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SEASON PREMIERE REVIEW: Supergirl 1×01 “Pilot”

After a long wait, it’s here. We finally got to see the anticipated Supergirl pilot. There’s no doubt that this is going to be one of the hottest shows to hit television this upcoming season. After all, how many female-led superhero shows/films do we have at the moment? Exactly. That being said, it’s still important to judge the show on its own merit rather than to give it a default pass because it’s something new. After checking out the pilot, I have to say that Supergirl is pretty damn good. (minor spoilers ahead! Also, since the show is not scheduled to air on television for a while, certain elements are subject to change)

Although this show isn’t going to air on the same network as The Flash and Arrow, you can still tell that Supergirl definitely has the same style and attitude, thanks to showrunner Greg Berlanti. Even when I watched the trailer, I felt a very similar vibe going on as The Flash, and upon watching the pilot, the feeling only got stronger. I can’t blame Berlanti for following the same formula. The first season of The Flash was amazing, and as I always say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I’m happy the pilot didn’t turn into one long, drawn-out origin story. We dive right into the action within 15 minutes of the show’s launch. If you’re unfamiliar with Supergirl’s origin, you’ll get a nice crash course in those first couple of minutes. In short: Kara Zor-el is Superman’s cousin. When Supes was sent to Earth to escape the exploding Krypton, Kara was sent with him to protect him. Unfortunately, her escape pod gets trapped in an alternate dimension called the Phantom Zone. 24 years later, Kara arrives on Earth and is raised like a normal human girl. However, during that span of time that she was in the Zone, her cousin had established himself as a superhero and was fighting crime over in Metropolis. Therefore, Kara figures that she wouldn’t need to look after him and grows up living as normal a life as possible.

For starters, I’m satisfied that they actually said Superman’s name. When I saw the trailer, I was annoyed at how they kept dancing around it, only referring to him as Kara’s cousin. I thought they would keep up this gimmick the entire season just to be cute and funny. Arrow kinda did the same thing with avoiding the title of the Green Arrow. In those first couple of minutes of Supergirl, though, she actually calls him Superman! What a breath of fresh air! It may not seem like a big deal, but it was satisfying to me.

I think Melissa Benoist does the part justice. She’s confident, quirky, and brave. She almost reminds me of Arrow‘s Season 1 Felicity Smoak. I’m just praying she doesn’t go down the same road as that character. For now, she’s doing a decent job filling in the role of a superhero who is just learning how to be an actual hero. The thing I like about Kara is that she appears to be much more in-tune with her powers and lacks most of the self-doubt. One of my gripes about the beginning of The Flash was how Barry kept doubting himself so much. I can understand it for a few episodes, but it gets tiresome. Kara doesn’t mess around. She’s like “Yo – I think I’m bulletproof. How do I test it? I’m gonna go walk directly toward a guy shooting a gun at me.”

Like. A. Boss.

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I won’t give away the main conflict of the show, but we essentially got a dose of Supergirl’s rogues gallery in this first episode. It looks like we’ve got plenty of villains to keep us satisfied for an entire season. I was slightly surprised when I saw that the first super-villain she faced off against was the Lumberjack (edit: it looks like he was changed to Vartox in the actual premiere), and it was great seeing someone who actually presented a challenge for the Woman of Steel. The climactic confrontation between the two was slightly predictable, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

This stirred up an interesting question: will Supergirl be pitted against many of Superman’s villains, much like how the Arrow is fighting most of Batman’s villains? I wouldn’t be surprised if we discover that Lex Luthor will be the big bad for Season 2 (we already met the first season’s main villain, but I’m not telling!).

An issue I had with the show is how Kara overshadowed almost everyone else. We’ve got her “sister” Alex, who seems to know a bit more about Kara than she’s willing to admit, Rick, who becomes the costume designer/IT tech guru for Supergirl, and Jimmy Olsen, a potential love interest for Kara who has actually met the Man of Steel himself during his stint as a photographer for the Daily Planet. It is the pilot, so I won’t be too harsh on the lack of development for these other characters. After all, this is Supergirl’s show, meaning she has to be front and center. I think that Berlanti is great with developing his characters, and by the next episode or two, we might get to see each of these people shine.

Supergirl has a lot of potential. It has fast-paced story-telling, good special effects, a decent cast, and a great premise to build upon; not to mention the fact that it’s about damn time we get a female superhero show/movie to enjoy. Let’s hope it follows the trends of Berlanti’s other shows and only gets better from here on out.

Final Grade: A –

+ Lots of fast-paced action and great special effects.

+ Melissa Benoist is perfect for the role of Kara.

+ The show has the same look and feel as The Flash, which is always a plus.

– It was hard to appreciate the other characters when they were overshadowed by Benoist.

– The ending fight was predictable, but still awesome.

Extra Thoughts:

– How are people not able to recognize Supergirl? I’m sure someone must’ve gotten a good look at her while she was flying around. Do her glasses and bunned-up hair somehow disguise her identity in civilian form? 

Are you excited for Supergirl to finally come to television? Did you catch a peek at the pilot as well? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!