Yesterday, CBS released an extended first look at their much-anticipated new series Supergirl. If you haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, take a gander below and then check out what ShowVote’s Head Editor Shawn Eastridge and its co-founder Shea Weekley thought about the preview.
Shea Weekley (SW): Ok, CBS has just released a 6 minute trailer (or episode) of the upcoming show “Supergirl.” Obviously this is meant as a way to build excitement and anticipation for the upcoming release in November, but those are not the emotions that I experienced while watching that clip/trailer/recap/spoiler/1st episode. Before I spill all my marbles what exactly was going through your mind while watching this introduction?
Shawn Eastridge (SE): My immediate reaction was “Well…looks like I don’t have to watch the pilot.” Seriously, the whole ‘trailer’ is a 6-minute summary of the entire first episode. I have no idea why CBS would release this to the public as a ‘preview.’ Why would anyone actually watch the episode now that we know exactly how it plays out?
Honestly, I’m a big fan of what Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg have done with The Flash and seeing their names pop up as the Executive Producers gives me hope. That being said, everything in the Supergirl trailer felt painfully familiar with the whole tired premise of the cute country girl who can barely keep up in the big city and wants to find herself…with superpowers thrown in for good measure. Not a single element seemed inspired and even Melissa Benoist, who I loved in Whiplash, seems totally lost.
Also, why does every Superman-related film/cartoon need to have the first big rescue be some sort of plane crash? Look at Superman the Movie, Superman Returns, the Superman animated series. Superman makes his first appearance in each one of those by saving some sort of flying contraption. At least Supergirl is keeping that tradition alive.
SW: You know, I hate to form such hard opinions, but 6 minutes is a lot of footage to watch for a ‘preview’ and it gave me a lot of time to keep thinking, “Why does this feel like a Hallmark movie with a bulletproof girl as the lead”? It looks and feels like all of CBS’s single camera endeavors. I halfway expected Mark Harmon to show up as Agent Gibbs and look sternly at each person for a few minutes.
I don’t have a good feeling about the series from this preview. And I keep wanting to tell myself not to form a judgement off a preview but again, 6 MINUTES! That’s 1/3 of an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” It’s hard not to form an opinion when there is that much footage and they included an ENTIRE character arc. The thing had a complete 1st, 2nd AND 3rd act! If they release 2 more teasers like that I won’t need to start watching the show ’til it hits midseason.
SE: Yeah, I totally get what you mean. This whole thing also begs the question: Why does this series need to exist? Girl power is fine and all, but this preview really HAMMERS the notion into your brain until your ears start bleeding. “It’s Not a Bird. It’s Not a Plane. It’s Not a MAN!” The only reason Supergirl exists at all is as a female counterpart to Superman. She literally has no other reason to be. There’s not much solid material to work with, as opposed to the Flash or Green Arrow. Those are characters that stand on their own; they have rich histories, villains, and storylines. Supergirl has always struck me as not having much reason to exist outside of attracting a female demographic.
And what about all those constant references to Kara’s ‘cousin?’ It kind of drove me insane. It’s just a regular reminder that Superman is out there somewhere, but due to contractural obligations, we’re not allowed to talk about him beyond vague descriptors or actually see/interact with him in this show. It’s bad enough that the show has little reason to exist, it just makes it worse that they keep reminding us it has no reason to exist by pointing out the character we all WISH we were watching.
SW: I’m all for female characters, I was really hoping that both “Wonder Woman” and “Supergirl” got a real shot. And maybe we are both wrong, but it just seems like a very strange tonal direction they are taking with this property. If it has any charisma at all it’ll be thanks to Benoist in the titular role. I could see it gaining some spunk and gumption from her performance and as you mentioned before it has the veteran navigators from “Flash” onboard but on the other hand it also has more oversight from a bigger network like CBS (who somehow manage to make all their programming blur into one giant amorphous laugh track) and LESS overall artistic direction from a studio like DC who can’t figure out what they want to do with their character franchises.
SE: Right. And while Marvel has been able to coordinate a strong, consistent creative effort across multiple platforms, DC still doesn’t have a clue what’s going on. I will say this, though: the DC television shows are far more in line with the spirit of the characters than the DC films are. I’d take all the sunshine and daisies of Supergirl over the dark, morose tone of Batman v Superman any day.
I just get a very strong Lois & Clark vibe from this preview and that’s not a good thing. Basically it’s superheroes for 5-year-olds and mom’s. No offense to any 5-year-olds or mom’s out there. (I’d hate to attract the wrath of any mother so soon after Mother’s Day.) Really though, this is a great opportunity for a superhero show sporting a female lead and they’re wasting it by emulating all the worst stereotypical working girl archetypes from the most banal 90s sitcoms. That Black Widow SNL skit you showed me comes to mind. Isn’t it more than a little disconcerting that the trailer for Supergirl looks shockingly similar to something that was intended to be a parody?
Sidenote: Is there a reason why Jimmy Olsen is all of a sudden this super hunky, hot guy? Isn’t he supposed to be a dweeby photographer? Seems like a lame way to force a romantic interest.
SW: It’s not the upbeat part I’m worried about. It’s the “Sex In The City” meets “Ugly Betty” vibe I’m getting that concerns me the most. And I’m not sure what exactly is going on with Jimmy Olsen. It reminds me of when they adapted “Avatar: The Last Airbender” into a movie and Shyamalan decided it was okay to change the pronunciation of “Ang” to “Ahng”. We all know the basic type of character Jimmy Olsen is and while it’s certainly within their rights to go in a different direction, it feels very cheap. (OH, you were expecting your typical dweeby photographer, GOTCHA, he’s a hunky slab of dark chocolate who’s a misunderstood artist AND a kick-ass motivational speaker! SCREW YOUR CONVENTIONAL CHARACTER ASSUMPTIONS!). That doesn’t completely ruin it for me because I should never base the quality of a TV show off of my expectations, but we will see if that change was made out of necessity and substance or just boredom.
Still, I will wait and reserve judgement ’til I’ve seen some of the episodes, and though I had no preconceived ideas of what Supergirl would be (I rarely think about CBS’s programming) I have to say this left me wanting and cautious about my hopes going forward.
SE: Agreed. I’m going to hold out hope. I love Superman. And with the modern Superman movies being such depressing experiences, this is the closest I’ll get to a fun-loving take on the character…as sad as that is. With the Arrow/Flash producers involved and potential for superhero team-ups with the CW gang down the line, I remain hopeful. I just hope they get past all the awkward, contrived vibes this trailer is giving off and get to telling some fun stories with actual heart and soul.