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First Thoughts: 'Supergirl'

We weigh in on CBS' extended trailer.

Story by Matt Cummings

Ever since we first reported that CBS was developing a Supergirl series for their Fall lineup, our opinion (and that of most of the Internet) has been the same word - uneasiness. The idea wasn't bad and CBS' logic (at the time) seemed sound: bring the next baddest good guy they could find to the screen that wasn't named Superman. But in looking at the extended trailer below - which we announced yesterday - our concerns have moved far beyond uneasiness. See it for yourself, and see if your thoughts align with our own:

From the beginning, it's clear that Producer Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Flash) is trying to capture the magic of Flash's memorable first season into a bottle he can replicate with any DC hero he desires. But the result looks cheap, melodramatic, and seems to return to many themes already echoed in other DC movies and television episodes. This isn't even the second time we've seen a Kryptonian save a jet from destruction (Superman Returns, final episode of Smallville), and to see it played out here doesn't give any weight to Kara's struggles to identify herself.

If you've read enough DC comics (I recommend the 13 TPB's of Batman/Superman), you know that Kara isn't working a regular job, fetching coffee for a still-gorgeous Calista Flockhart: she lives with Kal-El/Superman in the Fortress of Solitude while she learns how to use her powers. The fact that Superman is not a part of this series in the role of mentor/teacher (although he will cameo) and that Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) has to relate words of sympathy and gifts from Superman feels cheap.

We've already lamented about Supergirl's frumpy appearance and costume, and yet here we are with no discernible improvement since the full-length shots of Benoist went viral. Made to look like Superman's chainmail look in Man of Steel, CBS has not done enough to give Kara a uniform worthy of the character's powers. Moreover, Berlanti is trying to bring the quirky elements of The Flash to this series, mixing the techniness of Arrow's Felicity Smoke into Benoist's smaller frame.

The one thing we do like are the special effects, most of which look nearly cinematic in quality. While short, Kara's flying sequences look good, as does the airplane and explosion of the semi truck. It's amazing what modern CGI can do on television when used correctly. But at its heart, Supergirl seems nothing more than a cash grab for CBS, who's clearly desperate to get something - anything - on air and deal with the consequences later. And the news just gets better: it's been picked up not only for a pilot, but for an entire season. Comic book nerds will no doubt have a field day with this one.

For Supergirl to retain any hope of a second season, Berlanti and team need to focus on great character development - not cheesy CW tripe that plagues so many of their shows - and mix bold storytelling that takes chances. The Flash has been so successful in its freshmen run, due entirely to this formula, and don't get me started on what just happened with Arrow. Regardless, we won't have long to wait, as Supergirl arrives on CBS this November on Mondays at 8pm.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.


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