Supergirl Trailer Reaction

“Is it a bird…?”
“Aye!”

Sorry, just a wee bit of niche Glaswegian geek humour there. The trailer for the long-awaited Supergirl TV show has landed and the GeekChocolate crew have, as ever, been at the ready with their opinions. For the most part we think this has potential; with a strong cast and impressive genre pedigree in the production department. Watch the trailer and then read on to see what the team think of the new Kara Zor-El.


Stephen Sutherland: I’ll watch the hell out of this. Bright, optimistic, fun, everything a “super” show should be.

I have a feeling it’s going to be openly, unapologetically feminist too from some of the lines and knowledge of characters they’re including, so fingers crossed!

Gordon Robertson: Wooft! Loving that and will be watching.

I had said that it was most probably aimed at 13 year old girls, and that wasn’t meant to be dismissive, rather a recognition that not everything is aimed at middle aged men with 40 odd years of fanboy baggage on board.

Anything that gets teenagers, and in particular teenage girls into the world of geek is fine by me (and that includes Twilight). [Gordon, see me in my office – Kev] 

Callista FlockhartThis is bang on the money for that market, with hints of Clueless and The Devil Wears Prada and with a lightness of touch and sense of fun, and when you add in the Feminist touches there too, this is pretty much everything you could ask for in a Supergirl TV show.

It’s not just for girls though, with plenty here for everyone, including those middle aged fanboys. Now, where can I buy some Supergirl merchandise?

Michael Flett: Well, somebody remembered to set the fun-o-meter to maximum. I’m delighted that someone is taking the plunge with a female superhero lead; much as we love Peggy Carter and we’re delighted she got a second season it wasn’t much more than a cautious toe in the water.

It is a very overcrowded market right now – Gotham, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Daredevil, Arrow, Flash, more on the way – Kara will have her work cut out for her if she’s going to shine, and certainly judging by this somewhat over-long trailer, more like a synopsis of the first episode, the producers are going a very different direction.

It does worry me that they might go “too girly,” if that makes sense; as ridiculous as it is, the male 18-40 demographic is the one the networks covet and it would be just in their contrary nature to target women then be disappointed that their strategy has been too successful and decide, no, they actually wanted a different audience. Fine, establishing her costume can be part of the storyline, it reflects her identity and her role, but is dressing up really a selling point for any modern drama?

James OlsenI don’t know Melissa Benoist at all, but she’s very different than what we’ve come to expect from female superheroes as depicted in comic books with their impossible figures and their impractical costumes.

She actually seems quite refreshingly normal and down to Earth, fun to hang with. I remember back in the day of the Supergirl film, Helen Slater saying she consciously wanted to fly in a different way from Christopher Reeve to make her more graceful and feminine, and that’s certainly what they’ve gone for here. I know Mehcad Brooks from True Blood and Dollhouse, and of course Calista Flockhart, so I have faith in them.

It’s interesting that of the three producers, Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler and Andrew Kreisberg, only one is a woman; seems equality doesn’t stretch as far as the back office. Berlanti worked on Dawson’s Creek, Kreisberg on Warehouse 13, both of them on Arrow and The Flash, and Adler on Chuck and Family Guy, so a broad spread of experience.

It does also worry me that the “big sell” of the opening episode is going to be the airliner going down – didn’t Christopher Reeve do that in 1978? Didn’t Brandon Routh do that in 2006? And they’re really selling the idea of her cousin being involved, if one step removed, but which cousin – Tom Welling? Henry Cavill? This is why I don’t do comics, it just gets too complicated too quickly.

I am concerned about superhero burnout, though; both on cinema and television, it’s the latest bandwagon which everyone is jumping on at the expense of everything else. In the eighties it was glossy soaps, then in the wake of Star Trek The Next Generation it was science fiction, most of it awful, then it was police procedurals, now it’s comic adaptations. Still, anything is better than reality television, I guess.

Melissa BenoistKevin Gilmartin: I don’t know much about Supergirl’s origin story other than the Helen Slater movie, which I’ve only seen twice (I was only 4 when it came out and, really, I’m more of a Batman guy), so I’m very much looking forward to this.

These 6 minutes, though, are pure joy. From Callista Flockhart’s entrance, the “oh, come ON!” as Kara sees the oncoming bridge and the casual, uncertain stroll through the hail of bullets, this feels like Supergirl will be Super-fun.

As a series lead Melissa Benoist is a relative newcomer; yes, there was her 42 episode run as part of the Glee ensemble, but I suspect that Supergirl will do more for her as the character matures and Benoist plies her trade alongside Flockhart and Brooks.

