Monday, November 2, 2015

Supergirl TV Watch: Season 1, Episode 2

Okay.  As I suspected it might be, Episode 2 was a far cry better than the pilot.  So, everybody settle the heck down.

Yes, the episode was still rife with issues within the episode, and it's hard to see how some of the story elements are going to avoid narrative traps and holes, but I wasn't just grimacing my way through the episode and, despite the bleached out lighting and utter lack of eyebrows on Calista Flockhart (she had eyebrows in the 90's.  I suspect Harrison Ford has taken them.), her dialog wasn't just setting me on the edge this go-round.

I don't get why DC Entertainment can't seem to decide what the hell the "S" stands for.  You just spent millions on an ad campaign telling people the "S" stood for "Hope" and now you're saying it stands for "Stronger Together", which is kinda corporate-retreaty-trust-fallsy.  Hope was fine.  I was kind of telling my TV "please don't do this...  please just say 'Hope' and move on."  But, nope.  This is why people wind up hating comics.

Don't ever get invested in anything in comics, kids.  Someone else wasn't paying attention and is going to change it.

The dumbest part of the episode by a country mile was the "trap" set for villain The Hellgrammite, by driving around with a truck full of DDT, and then shooting at the bad guy with pistols out the window of a moving vehicle.  It was truly a mind-blowingly lazy bit of TV there, but the most amazing part was that someone wrote the script that way, someone approved it, a whole bunch of people showed up on a set and they worked to film that scene and nobody said "you know, even for a show about a girl nobody recognizes without her glasses on, this is pretty stupid."  But, yeah.  Pistols.  On the freeway.  In a crowded city.  Aiming at barrels of toxic sludge.  Woof.

The second dumbest part was the "karate-lesson by poisoning then beating on you" sequence.  I'm not really clear on why that scene was written that way (badly), but kicking someone's ass to show you can is not really how you get them in the mindset for self-improvement.  It's not like Kara seems like she isn't listening to folks for advice on how to get better.

Speaking of - if I liked anything in particular about the episode, it was that doing the whole Superman thing is hard and it (a) showed that Superman has to have a brain in his head to do his job, and (b) there's a learning curve here, everyone would have expectations through the roof, and you're learning in public, which is a unique feature of Supergirl.

If I took one exception to the otherwise excellent Supergirl run by Sterling Gates, it was that someone decided that Allura was now going to be a villain.   I don't have particularly strong feelings about Allura as a character, but after existing for several decades as a non-entity in the comics as Supergirl's mom, it seemed a little weird to turn her into a dictatory-type bad guy.  I have to say I like how the show is splitting the difference by making Allura's sister the bad guy.  It feels far less tortured from a plotting standpoint.

But, man, apparently the deal in TV in 2015 must be that we no longer believe in the slow-boil.  When you start your show off with the reveal of the villainous aunt and proof-positive that there are lots of other Kryptonians running around (Kryptonians that have both eluded Superman and not tried to recruit him), I'm not sure what you're leaving in the tank for Season 2, let alone Sweeps.

Right now I'm predicting that "Wynn" or "Win" or "Will" or whatever the best-friend-guy is named is either going to have to find a new role or he's off the show by Season 2.  Between the far more interesting James Olsen (dammit, he'll always be Jimmy to me) and the entirety of the DEO at her disposal, and a sister to have to lean on, I cannot begin to fathom what part Wynn or Will or Wiggums has to play.  He's no Cisco.

I didn't need massive improvement, just incremental improvement.  I have a handful of other issues I won't air here lest it make it sound like I'm being a picker of nits, but I genuinely felt like this episode dumped the fortune-cookie bumper-sticker dialog and was trying to go somewhere.  It all feels a little Hallmark Channel-ish (he said after watching two Hallmark Christmas movies yesterday), in the sort of inane platitudes and whatnot, but this week it felt a bit sharper.

And, man, the action is actually really pretty good.  The Hellgrammite, Aunt Astra and Kara's brawl... all good stuff.  The FX are better than I expected, and they certainly continue to live in a world that seems to contain a Superman I'd like to see.  Kara, her sister, James and the forming supporting cast seem pretty likable.  All in all, there's a foundation here to build on.

I'll be back for Episode 3.


Kuudere-Kun said...

I for one thing it should mean different things in different continuities. It's how Art should be.

Both meanings fit the themes of the Movie/Show they are in. IN ways the opposing meaning could not.

The League said...

I see it as a failure of corporate synergy and a muddying of the value of the IP. Not very romantic, but "whatever we feel like works this week" is not a good way to maintain the integrity of a character across media. The frisson takes you out of the story and places the audience at odds for no discernible reason. That, and, frankly, party of the story of the failure of Krypton was Jor-El's renegade nature, that he wouldn't just be "together", he had to do this whole thing solo when "togetherness" meant the council would rather stick with its principles and ignore his warnings.