Alright, so I’m probably gonna piss off some fans right now. I’m also not going to make any friends within some feminist circles either. Despite this, I’m going to say it any way. Supergirl is a terrible show that should be cancelled!!! If for no other reason, to create space for a better show to take it’s place. Please note that I do not make this proclamation lightly, I suffered through 15 episodes, far more than the agreed upon four episodes required before passing judgement. Ultimately I wanted to like the show, but it is too bad for even my 1980’s nostalgia to withstand. Also, unlike my fellow geek brother Phayce, I don’t write this out of a disdain for all things Superman related, I actually like the alien boy scout in red and blue underwear. Supergirl sucks, and here’s why:

The acting and storytelling are not very good. Melissa Benoist has been tasked with leading this franchise, however, her acting is unconvincing. I don’t find her believable as a bumbling Kara Danvers or as Supergirl, arguably one of the top five strongest beings on earth, at least within the context of the show. After hiding in the shadows for so long, Kara finally decides to come out as a hero, that’s great, but she still lacks the determination to assume the mantle. She spends so much time second guessing herself that she might as well be useless. Between her limited range as an actor, and the litany of tropes used for her character, I honestly don’t see how this show still has a viewership. Speaking of storytelling, the “love triangle” between Kara, Wenn and James, plus Lucy, is lame. So lame in fact, I’m just not going to elaborate any further.

This brings me to my next point, Supergirl lacks agency. All of the second guessing and insecurities have seriously undermined this character. Supergirl is just as powerful as Superman, who’s basically a god walking among men, but she acts as though she needs validation at every turn. As the father of a young daughter, I would hope that I’m teaching my little girl to be confident, self assured, self reliant, you know, strong. Supergirl in my opinion, had, I guess she still has, an opportunity to serve as a fictional role model. But she fails to embrace her true strength. Her relationship with Cat Grant further serves to diminish her agency, as she spends most of her working day getting bullied by her boss. I understand the argument about managing bad bosses, or having the power to hurt and choosing not to, but this is different. She can find another job, but she chooses to be Cat’s punching bag. It’s like watching a codependent abusive relationship. I’m not saying every female character should be Agent May a.k.a. the Calvary, but can we get a little more Agent Carter and a little less lost babe in the woods.

Which leads me to another point, the most interesting character on Supergirl, is not Supergirl! Between episode seven’s (Human for a Day) big reveal that Hank Henshaw is actually J’onn J’onzz a.k.a. the Martian Manhunter, and episode eleven’s (Strange Visitor from Another Planet) back story which reveals how J’onn lost his family, Hank is the most interesting character on the show. In addition, David Harewood is probably the best actor on the show as well. That’s a sad statement given that the show is called Supergirl and not Martian Manhunter.

In bringing up J’onn, I must note that the special effects for the show are lacking. I honestly feel as though CBS dialed it back ten years and skimped on the special effects budget. In epsiode 14, the Master Jailer’s costume looked more like really good cosplay, than an actual network television costume designer’s sincere attempt at a design. The same can be said for the Kryptonian unitards, Livewire’s makeup, and Red Tornado. I could go on, but I think I made the point. In addition, the wire work is stilted and the fight sequences are stiff. As an example, J’onn’s fight with Astra in episode 13 was like watching a clay-mation puppet show. I also think they weakened J’onn somewhat for the show, but I’ll save that critique for another rant.

The thing that really separates a good superhero show from the failures, are the villains. Jessica Jones and Daredevil excelled beyond expectations because of their writing, character development, acting and villains. Good villains are the secret ingredient to making a great superhero show. Villains push heroes to reach beyond their perceived limitations, they force them to grapple with their hubris, their own mortality, their sense of morality. Without the mirror and counter weight villains provide, heroes are just villains waiting to be born. Supergirl has yet to present a compelling villain, which explains why she can’t see her own failures as a character.

