl’ however, goes back to the roots and wonderment of superhero origin stories, where the hero isn’t reluctantly forced into an avatar of righteous-ness for the world, but one where the hero chooses to use what they have for the benefit of others out of sense of moral duty of doing so.
Here’s hoping that ‘Supergirl’ succeeds in providing a fresh and unique female super hero show that gives audiences something new, while staying within it’s formulaic framework, if not breaking out of it entirely as the show progresses. Here’s also hoping that CBS allows it the room to grow from it’s on-paper-concept after the almost inevitable stumbling the show will do to find its voice in the initial few episodes.