SU­PER­GIRL Sea­son One

Kara Chameleon

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Richard Ed­wards

re­leased 25 July 2015-2016 | 12 | BLU-RAY/DVD Cre­ators Greg Ber­lanti, ali adler, an­drew Kreis­berg Cast Melissa Benoist, Cal­ista Flock­hart, Me­hcad Brooks, Chyler leigh

Su­per­man may have had a tough time of it on the big screen this year, but life hasn’t been all bad for cit­i­zens of Kryp­ton. Su­per­girl, the lat­est DC Comics spin-off from the team be­hind Ar­row and The Flash, shares much more DNA with the Christo­pher Reeve movies than the mo­peathon that was Bat­man V Su­per­man – it’s a fun, up­beat and in­cred­i­bly like­able ac­tion drama that doesn’t have a mis­er­able bone in its su­per­pow­ered body.

That’s de­spite the fact that things don’t look too promis­ing af­ter the first few episodes, which feel like a throw­back to the 20th cen­tury. As mil­len­nial Kara Dan­vers strug­gles to jug­gle ca­reer, friend­ship, ro­mance and sav­ing the world in an ever so adorable way, it’s as if some com­mit­tee de­cided that in or­der to make a show about a fe­male hero ap­peal to a fe­male au­di­ence, you have to make “Ally McBeal in a cape”. But pretty quickly every­thing clicks into place as the writ­ers de­cide to con­cen­trate in­stead on mak­ing a de­cent su­per­hero show that to­tally em­braces the comic book lore that in­spired it. The re­sult is the sort of up­lift­ing, mass-ap­peal en­ter­tain­ment that Marvel has made its own on the big screen.

As well as be­ing am­bi­tious on the ac­tion front, it’s im­pres­sively DC-lit­er­ate. Not only is the Mar­tian Man­hunter a se­ries reg­u­lar, in­fa­mous Kryp­to­nian prison Fort Rozz and its in­mates have crashed near Na­tional City, and ob­scure comic book vil­lains like Livewire and Sil­ver Ban­shee of­ten show up to wreak havoc.

But the main rea­son Su­per­girl works is the cast­ing. The male char­ac­ters are mostly for­get­table – though Me­hcad Brooks’s jock­ish James (not Jimmy!) Olsen is a re­fresh­ing break from the norm – but its two fe­male leads are bril­liant. Cal­ista Flock­hart’s me­dia mogul Cat Grant is a won­der­ful cre­ation, whose snarky gift for a hi­lar­i­ous put­down masks a sur­pris­ingly warm in­te­rior. And in the ti­tle role, Melissa Benoist is a rev­e­la­tion as both Su­per­girl and al­ter-ego Kara, whole­heart­edly em­brac­ing a wide-eyed char­ac­ter who has no front and is quite sim­ply a nice per­son – you can’t help but fall in love with her.

Su­per­girl does get for­mu­laic on oc­ca­sion, and there’s a slight over­re­liance on (not very) dark mo­ments of the soul backed by ter­ri­ble Amer­i­can soft rock. But this re­mains an­other tri­umph for DC’s im­pres­sive TV op­er­a­tion – with the show mov­ing from US net­work CBS to join Ar­row, The Flash and Le­gends Of To­mor­row on the CW for its sec­ond sea­son, ex­pect it to run with that comic book vibe even more.

Ex­tras Fea­turettes on Mar­tian Man­hunter J’onn J’onzz and the his­tory of Kryp­ton (19 min­utes); the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con panel (15 min­utes); a gag reel; 23 min­utes of deleted scenes.

There’s only glimpses of Su­per­man here, but he’ll be a fully-fledged char­ac­ter next year, played by Teen Wolf’s Tyler Hoech­lin.

Some­where some­one’s miss­ing a bi­cy­cle chain.

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