Lastly, I think Supergirl has to make a decision, is it going to be a female version of a Superman coming of age story, or will it begin to chart new territory. Netflix, Fox, the CW and ABC have all proved that it’s possible with shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, AGENTS of Shield, and even Arrow and Flash. CBS will have to do the same with Supergirl, if not, I’m fully tapping out for season 2! As always, these are my thoughts, I would love to hear yours in the comments or on Twitter…

24 COMMENTS

  1. Supergirl is bad because it is too “feminine”, and perhaps the show is suited for teenagers.
    In Supergirl we find too much whining, hugs, tears, words of comfort. Supergirl is a crybaby, her sweet heart is hurted by any minor problem: her inferiority complex, the old sorrow with her aunt and her cousin, the tragedy of people dying in the world, or some silly behaviour with her friends or her sister. Even when she is messaging with Clark, she is whining, and she gets a kind word in the chat. Really guys! This is ridiculous, she needs to heal from her depression… perhaps tell her a joke, give her some sex, perhaps she is victim of the mobbing at work?? Kill Cat Grant, please!

    I am a man, and i am interested in sci-fi and fantasy, but now i think to pass this show because it is awful. The plot is weak and characters have very low credibility, they are silly and annoying. Also, the authors repeat the same theme again and again: the emancipation of a young woman (a very naive one), and in general they follow the girl power ideology. So, I can take this psycho-drama for 1 or 2 episodes, but i am fed up after 10 episodes fo the same thing.
    Kara is not growing in her path of the hero, she stays sweet and dumb. Cat Grant is childish, more than Kara, her vanity is epic, she is trivial, irresponsible, still she can manage a company… i wonder how. Villains are weak, they don’t have a story, they are doomed at first sight, they are not smart or troublesome. Astra is a woman, so she is not dumb like males, and she is not evil as them. They are just keeping the rules of this crap of movies. I will not be surprised if in future Astra will team up with Kara to save the world, or she will die to protect her.

    Another thing i can’t stand is idiocy. I know we need to suspend our disbelief in this kind of fiction, but please, there is a limit. Many decisions are weird, and they are taken because something must happen (for example Grant’s son going in the fast train with Maxwell Lord without a ticket and without parents). Then, Kara is showing her face to Cat Grant the whole day, and she comes back as Supergirl many times, in plain light, and without voice changer. Really she can deceive someone changing dress?? No way! At some point Cat Grant understands the truth, but instead of a revelation, they decided to put Kara and Supergirl in the same room (J’onn J’onzz takes Supergirl’s form), but the effect is worse if you see two twins in front of you! The scene is so weird and messy. If they wanted to keep the secret Grant and Supergirl should never have met together, there are many ways to keep mistery between them, but now it is too late.

  2. Supergirl sucks because she’s presented as weak and incapable. Little things like explosions, lightning, and such knock her out, injure her, leave her actually winded. A simple bomb nearly killed her and she had to be saved by humans (DEO!). SuperMAN used to hug nukes so when they went off his cape captured the blast, or his body shielded earth. I’m watching the superman tv show now from the 90s and he’s played as strong, capable, never flumoxed or out of breath or in any way troubled by assaults of any kind. Heck, he swallowed a bomb his first show and it went off in his guts. If supergirl wants to succeed, she needs to start acting like she actually does have all superman’s powers and stop looking like a weak girl who’s extra strong but not much else. Hence, I’ve lost interest after 4 episodes.

  3. The acting is bad and the writing leaves much to be desired. A good show has great story telling and amazing actors to execute that story. The visual fx should be the cherry on top. All of these elements are subpar which, now a days, means a show is a failure. There are too many great actors and amazing writers that should have the time slot. They can do a great supergirl show but this just isn’t it.

