Despite some fanboy opinion, CBS’ “Supergirl” is actually shaping up to be quite the television series. Three episodes in and “Supergirl” is carrying a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 75% rating on MetaCritic. This is on par with “The Flash”‘s 98% and “Arrow”‘s 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 73% rating for each show on MetaCritic. And why shouldn’t “Supergirl”‘s numbers be similar to those of the DCTV powerhouses on CW? After all, she has the same showrunner calling the shots as both of the CW shows.
As much as I truly, truly hate to side with the feminists and social justice warriors on absolutely anything, it’s really hard to see the hate the series gets as being anything other than simply because the protagonist is a female.
While “Supergirl” is a much more bright and colorful show than “Arrow” – and even to a certain extent, “The Flash” – it has a very similar structure to Greg Berlanti’s other shows. In the series, Supergirl has a strong supporting cast, and a team similar to both Team Arrow and Team Flash, though the term Team Supergirl has yet to be coined. The show doesn’t cheap out on the action, nor is it just a mindless slugfest without character development. “Supergirl” is actually a really well-rounded show that is as true to its comic book roots as “Arrow” and “The Flash” are.
“Supergirl” also succeeds where films like “Elektra” and “Catwoman” failed. “Supergirl” doesn’t distort the character to appeal to a tween girl audience. While it’s true that Supergirl as a character has a much greater natural appeal for that audience than Elektra or Catwoman, the show is able to appeal to an adult male audience just as easily as it appeals to young girls, provided that male audience can get past the fact that the hero is a woman.
“Supergirl” isn’t perfect by any means, but people also seem to forget that it took “The Flash” the first half of season one to really start becoming extraordinary. “Supergirl” may not have a chance in hell of beating “The Flash” as the best superhero show on television – I make a distinction between superhero and comic book because “The Walking Dead” is also based on a comic book, and it has a wider fanbase than “The Flash” could ever hope to have – but it is certainly on track to come pretty close.
Yes, “Supergirl” is targeted specifically at a young female audience. What’s wrong with that? The comic book audience is 40% female, and gaining new female readers every day. While it’s true that these female fans like a wide variety of comic books – just like their male counterparts do – how many of them became interested in comic books after seeing “Elektra” when they were young girls? I’d wager a good many, and “Supergirl” is a much better show.
My 5-year-old daughter loves superheroes. She loves the X-Men and Spider-Man and Superman and everything, but her favorite is Wonder Woman. She will get up in the middle of the night when I’m watching some superhero movie or TV show and she will lay on the edge of the bed, mesmerized by it. But when you put on Wonder Woman, she lights up. She sees that Wonder Woman is a girl, like her, and she identifies with that. Everyone needs a superhero they can identify with, the trick is not to sacrifice quality in order to appeal to that target demographic. Rest assured, “Supergirl” does not sacrifice quality.
The only thing I could ask of “Supergirl” now is for Greg Berlanti to officially tie it in with the Arrowverse. That it’s on a different network is totally irrelevant. CBS is actually partners with Warner Bros in the CW network, and all of the shows are produced by Warner Bros Television. There is nothing stopping Greg Berlanti from crossing “Supergirl” over with “The Flash” and “Arrow” – in fact, he even has it in his contract that he has the option of doing that should he so choose. This needs to happen. I can easily see Flash, Arrow and Supergirl being the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman of the television Justice League.
Well, there is one other thing “Supergirl” could do. They can show Superman already. So far they have had two cheat cameos of the Man of Steel, and they name drop him constantly, but they really need to show him. I’m sure Warner Bros probably has some kind of idiotic embargo against that, but they need to cut that out. It has been established that the film and television franchises are being kept separate, so let “Supergirl” cast their own Superman and allow him to show up every so often. I mean, it really doesn’t make sense that Clark Kent wouldn’t be at least a little curious about his cousin and want to check up on her, and no an instant messaging conversation isn’t good enough. This tactic of name dropping Batman but never showing him helped to sink “Birds of Prey” and I would really hate for “Supergirl” to suffer a similar fate over reluctance to show Superman.
“Supergirl” airs Monday nights at 8pm on CBS.