And then there’s the lovely Chyler Leigh, who – for my money – stole every scene she was in on Grey’s Anatomy. Again she’s playing the sister, but not full sister, of the lead. Where Grey’s ensemble cast was strong enough to support a weak lead in the face of a stronger talent portraying a more likeable character, that’s going to be harder to pull off with a Superhero show. So, let’s hope Chyler doesn’t completely outshine her on-screen sibling this time around – for the sake of the show.

As Michael said, superheroes are a crowded market right now I think when it comes to television offerings DC are in a much stronger position than Marvel – the opposite of the cinema situation – and trust that they can keep the momentum going.

supergirlSupergirl, compared with Flash and Arrow and even the pre-cowl exploits of the denizens of Gotham, will arguably be the most recognisable of DC’s characters to hit the small screen (Smallville doesn’t count – no cape and tights) and could quickly become the flagship if this does well. Personally, I kinda hope it does.

 

Owen Williams (GC’s resident Supes obsessive): My name is Kara Zor-El…

Hang on, that sounds a little familiar…

My name is Oliver Queen…

My name is Barry Allen…

Here we have yet another television series from the minds behind Arrow and The Flash, including producers, writers and costume designers, which is why everything feels so familiar. Why change a formula when it’s known to work? To be fair, this will be airing on the CBS network, which has a bit more cash to throw at a series than The CW, home of the broody guy and the one that runs quickly.

crashed podThis is a looooong trailer, at over 6 minutes. Unless this takes place over a few episodes, which isn’t likely, and they choose to do a standard 43 minutes for the pilot, we’ve just watched a decent section of the episode. Even if they are doing a 90 minute pilot chances are that we’ve just seen at least a part of every major scene in there.

Face it, we know what happens in the entire pilot from this. The longest “previously on” I’ve seen was for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine finale, and that had seven seasons to cover. It was still shorter than this and do you know what? I don’t care. Because this was brilliant!

Being the Superman obsessive that I am, I probably spent more time going through the first 30 seconds than most. The trailer makes it clear that Kal El was sent as baby, whilst Kara was sent as a 12 year old, which gives them entirely different backgrounds. Kara will remember what Krypton was like. She has lost more than Superman because she actually remembers her parents and the world she grew up on.

This has always been a major difference between the two.

handsDo you know what else it tells us? When Kara arrived on Earth it was Superman that found her (trust the pause button!).

He was the one that took her to her new, adoptive family played by… Dean Cain and Helen Slater! The previous actors for Superman and Supergirl will be playing her parents! Geek overload!

Dean Cain and Helen slaterBy the time Supergirl really takes place, that means that Superman has been active for at least 12 years, which might help explain why James Olson is now a radically different character to the inept fool he’s generally portrayed as.

There is so much to love about this trailer, from Kara’s bumbling with Jimmy/James (which is clearly a reflection of the accepted version of Clark Kent) to her desire to be more than she is. Now she’s reached adulthood the need to be normal and fit in is lessening, when she knows that she can help people.

I’m sure the “oh, come ON!” from the plane rescue will be mentioned by others, but it was her glee at the news report that sealed it for me. I prefer dialogue and characterisation over special effects, but from what was shown here no one is going to be disappointed. From the place crash to the various fight scenes and Kara jumping off a building, this could well be the best looking trailer that I’ve seen in regards to effects.

I do have one genuine issue with the trailer. Whilst I honestly believe we’ve seen at least a portion of every scene of importance, that’s not it. I want to see the bits around them, that will flesh everything out. The issue I have is that everyone seems to know Kara is Supergirl. Fair enough, there’s her family, but beyond that… Jimmy (I don’t think I’ll get used to calling him James) knows who she is. Hank Henshaw (head of the Department of Extra-Normal Operations) knows who she is. Winslow Schott (her friend who helps her design the costume, and desperately hopes she’s a lesbian because misogyny can be found even here) knows who she is. Considering that two out of the final three become villains in the comics this may be laying it on a little thick.

With everything considered, this has now gone to the top of my list of shows to look forward to. It’s a shame that I’ve got six fracking months to wait.

Dario Persechino:

Yay, something that looks fun! I really liked this. As with all TV show trailers it goes on for too long and shows a little too much of the story for the series but there is a lot to like here.  

The cast looks good, Melissa Benoist comes off as charismatic and entertaining in what we see. Having an older and wiser Jimmy, sorry ‘James,’ Olsen around to give words of wisdom is a great idea, and hasn’t he grown up well? The only bump for me is ‘The Devil Wears Super Prada’ day job element, but I’m hoping they’ll tone downCalista Flockhart’s character in the actual show.

This trailer has grabbed me far more than either Gotham or The Flash did with theirs. This just seems fun, rather than all dark and moody, which makes a refreshing change. It also reminded me of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman which I really enjoyed in its early days. 

The Coat of arms for the House of El is also a symbol of hope, and that’s what this trailer makes me think it will be. A show full of hope, fun and wonder.

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