  4. I have got to episode 5 Season 2. Could not finish watching it. I suspect the show is being written by 13 year old school girls. It is just so stupid. You would need to be absolutely brain dead to get any enjoyment from this show as it is now being presented. I have now wiped it from my viewing list

  5. It’s so irritating to watch the show. I am a huge DC fan and this show disappoints me. They are portraying SuperGirl as weak. One punch and she is out like a light. As for Superman, you try to punch him and your entire hand is broken. SuperGirl has not utilized her power. For goodness sakes she has every power that Superman has. Her insecurities and her need for clarification is annoying. I love watching the Flash! The two shows are kind of made the same way but different storylines. But with the Flash, he embraces his power. When he first received his power, he was confused at first needed a little clarification but he managed to utilize his power. I’ve seen him reach his limits. I have a lot of fun watching him use his powers. It’s exciting. As far as SuperGirl…I barely get any excitement, except when Martian ManHunter gears up. Though they make him look weak as well. He has the ability to be invisible, telepathy, shapeshift…etc. On the show he only shapeshifts into other people. On the cartoon, Justice League, he turned into different aliens and monsters. They really downplayed him in the show. And the Superman on this show was lame too. I was excited to hear SuperGirl and Superman were finally going to see and fight with each other. But I was disappointed. This Superman seemed too “happy” and just boring and lame! Some of the actors/actresses in this show need a little more practice. Overall, SuperGirl is a real disappoint and the Flash…well…ITS AWESOME!

  6. I just started watching this series and I made it through most of season one. I’m just going to say it: Melissa Benoist is a terrible actor. I have absolutely no idea how this girl landed this gig. (Is she someone’s daughter or….) The first opportunity she had to show a bit of depth/talent in a dramatic scene, her performance was so bad I felt embarrassed for her. This is yet another American series loaded with “pretty”/untalented zombies. As usual, expectations appear to be (earths-core) low, so long as there’s enough eye candy to woo tweens into making it a ratings supernova. I’ve decided to go into hibernation until America hires a casting director from the BBC, where talent generally trumps glamour.

  7. i gotta be honest i watched like five minutes of it and stopped. I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting weak one dimensional characters and boy did it help save me from watching too much of that show.I could already see where it was heading. Spineless main character who can’t be bothered to find a different job somewhere else.. Funny side characters. Mean boss who’s mean just because. Main character shows her secret identity to a potential love entrust because friends shouldn’t hide secrets from one another(which I absolutely hate because friends are not entitled to know your every little secret. It happens every time. For once I’d like it if they could manage to keep it to themselves for once. It just bothers me). I don’t even like seeing the lead actresses face anymore. Nothing against her bit that shows is trash and I feel like I have to avoid everything remotely associated with it in any way. If they were going to make the characters and story line so stupid they might as well have made it a comedy and not a drama. Even those shows on Disney channel have better story lines.

  8. I am so disappointed in this show.

    Kara is presented completely outside of the DC Supergirl legend. With DC, she was as powerful as Superman and that was immensely more than portrayed on this show.

    To show thecKrytonian power for instance, in one DC issue many years ago, Superman appeared to be just standing on his head when a global crisis endangered the Earth. However, what he was actually doing was saving the planet by moving it.

    DC presented the Kryptonians as powerful enough to control a planetary move without causing it to stop or throw people off into space. Since Supergirl was not inferior to Superman, it is difficult to watch this show wherein Supergirl’s character is presented as weak and so easily and repeatedly beaten.

    The last episode I watched had Supergirl depleting her energy and invulnerability by using her heat vision too much. Where did that concept come from? Afterward, she was supposedly no stronger than a human. How lame and contrary to the Kryptonian storyline. No wonder people don’t like the show. It could have been so different if they simply followed the original storyline. I suppose it is too late to save it now.

    • I really can’t disagree with you. The show would have been much better if Supergirl was presented as a strong, self assured character. Her lack of power, especially as a Kryptonian who grew up on krypton, makes little sense.

  9. Supergirl made an appearance in another cool TV series called the Flash! She just bored the hell out of me with her stupid acting and weirdness.
    I feel sorry for you man!! 15 episodes?? seriously?? lol! I mean what possessed you to watch that crap for such a long time?

