The Super Flaw with Supergirl

Written by Zoya Raza-Sheikh

28 Jun 2018

With DC Comics and Marvel fans providing an assured audience, it's no surprise TV and online streaming are taking on more superhero shows. For Marvel, you have the hugely popular Netflix Originals; Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. For DC Comics, the network The CW has become the super-host for The Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and today's focus - Supergirl.

Now don't get me wrong, when the Supergirl series debuted in late 2015 on the CBS network, I was beyond excited. Pushing a family-friendly agenda with a superhero that is supposed to empower and inspire young girls; the series was off to a good start. Albeit, the show's production was a little shaky and didn't quite match the pace and catchy screen writing that Marvel offered, but, the show was enjoyable, light-hearted and good fun.

From season one, Supergirl was quick to win the viewers hearts. Adopting a mostly original plot line, CBS debuted Kara Zor-El's tragic back story of her planet's destruction (Krypton), death of her parents, entrapment in the Phantom Zone and eventful late residence on Earth 38. From then onwards, the first episode picked up 11 years later with 24-year- old Kara Danvers struggling to balance her "human" life while keeping her super-powers hidden. Collectively, CBS did their best in developing Kara as a quirky assistant to Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) CEO of Catco Worldwide Media. Girl power and the strength of platonic relationships was key to the show, and these themes progressed as other characters fell into Kara's narrative. With friends and colleagues such as tech geek Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan), photographer James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), DEO operative J'onn J'onzz (David Harewood), and, most importantly,sister/agent, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) playing important roles in Kara's life. CBS' 20 running episodes were relatively unproblematic and offered a well formulated balance between plot, individual characters' development, and good old-fashioned action packedfighting scenes.

Supergirl with Mon-El of Daxam.

Unfortunately, Supergirl's smooth sailing wouldn't last long. As May 2016 rolled around, it was announced that Supergirl was moving to another American network - The CW. For the most, season 2 was the return of the girl powered superhero, yet this audacious change was the undoing for Supergirl. While The CW boldly broke barriers introducing a much-loved lesbian couple involving Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima). The handling of Alex Danvers' delicate coming-out story was well appraised from fans and critics alike, the use of alien representation as a disguised critique on Trump's political agenda on immigration was also insightful and creative move by the show. Yet, this smart plot playing was challenged by their biggest obstacle: Mon-El of Daxamite (Chris Wood).

Sure, Mon-El's poor characterisation was irritating, but what made it worse was his unfitting integration to the show. As a stranger to National City, Mon-El quickly became part of Kara and Supergirl's inner circle. In an attempt to gain viewers, Kara's mentoring process of making Mon-El a better person slowly became a cringe worthy attempt of developing a forced relationship. While I didn't like his character, I continued watching, but this isn't an unjustified feminist rant about a male character. Episode 33 titled "Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlc", Mon-El (and I quote) says: "things were easier on Daxam when I objectified women and didn't care about anyone." I wasn't a fan of Mon-El's character at first but the toxic on-screen relationship between the two is uncomfortable, disjointed and dysfunctional.

Overall, it seems The CW improved ever so slightly on CBS' attempt, but, the introduction of Mon-El backtracked any progress and the rumoured use of queer-baiting by screenwriters and producers is simply disappointing. Dare I say it, not even the permanent introduction of Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) can sway me to keep up with season 3. The CW have lost the plot -quite literally- and seems to have given up on Kara Danvers. Who knows, maybe it's time too offer Supergirl her own show to really shine, oh wait, they already did that.

Original article can be found:

Edited by Zoya Raza-Sheikh |


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