Friday, May 15, 2015

DISSECTING THE NEW SUPERGIRL TRAILER

If you've read my blog then you know that I'm the first person to applaud a new superhero television, especially a new superhero film or tv show with a female lead. In fact, now that I think of it, I don't believe we've had a female-led superhero television show since 'Wonder Woman,' which debuted in the 1975. 1975 as in 40 years ago. Forty years. Seriously 40..., not 30, not 20, not 10, but 40. That's like two generations. Admittedly there was the short lived series called 'Birds of Prey' on the WB in 2002, but that lasted for like a nanosecond. And to be fair, shows like 'Buffy,' 'Xena,' 'Alias,' have certainly taken on superhero-like qualities, but 'Wonder Woman' was truly the last female-led superhero television series.

Now for the rub, I love DC Comics, so I'm of course going to watch a 'Supergirl' series, but the trailer looks like a romcom fanmade trailer. I'm hopeful, but a little worried. Why not apply the same principles to 'Supergirl' that the producers applied to 'Flash' and 'Arrow?' Since the producers are in fact from 'Flash' and 'Arrow.' Why is the 'Supergirl' trailer so soapy? I know they're trying to appeal to the female demographic, but I highly doubt that the women who read comics and who enjoy watching the 'Arrow' beat the life out of people, like romcoms. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.

The trailer is a cross between 'Superman Returns,' which as we all know wasn't the best superhero film, and 'The Devil Wears Prada.' If these are the only two inspirations the writers are pulling from we're in trouble. I'm certainly not complaining about the idea of bringing Supergirl to the small screen. My fear is that 'Supergirl' will get cancelled due to quality issues and then the powers that be will conveniently say "oops, well that's because it was based on a female superhero." We've heard that line before.

Positive: I really like the actress Melissa Benoist (Glee). She brings genuine sincerity to the role, which is exactly how you want Supergirl to be, because Supergirl ain't Black Widow. Supergirl, similar to Superman, is all about truth and justice, which can be difficult to play. It's easy to play a morally ambiguous character or a "bad guy." It's far more difficult to play the "good guy." It takes a lot of nuanced acting. You can feel Benoist's earnestness shine through the character. The behind the scenes featurette is actually better than the trailer, so perhaps there is hope!
Kara leaves Krypton and has a teary-eyed farewell.
In the comics Supergirl was older than Superman and left Krypton around the same time he did, but her capsule was delayed because of an explosion of some sort. I can't recall the details, but you get the picture.
Kara grows up to be an "Emily" in 'The Devil Wears Prada.'
Hot latte anyone?
Definitely the female version of Clark Kent.
She also has a clueless secret admirer.
Then there's her boss Ally McBeal herself.
This was a nice touch by the creators of the show. Calista Flockhart was a good casting choice as the boss from hell. You could almost see a 1990's Ally McBeal eventually becoming this hard nosed creature, who requires hot lattes on demand, a private elevator, and no cologne anywhere near her nose. Very nice touch.