    • I did it for the fans. My job is to take one for the team. I take thank you’s in the form of cash, credit, and cheesecake! Lol!

  10. Supergirl is so weak on this show it’s a joke. And they have the cheek to repeatedly call her the most powerful woman on the planet. She gets beaten up by every new villain that shows up, including armed humans. Martian Manhunter is routinely beaten up too, whom Superman himself considers to be the most powerful being on Earth. Is there no way to make a compelling show without making the heroes so vulnerable? Same problem with Arrow and The Flash. Green Arrow gets beaten by every new guy. Even though he has slain Ra’s al Ghul. If both guys hadn’t fought before, and Green Arrow always loses, that makes him lousy.

  11. Thought I would weigh in. Loved the article! Agreed with everything in the article. But I am going to add a slight racial spin. So, we see that they chose to cast a black actor to play Jimmy Olson, or “James” as he likes to be called in the series. And maybe some saw this as brave. So then, WHY can’t they (the writers) go all the way and have cast both Superman AND super girl with people of color? See, what I am sensitive to is this attitude that the powers at be of these franchises have to insult me by appearing to be “sensitive” to “opens” by dipping their tow in the water and “Throw a Bone” to the people of color communities. Thanks but no thanks. We deserve better and more!

    What? Just because Superman was drawn as a White guy, he has to stay that way? Jimmy Olson was drawn as a white guy, and and casting said “hey how about this…let’s cast a black guy to be Olsen!” and BAMF Jimmy is now a black guy. soooo….how would casting Superman and super girl with black or other people of color hurt?

    For those who see to purposefully misunderstand me by saying (or thinking) something like this:

    “What the hell do you want? Black people play other super heroes! What about Wesley Snipes as Blade? Or more recently, Michael B. Jordan cast as Johnny Storm?”

    Well, in many cases, POC cast as “Super human” or with “Super Powers” tend to be with body altering aspects based on their fundamental powers. Blade is a vampire, and not what you would call a positive role model for our kids. Johnny Storm’s body turns into fire, so as the hero, ummm…no, can’t tell. Firestorm played by black actor Franz Alhusaine Drameh in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is in the same situation as Jordan.

    My main complaint is that the most recognizable superheroes (Batman, Superman, Spiderman, etc…) are NEVER portrayed by people of color. I would like to see that change.

    -Michael Kickingbear

    Michael Kickingbear is the co-host of the Native Opinion podcast, a current affairs show from the Native American perspective.

  12. I found this article,solely because I was wondering if people were genuinely as disappointed as I am with the show. Other shows in the D.C. Lineup have upped their game immensely,Legends of Tomorrow a prime example.Supergirl is just all over the place.I am forcing myself to watch the season ,just to keep up with the other shows and make sure I don’t miss anything.The problem is,even with the crossover episodes ,Supergirl was the weakest link.

  13. The show sucks. The script is week the acting sucks the directing decisions are for like a kids show. So predictable. Very disappointed. And im not a but sore nerd who thinks the show has to be exactly like the comics. The show sucks, period.

  14. Solo disappointed in this show. They made it into a damn soap opera. Too much talking with cheesy music playing in the background. Her sister discovers she is a lesbian just so they can have one on the show. People fighting about stupid crap just so the person can learn something about themselves and grow as a person, and finally make up with the person at the end. Why is this crap in a super hero show? I can fix this show. Make a cool villain that can fight super girl, then have a big fight scene (without super girl trying to talk the bad guy into therapy) and our hero defeats the villain. Stop all this pointless soap opera crap. Talk, talk, talk, cry, whine, complain that it’s not fair, cry some more, eat ice cream with sister, break a nail, etc. God I hate this show.

  15. When you can’t stand the main character of a show then that show has a big problem. Kara is whiney, spoiled, constantly confused, naive, socially inept and bad at her job. Add to that she seems incapable of learning the exact same lessons week after week. She’s self centered to the point of narcissism and her “friends” and family are constantly enabling that behaviour.

