I’ve always been a fan of Superman and I’ve enjoyed the mythology of the House of El. I appreciated Supergirl as a fitting supporting character to that mythology.
Presenting Supergirl: A Protagonist
Supergirl has opened my eyes to the possibilities regarding her role as a protagonist – not just a support character – in the DC Universe. I’d previously encountered her in minor roles compared to Superman (except for that movie in the ’80s). She’s served as merely a plot device to expand Superman’s world.
I’ve grown to recognize that DC’s Universe is beyond comics now. The characters have evolved with our media. The TV and movie versions do pay homage to the source material, but has become it’s own thing. So let’s take a look at why this show has drawn me to a Supergirl that I can fanboi over as much as I do Superman.
1. Casting: Melissa Benoist as Supergirl / Kara Danvers
When I watch her as Kara working daily at her job and trying to be normal, she fumbles just as much as Clark Kent. Christopher Reeve thrilled the world in 1978 as Superman. I grew up on this iteration of Superman. I think Melissa Benoist watched his movies closely as well. When I first observed her mannerisms as she played her mild-mannered assistant self, it made me believe they really were related.
2. Supergirl: Her Own Hero
She may share the same house emblem as her cousin, the same powers, and a similar ethos, but that’s it.
Doesn’t that make them the same, just gender swapped? Not at all. Clark struggled thinking he was alone in this world and never knew what he lost. Kara remembers Krypton, her parents, and the destruction of her home. She was to protect her baby cousin, but loses even that by the time she crashes on Earth. (Her cousin grew up, became famous, and apparently flawless.)
Once Kara decides to become a hero she has to face comparisons with her cousin. People scrutinize her and whether she can measure up, especially while she makes mistakes as a fledgeling hero. And let’s not forget: she takes down a villain early in her career that even Superman could not defeat.
3. Few Superman Appearances
The show also made a great decision in minimizing Superman’s appearances so as not to upstage Supergirl. The exception is Jimmy Olsen sent to mentor/watch over her. I found that a little odd as well as the forced romantic entanglements. But this show has made Superman a supporting character for Kara’s development (i.e. their Internet chat conversation) and I’m okay with that. Because Supergirl is awesome!
4. The Story is Easy to Follow
Its roots may be based off of the DC Comics, but with all the continuities that have developed over the years, they kept the TV show’s story simple for a broader audience.
We have the formulaic villain of the week but along with that comes Kara’s struggle to learn her powers while juggling both her ordinary and extraordinary lives and her journey to self discovery.
5. Great Supporting Characters
Let’s not forget her supporting characters, for Supergirl has something that Clark doesn’t – and that is people who share her world and empower her.
Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) has been a bit of a contradictory character for me as I both hate and like her at the same time. She comes off as harsh but has a softer quality that helps Kara become better both as a hero and as a person. Cat mentors Supergirl with her advice and tough love whether she intends to or not.
Kara’s sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) may have been overprotective but has come to support her sister and trains her to protect herself against superbeings that have more power and experience.
James Olsen and Winn Schott
Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) and Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) are her partners in crime fighting. They know her identity and provide her with a bit of direction.
And of course there is Hank Henshaw (David Harwood), a somewhat antagonistic and reluctant ally that occasionally gives Kara support. At times, his opposition causes her to rebel spectacularly and succeed. Superman may do it all on his own, but Kara’s friends in no means diminish her accomplishments but drive her to grow and become better. She is more open, therefore more human and relatable.
Supergirl: I’m a Fan
So that’s it. Supergirl has made me a fan. I enjoy the show and for an hour believe that a woman can fly. It’s a great program and I look forward to any potential comic book adaptations that DC characters may appear in in the future. For now I wait with baited breath for the mid season premiere.
Are you excited for Supergirl’s mid-season return? What do you think will happen? Let us know in the comments.