Metadata: 2015 | TV-14 | 3 seasons of 20+ episodes, ~45m each
Genre: Superhero, action, girlpower
Why I watched: I was looking for something fun and light and easy that also involved ladies kicking bad guy butt. Supergirl looked like it fit the ticket, and three seasons in, I can say it really does. But it's also much more than just a little light fun.
You might also like: If you're into Supergirl, I recommend checking out CW's Arrow and The Flash, both of which occur in the same universe and at the same time as Supergirl. At least once a season, characters from the three shows cross over to the other ones, so it's a lot of fun to watch them all. If Supergirl isn't your thing, but super girls are (and they better be), why don't you give Covert Affairs, streaming on Amazon, a try. Who doesn't love a good CIA thriller with a strong female lead?
You should know upfront that Supergirl is super cheesy. But! I also really like it. Part of what I like is that the cheese-factor is self-conscious. This is basically true for any depiction of Supergirl's more famous cousin Superman, right? That's sort of Clark Kent's shtick. He's so straight he's square. And that's part of what makes him seem less human, more believable as an all-powerful and mostly righteous alien.
But this newsletter is not about Superman, and neither is the CW original (which first aired on CBS) Supergirl. We meet Kara Danvers, a.k.a. Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), as a bright-eyed, energetic twenty-something, working as an assistant to powerful media mogul and feminist, Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart). She's eager to please, but she's also eager to do more. The whole "normal" thing isn't really cutting it for Kara. She's got super strength, laser eyes, freeze breath, the ability to fly, and—perhaps most importantly—a pure desire to save people. So, she gets herself a cape and a squad, which includes a few choice friends and her kick-butt secret agent sister Alex (Chyler Leigh, who plays Lexi Grey on Grey's Anatomy).
Kara makes it clear early on that she is her own woman; she doesn't want to be compared to her cousin constantly, though she often makes that comparison herself. It's tough because when she was sent to Earth at the age of 12, she was much older than her then-baby cousin, Kal-El. She was supposed to be his protector on Earth. But because spacetime is confusing and weird, her cousin made it to his destination much sooner than she did, and by the time she crash-landed on the third rock from the sun, he was already a grown man and a national hero. That's just one of the (more minor) personal obstacles she has to overcome.
Supergirl believes in the forces of good, even to a fault, and the result for the viewer is this refreshing sense of hope. Kara's defining characteristic is unflagging optimism, but that doesn't mean the show is all rainbows and butterflies. It takes on some really tough issues and handles them with determination and a clear sense of itself. Make no mistake, Supergirl has an agenda; it believes in the dignity of all people, and it believes that you should too. Over the course of its three seasons (so far), it has taken on bullying, racism, sexuality, mental illness, single parenthood, and more. It is a show about literal aliens, which provides a really special vehicle for reflecting on the brutal war being waged against immigrants in this country. Supergirl understands the effect it can have on the (mostly young) people watching, and takes its job seriously—but not too seriously. It perfectly blends humor and fun with an ethical sensibility.
Enjoy, friends! Grace