TV Review - Supergirl: Season 2

It's rare for a series to be cancelled at one TV network and then be picked up at another. The last time and probably only other time that it happened with a female super hero was Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, which moved from the WB network to UPN. Last year, CBS launched this series about the DC Comics character to some fanfare but the ratings dropped to unsustainable lows, so it was moved to the CW, a network that is actually the combination of the now defunct WB and UPN. It joins a lineup of super hero shows on the CW, including Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, all in the same universe, one shepherded by big-time, Hollywood producer, Greg Berlanti. It's also been teased that either the titular character here will appear in any of those other shows or characters from those other shows will appear here.

Melissa Benoist (Glee) stars as Kara Danvers, a reporter at CatCo Media, a conglomerate in National City. She's mild-mannered and meek, a little awkward and clumsy. She also wears glasses. In other words, she's a female Clark Kent, except slightly younger. Like Clark Kent, she has an alter ego who wears rubber tights and a cape. She can fly and shoot lasers from her eyes. She has super strength and is invincible. Kara is Supergirl, the hero of National City who fights crimes, saves people from fires and defends against other super beings like aliens.

Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal and Brothers & Sisters) co-stars as Catherine Grant, the owner of CatCo Media, and the version of Perry White in this series. Perry White is the iconic boss of Clark Kent at his reporter job at the Daily Planet in the city of Metropolis. Catherine or Cat, however, is more like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. It's a much more developed character than the caricature it can seem. She's actually a mix of the mentor figure in The Flash, played by Tom Cavanagh.

Flockhart is easily the best performance in the whole series. Unfortunately, when the series moved to the CW, it also moved from filming in Los Angeles to Vancouver, Canada. This means the actors would have to move and essentially live in Vancouver for six to eight months. Flockhart couldn't or didn't want to do that, so her character leaves the series after the second episode. She's so funny, beautiful, bittersweet and a light that will certainly be missed.

Mehcad Brooks (True Blood and Necessary Roughness) also co-stars as James Olsen, a photographer from Metropolis who worked at the Daily Planet. He's now working at CatCo Media and has worked his way up. When Cat Grant leaves, James takes over her office. His relationship won't be the same to Kara. He was a potential love interest but has been put in the friend zone for now.

Ian Gomez (Felicity and Cougar Town) who plays Snapper Carr is potentially going to become the new Perry White for Kara and possibly fill that contentious mentor role Tom Cavanagh has in The Flash.

Also new this season is Superman visiting National City and Supergirl. In the first season, Kara talked about Superman but we never saw him. Finally, this year we do. Both Supergirl and Superman are aliens from outer space. Both have the same powers. When Superman visits, he helps Supergirl stop bad guys and save people from disasters. He's normally doing so by himself in Metropolis and there is all kinds of history there, which is carrying over here but most are assumed from the major beats in the comics.

Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf and 7th Heaven) plays Clark Kent aka Superman. Hoechlin is in great shape and has an amazing and very muscular body, but he's not in as great shape as Henry Cavill who stars in the movie version of Superman. Cavill is taller, bigger and way more buff. He's huge, chiseled and extremely more masculine than Hoechlin who comes across here as a boy compared to Cavill.

However, his boyish charm actually helps him to be a better Clark Kent. If Hoechlin never puts on the tights and cape and was only Clark Kent, I wouldn't mind. Hoechlin is more comfortable and more a fit in that role. As Superman, he just looks like a kid playing dress-up for Halloween.

The show is good with developing relationships between Supergirl and people in her life like James, Catherine and now Clark. It's just as good in that regard as the other Berlanti properties. What it fails to do, at least in these first two episodes, is establish its villains. The first two episodes center on a villain named Metallo, played by Frederick Schmidt.

Unfortunately, aside from his name, there is nothing that is learned about him. Superman: The Animated Series did an episode about Metallo back in 1996 called "The Way of All Flesh." Malcolm McDowell voiced Metallo and that vocal performance not only provided more depth and nuance to the character but the writing really supported the character, much more than the writing here did.

The cartoon ironically fleshed out the character of Metallo a million times more than this live-action series. The cartoon helped to understand who Metallo was as a person and what his life was like and what he felt. This series didn't.

Four Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Mondays at 8PM on CW.


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