Why The New Supergirl Series Should Be Renewed
When CBS first announced a new Supergirl series would be added to its 2015–2016 television season, I was excited yet cautiously optimistic —after all, I am an avid comic book blerd.
Who would they cast to star? What kind of tone would it have? How would her costume look? Would the special and visual effects be up to par? How would the series fare on CBS, a network that previously has shown no interest in airing any superhero-based properties before?
These were among the many concerns that swirled around in my head.
Now that its first season has just concluded, I can honestly say Supergirl has been a delight, and should be renewed despite its ratings challenges.
Melissa Benoist as Supergirl
In order for Supergirl to work, it is vital the actor cast in the lead connects with the audience, or the entire production would fold like a house of cards.
Fortunately, Melissa Benoist is the casting find of the year as the titular heroine.
Benoist exudes all of the qualities you would imagine Supergirl to possess — compassion, intelligence, integrity, and fortitude.
However, Supergirl is not written as being perfect. She also grapples with insecurity, self-doubt, jealousy, rage, and regret.
Benoist’s nuanced performance gives the character a complex inner life audiences can relate to, despite the fact Supergirl can fly and bench press a tank.
The Powerful Women
Supergirl isn’t the only powerful woman depicted on the series. The supporting cast is comprised of a number of women who are no one’s damsel in distress, including:
Catherine “Cat” Grant (Calista Flockhart) is the brusque, no-nonsense founder of a multimedia conglomerate. Admittedly when I first saw Flockhart as Grant during the series pilot, I was concerned she would be a one-note Miranda Priestly clone.
My concern was soon allayed as the series progressed.
It is gradually revealed that underneath Cat’s brash exterior is a shrewd, insightful, and vulnerable woman who has made enormous sacrifices to build a media empire.
The other main protagonist of the series is Supergirl’s adoptive sister Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh). Alex is an accomplished bio-engineer with the fictitious Department of Extra-Normal Operations (D.E.O.), a government agency created to protect the earth from extraterrestrial threats.
Alex is not only a scientist, but also a formidable military tactician. In fact, her bravery and skills save Supergirl herself on more than one occasion during the season.
Even more importantly, the sisterly bond between Alex and Kara/Supergirl is the true heartbeat of the series. Though their relationship is fraught at times, the sisters love and are deeply devoted to each other.
Supergirl Is An Empowering Image For Young Women & Girls
Bottom line: most of the superheroes on television are men.
While the Netflix series Jessica Jones is a notable exception, its mature themes make it appropriate viewing for adults only.
Supergirl is specifically geared toward young women and girls. Not to say other demographics won’t enjoy the show — they most definitely will.
The series has plenty of intrigue, action, dynamic fight sequences, and moments of nail-biting dramatic tension. Plus, the special and visual effects are exceptional.
Still, the show is unabashed in its message of self-empowerment for women. The producers have wisely opted to let the writers create compelling women that are interesting to watch.
On Supergirl, you won’t see demeaning catfights. You won’t see women barely dressed to serve as titillation for the male gaze.
You most definitely won’t see violence against women being used to further the story arcs of male characters (here’s looking at you Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, Person Of Interest, Supernatural, and The Blacklist).
The women of Supergirl have their own agency. They are the engines that drive the narrative, and the television landscape is much richer for it.
Cancelling the series would strike a blow for more positive, complex and empowering images of women on screen.
With its break-out star, prominent message of self-empowerment, cinematic action sequences, and overall optimism, Supergirl has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable viewing experiences of the 2015–2016 television season.
It definitely deserves another chance to fly.
(If you’ve enjoyed this article, please help others find it by clicking the heart button.)