Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CBS releases "Supergirl" Preview

oh my gosh, they brightened her up.  what the heck, DC?
Video is below



Kara Zor-El is not supposed to be targeted at me or my demographic. She was the younger cousin/ little sister allegory for Superman, and her adventures back in the 1950's were every bit as bananas as the most bananas of Silver Age tales (let's talk Comet the Super Horse sometime).

But, I'm a fan of Supergirl, nonetheless.  Sure, the 90's tried to make that really hard with the "Matrix" concept, but I still enjoyed at least the far end of that run when it was Linda Danvers in a t-shirt hopping around around 2002.  But I really like the insanely perky version from the 60's and the go-getter Bronze Age version who couldn't get through a day at university without an alien plot spoiling her lunch break.

But, I also know, hey, maybe a 40 year old dude is not who they think of as the current target audience for the story of a Supergirl.

So, much as I like The Flash on the CW, I also know that is a show aimed at people half my age and mostly not of my gender.  And Supergirl has taken that up a notch.

I'm not sure how far I'll make it after the initial episodes.  And that won't be a comment on whether I think the show is successful or not, but I'm barely hanging in there with Flash, which is low enough on the radar where it can be more of a show I'd watch than, say, CBS, which will require millions of eyeballs and isn't currently putting out any programs I watch, and hasn't for years.   Whether it is "true" to Supergirl or not, the veneer of a CBS show is painted all over just the few minutes you see here, and that isn't necessarily a positive in my eyes.  Network TV has been not just surpassed but lapped by what happens on cable and Netflix these days, and some of that was always going to rub off on the Supergirl TV show.  I don't think the fact that I can read the entire show from the first three minutes of the preview is a necessarily a plus, even if it makes it easier to digest.

It is also solidly not aimed at me, which is okay.  I would like nothing more than a planet full of people who know Supergirl's Kryptonian name running around.  And it still looks fun-ish.  If I were a kid, I'd probably be all about this show.

I'm also thrilled to see that CBS was able to separate itself from the Zack Snyder dark-nerd version of Superman and Batman and embrace the overlit world of a CBS show.  The first pics of the costume showed up in dull, Man of Steel colors, but not just the costume is bright and cheery - they've clearly skipped the anger-management problem of the recent comics and seen the potential of the Sterling Gates take on the character - that felt a whole lot more like the original vision of Kara Zor-El that ran from the late 50's to the mid-80's than it felt like recent attempts at edginess.

So, cautiously optimistic, I guess.  Let's see that first episode and see how it goes from there.

I will also note - I grew up feeling my little heart go pitter-patter for Helen Slater, but the 1980's Supergirl movie is a "movie" only in that it is a thing that can be shown that runs for a certain length of time if you string it through a projector and there are moving things on the screen.  It is, otherwise, a horrendously assembled film with nothing like a script, bad FX, bad use of well-known actors, and a story that makes less sense than an Axe Cop story dictated by a 5 year old with a 104 degree fever.

So let's not pretend that movie was a point of comparison for anyone.

Further, let's not celebrate the many really weird Supergirl moments on Smallville, none of which did anything but make Superman make no sense as a character and seemed to be pandering to an audience that was not there.

So, this is a great opportunity.  Let's see what they do with it.

2 comments:

picky said...

Ugh. First, I think she's a pretty crap actress, and that doesn't help, but all in all, this just looks really silly.

As you said, though, this isn't aimed at me.

It is strange that as many shows like this are out right now, how completely different they all feel. Which, of course, is good, showing the diversity in storytelling and all that. But even within the same house they feel different (Flash - really like v. Arrow - HATE).

Ryan Steans said...

You know, that's always been the thing about comics being seen by the public as basically all exactly the same thing, and let's assume the public means "all comics are superhero comics or Archie. That opinion may be more informed by a fifty year old Superduperman gag in Mad than actual superhero comics at that.

But not only are "comics" wildly different, each superhero really either carved out their own little world and tone or they usually didn't make it. I'd argue a lot of the success of a writer on a book was whether or not their sensibilities lined up with the character and their world or couldn't do it - you see as much on Superman a whole lot.

Now, that tone question is making it's way to TV. Flash the TV show is wildly different, plot point by plot point, from the comics. But the characters have stayed true to who they are in the comics and the tone of who Barry Allen is - a character condemned as "boring" for most of my life - is on the screen in very much the way I think of Barry, even if he's maybe 5 years younger than i think of him starting out.

DC had to take a stab at this movie and TV business while Marvel had paved the way and the iron was hot (well, really Sony and Fox with Spidey and X-Men), but they did it during a weird period at DC. The guys in charge basically had one concept for every character, and that concept was "it'd be better if they were Batman". Add in a ponderous Superman Returns and a successful Dark Knight, and why wouldn't they think that? And that same attitude clearly got sold to the TV and Movie people over the past few years.

But I think that's changing. I think DC is starting to realize that not everything they do really works if it's grim'n'gritty in both comics and TV (witness this show and the end of the New 52). Daredevil and Guardians of the Galaxy are both Marvel and that's OK! Marvel gets that TONE based on character is the thing. You can have a serious spy thriller with a guy wearing a flag as a shirt if you just commit.

And not every tone is for everybody. That's why there are so many superhero comics on the racks.

I dig the tone of Flash (when it's a certain kind of Flash), Superman, Wonder Woman (when it's a certain kind of WW) and sometimes Batman. I like Captain America. But I don't read X-Men or a whole bunch of other comics. And I really don't like Supergirl unless it's in the kind of pop-eyed-with-wonder version of the character, or at least the "she's waaaaaay too nice to be putting up with this business" version. Can't stand the Eddie Berganza edited Supergirl or the New 52 version. Happy and chippy is not how I want all my superheroes, but it IS how I want my Supergirl.

Now, this is also the pilot of a show on a major network, so I kind of expect it has some room to grow out of the network TV cliches. But it might NOT. And that's a problem. Frankly, I think Arrow suffers from being stuck with CW cliches developed with Smallville and Supernatural and it took Flash to show DC and CW they could do things differently, but at the same time, they took iZombie (a phenomenal comic) and really, really applied the CW formula hardcore. And you hope that show grows up from that and gets back to what made the comic special. Unless the target demo claims it and loves that cliched stuff - because it's still new to them.

I'm rambling, but it's an interesting period. Back in the 80's and 90's, people thought "all superheroes are X, except for Batman", and literally told you that you were wrong if you debated the point, or were super patronizing, like there was something wrong with you. Now, those differences are spilling over as so much damn superhero stuff is making it's way into the public eye.

Crazy times.