Kara meets Jimmy Olson.
The new Jimmy Olson is showing off his Pulitzer winning photo of Superman in flight.  This is what I like about DC Comics-- their television shows and their films are separate entities. Whereas Marvel's 'Agents of Shield' is a continuation of the Marvel Universe and films, DC television shows have some creative independence, which can be a good thing. I never thought about how important creative independence is until Joss Whedon said how badly the Marvel television and film people fought, especially about the "death" of Agent Colson.
The awkward laugh. Yes, this is the female Clark Kent.
The disapproving older sister.
I don't remember Kara having an adopted sister, but it works.
The problem. Time for the glasses to come off.
Kara's sister is on the crashing plane.
Okay, this is where the trailer started to lose me. I can handle 'The Devil Wears Prada' stuff, but now with 'Superman Returns?' It's not like 'Superman Returns' was that good of a movie. The plane scene was cool, but cool enough to be repeated? Me thinks not. Of course I'll reserve my judgement, but of all the cool things Kara could have cut her teeth on this is what they come up with?
About to take flight.
It's always cool when a superhero flies.
No drink service on this flight.
Supergirl to the rescue.
Get your camera phones out.
A sisterly reprimand.
So Kara saves your life and you reprimand her for it? This was a page out of Pa Kent's (Kevin Costner) notebook from 'Man of Steel.' I just don't get it.
Hashtag #Supergirl.
To thine ownself be true.
Now it's time to reveal the secret identity to a guy you kinda like, but haven't actually dated yet. Somehow I think Supergirl should become a little more discerning. Since I haven't seen the pilot yet, there may be more to this story. Perhaps they're good friends as well.
First costume. Eh no.
You can imagine one of the producers signing off on this as the costume, then someone with some sense walked in the room and said... uh no. Supergirl is not going to the club. Wonder Woman's modern age leotard costumes showed a lot of skin, so it's not the skin that's a problem. It's that the costume doesn't really fit Supergirl.
Getting closer.
Just right.
I really like the homage to the original Supergirl costume. It's traditional, but it's still cool. However, I do think they should update the costume a bit. Every costume needs tweaking after 60 years. This one is no exception. The problem is that Superman and Supergirl (and Wonder Woman) are so iconic that people get made when you try to update their costumes.
Time to get the bad guys.
The bullets hit the most appropriate place.
Again, this scene echos 'Superman Returns.' Someone must have watched 'Superman Returns' immediately before they wrote this script. Bad sign.
Time to help the rest of the world.
Kara joins some sort of paramilitary group who fights aliens. They don't mention the name of the group, but if it's in the DC Comics/Superman Universe it could be C.B.I. or Squad K, I suppose it could also be A.R.G.U.S.
This guy tells Kara to go get him some coffee.
David Harewood plays Hank Henshaw, who I believe is a villain in the DC Universe. I'm not sure what organization he's with. Now, if I were Supergirl, Hank may not have teeth after this conversation, but Supergirl has more restraint than I do.
Rejected and Neglected.
This is probably my favorite screen capture from the trailer. Kara walking away in a dejected manner. It's a great reminder that superheroes are sometimes the loneliest people on earth.
Everyone needs a good cry sometimes.
Are  you feeling the romcom vibe here? The up tempo female ballad makes me feel like I'm watching a 90s chick flick. So here's the deal Kara, you're a superhero. You don't need some silly little secret government agency to tell you that you can help people. You can help the world all on your own. Also, you're super strong. Throw this guy's car on the moon or something.
The Buck-Up or Shut-up speech.
Her sister gives her a "feel better" speech and Kara pulls it together and starts kicking butt.
She needs to ask for permission again??? 
I don't understand this scene. Why does she go back to these people and ask permission? Do they have the location of the "bad aliens?" Do they have the means to kill Kara if she doesn't listen to them. You would think that a six minute trailer would have gave a little more explanation. Six minutes is an eternity for a trailer.
Bad alien in question.
Now we're cooking with gas.
Awesome.
Is this description really necessary?
It's Supergirl with an embedded CBS logo.
One interesting tidbit is the casting of Supergirl's adopted parents. Dean Cain (Lois & Clark) and Helen Slater (original Supergirl) play Kara's parents. With this kind of a legacy casting, why in the world were they not included in the trailer? With a six minute trailer, they could have given them a few seconds. Again, wonderful casting choices and a nice nod to the fans, but unfortunately, a good show is more than just good casting. Casting is a good start, but it's not the end all.

The trailer has some serious problems. Let's hope it's the trailer and not the actual show. Now you can see why I'm slightly worried and excited at the same time. The casting is very good, but I'm concerned about the show's lack of creativity and writing. Considering she's the first female superhero on television in a long time Supergirl has a lot riding on her shoulders. I hope I hope I hope this show does well. I'm rooting for you Supergirl. Please don't let us down. 

8 comments:

  1. Actually, the beginning had me worried. Once she accepted her role, plane or not, I thought it improved. (Although we don't want it anything like Superman Returns.) Will watch this series with caution.
    Forty years is a really long time...

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    1. Hi Alex! Yes, 40 years is a long time. I'm hoping that we don't have to wait 40 more. I watched the Supergirl featurette so I'm a little more hopeful now.

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  2. Didn't CBS also do that recent failed Wonder Woman series? It looks like they did not learn from that very well. Oi, I want a good woman led superhero series! We've got Agent Carter though, that series is amazing, Peggy kills it even without powers.

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    1. I think that was NBC, but you're right they didn't even make it to the pilot. I don't know why? You know...you're right about Agent Carter. She's not technically a superhero, but she is a comic book hero. I love that show!

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  3. I watched the leaked pilot. I won't spoil anything if you haven't seen it yet, but it appears the trailer pretty much covered the entire episode. Dean Cain and Helen Slater only appear for a few seconds in a cameo. I don't get the impression from the pilot that they will be recurring characters. I think it was just stunt casting. It was my favorite part of the entire pilot, which may not say too much about the rest of it.

    The overall tone seems to be "what if Ally McBeal had superpowers and had to work for that Devil Wears Prada woman?" I'm guessing that they felt she had to be "relatable" for young women and those are the only ways that the showrunners could think of to do that for someone who's essentially a god (or goddess, if you prefer). Pilots are often not a good indication of a show, so who knows how it might end up? Contrast that with the Flash pilot, though.

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    1. I just noticed your comment! Thanks. I heard there was a leaked pilot. I know...the flash pilot was wonderful. The entire series is wonderful. I hope the show is better than the pilot.

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  4. So, now that the show is on the air, what are your thoughts about how the episode went? Pleased? Better understanding of their choices? I liked that they just jumped right into her being SuperGirl, none of the whole Smallville 8 seasons of not being Superman.

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    1. You know I really enjoyed it! It was a little cheesy at times, but very sincere and sweet. It reminded me of the 'Flash,' which is a compliment b/c I really like that show. It's a bright, cheery, superhero drama, which is very different than a show like 'Arrow.' I thought that there could be some improvements, but I'm hopelessly optimistic that this show will only improve! Thanks for your question!

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