    The last straw for me is she decides to be a reporter and thinks she can pull it off because: DETERMINATION!! …or something. Of course she fails miserably. Is she so incredibly stupid that she couldn’t – at the absolute minimum – google the damn job?!

    This show isn’t just bad, it’s infuriating.

  16. I did like the show in the beginning but I started to like it less towards the end of the first year. Now in it’s second year it really sucks.
    This is why it sucks:
    1) it is just too dam “millenial” centered. Give me a fricken brake with the “everything is just so ok” bullshit
    2) the writers just had to make Alex a lesbian. It absolutely adds nothing to the show and has nothing to do with the plots and quite frankly they are not at all believable. But of course there had to be lesbians just so it could be PC. Now that Alex is a carpet muncher, have you noticed she’s doing lousy at her job.
    3) the women on the show are the only ones with any power (with the exception of henshaw who BTW is not a white American man). The girls are kicking ass all over the place. OK, I know the show is a fantasy but at least there could be a little semblance of realism. I would love to see Alex danvers get into a fight in real life and watch her get swatted like a fly.
    4)The men are portrayed as such wuss bags. It’s ridiculous how the men don’t make a move without consulting the women. And everyone has been in love with kara at some time. Give me a break.
    5) whatever happened to Cat Grant. She was actually good on the show and they got rid of her. Stupid stupid stupid move. I hope that Flockhart went on to bigger and better things but from this show, the only way to go is up.
    6) And what happened to Max. Did he get the axe because he was the only man on the shows with balls.

    Anyways, the show could have been great but it sucks and I think it sucks because the writers suck.

    To the producers of the show: do yourselves a favor — instead of getting rid of good characters on the show, get rid of your writing staff and hire new ones who are NOT millenial centered, PC welcoming, man hating, responsible for their own orgasms feminist.

    • Total agreement.
      #5) I heard they moved production to Canada and Flockhart didn’t want to move so bowed out and left.

  17. Total agreement with wonderment that it has a fan base. The contrived plot angles are stale and made only to obtain certain goals. The lesbian indoctrination is beyond belief. Last night was the “Winn’s GF is actually a thief” episode where the police woman actually allowed Winn to go free AND THEN KISSED HER GF in the interview room after she agree to release him to said GF??? I would have asked for her badge and gun if she actually had any sort of commander. “Yeah I released the prisoner to my girlfriend and got a kiss for doing so.” WHAT???!!!!???!!
    And the story telling! Good God! Are these actors and people even watching their own plot lines and events? Things happen in which you have to wonder WTF every five minutes. “How the heck does a person of even minimal intelligence allow such events to occur unnoticed?”
    Super strong bad GF attacks human but her super strength doesn’t cut him in half? Human punches super strong alien and it has an affect on said alien??? Have you ever been attacked by a 5yo? Imagine reaching to such an attack like you’d been hit by Mike Tyson. Nope. Not gonna happen.
    And the stupidity of some of the social issue arguments. Once the Martian Manhunter, WHO CAN ASSUME THE DISGUISE OF ANYONE HE WANTS complained about being a black man. EXCUSE ME??? You can be ANY COLOR you want and you CHOSE to be black and are now complaining about it? (Instead of standing up for it.) “Gosh I wish I would stop driving this nail through my hand but I’m doing so so I can complain about the pain.”
    Almost ever episode seems like a push of Liberal dogma forced into plot lines. I’ve seen lesbianism, global warming, lesbianism, whites are bad people, lesbianism, votes weren’t counted, lesbianism, Conservatives are bad, and lesbianism wedged into the show so much now there’s about 10 minutes of SG action and 50 minutes of commercials and indoctrination.
    I agree with you. Pull this d*nmed plug, End the indoctrination, end the plots you can write from the first 30 seconds, end the bad acting, end the extras who don’t know what the story line is, just end it all.
    There are other, BETTER super heroines not all who are Wonder Woman. No, really, there are!
    And here’s a BIG clue: Those shows not force feeding dogma run better.
    GAD!

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