Supergirl is like the girl version of Superman.
There. No need for an introductory paragraph. I said it.
Supergirl was Arrowverse’s first female-led superhero show, and it was just apt to have it that way. Even before the news came out, it was a no-brainer that the first female superhero who would get their own show within the Arrowverse starts with Wonder, Bat, or Super.
When the first news broke about Supergirl being made into series in 2014, the excitement was overflowing. Add to that the news of Calista Flockhart and Chyler Leigh casting into the roles of Cat Grant and Alex Danvers, respectively.
Also, being a fan of the multiple incarnations of Superman in films and television, I couldn’t help but be intrigued about what could make Supergirl, as the main hero, different than when she was just a side character next to her famous super-cousin.
Let’s face it: Supergirl wouldn’t be Supergirl if it wasn’t for Superman. And, that really is why she feels less super. The comparison is bigger when it comes to similarities than their differences. And, more often than not, the differences are what makes her feel weaker than stronger.
It isn’t about gender. Don’t worry, feminism will still be alive even after this post.
But before we head completely to that one, I’d like to point out other things that make Supergirl feel less super.
Kara Danvers was a ray of sunshine when we first met her. She was bubbly and had that adorable, dorky laugh that would dig in the minds of the viewers. She had a personality that was headstrong but determined.
Superman wasn’t like that, but the difference made Supergirl more emotionally-inclined than levelheaded. When you are a superhero, and the world (or, at least, a city) is counting on your abilities, you have to think about them and not about yourself.
That is not usually the case with Supergirl. She would always think of the people, but her actions would do otherwise once her emotions start kicking in. That was also why Cat Grant was the best mentor Supergirl ever had on the show.
The contrasting disposition of the two characters made them a powerhouse tandem. Whereas Kara Danvers would think of her emotions, Cat Grant could easily sway her into becoming more sensible and think of others before herself.
Also, Kara always wanted to be a superhero just like her cousin, but she was always stopped by her family because they wanted her to live a “normal” life, which was odd because that meant she’d be suppressing her true nature.
For a family that was open-minded and supportive, that seemed too unrealistic.
In a way, it was different than Clark Kent’s experience. He didn’t know he had superpowers and didn’t even have a memory of coming from another planet. Kara knew everything and still chose to hide when her cousin had already shown his true self to the world.
When Supergirl Season 1 Episode 1 came out, it was everything I had hoped for and everything I was afraid of.
Loss of Great Major Characters
One of the first slips of the show was losing too many characters. We were introduced with many great characters such as Cat Grant, Maxwell Lord, and Lucy Lane to name a few, and they were all gone by the Supergirl Season 2.
To be fair, it was not the show’s fault that they had to move from Los Angeles to Canada; from CBS to The CW. The actors are also not to be blamed that they preferred not to work in another country because there are bigger things in life than just the show.
However, this is a television show wherein consistency is never to be overlooked.
This is something I needed to mention because Cat Grant was a huge loss, but we were still given a few glimpses of hers every now and then. The show also updates us about her whereabouts and what she had been doing in her screen absence.
Probably one of the most disappointing losses was when Jeremy Jordan left the show. Why? Because, for a so-called best friend, we hadn’t seen much of his backstory with Kara. Even in dialogue, we were never given a story of their history.
They weren’t the only losses to be frowned upon. There was Jenna Dewan as Lucy Lane and Peter Facinelli as Maxwell Lord. Whatever happened to the other Lane sister? Will we get to see her again in the crossover now that we know Lois Lane is showing up? And why on earth did Supergirl just abandon Maxwell Lord alone?
Inconsistent Character Focus
The moment we came into the second season, the focus shifted from character to character.
Normally, it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Subplots are just as important as the main ones, and supporting characters apart from Supergirl are the ones who hold the responsibility for that.
However, as the show is named Supergirl, the story needed to revolve around Supergirl. In the past seasons, that was not the case. It felt more like other characters were the center of the show, and Supergirl was sidelined with her love affairs.
One of the things that I loved about Superman was the utilization of villains. There was one big bad that would always be that one big bad. In Supergirl, we were introduced to different villains and they were very unworthy of our screen time.
One example? Sam/Reign.
She was everything I wanted as a villain. She was smart, successful, independent, and she still able to pull off mommy duties without having to look for a romantic interest. Talk about feminism, y'all!
But her transition to Reign was abrupt. That said, it was nice that she was biologically made to be stronger than Supergirl. There were more times that she was able to defeat Supergirl, and Supergirl had a hard time beating Reign because she doesn’t kill.
Add to that the moment when Kara Danvers learned that Reign was actually her friend, Sam. That made it a lot harder.
So, numerous face-offs came and countless confrontations happened, and we just ended up with a Reign-less world and a season where the development of a character didn’t matter in the overall storyline. Why? Because Sam just left.
I think it’s odd that we’ve been meeting villains that go away after serving a purpose. I’d believe if it happened once or twice, but it has been working for the past couple of seasons.
Great Resemblance with Superman
Somehow, it feels like elaborating on this one is unnecessary, but let me clarify this one out. It’s like the show is sponging from Superman’s accomplishments.
As I said, I was so excited to see the differences the Arrowverse was going to make between Supergirl and Superman. But, instead of getting that, we were slapped in the face of the fact that they are from the same planet, share the same race, and therefore will have to face identical shenanigans.
They even tried to make James Olsen the male version of Lois Lane by making him work with Kara in the same company. They made Kara a glass-wearing reporter just like his cousin, but Clark was more of a reporter than Kara.
For characters that are supposed to be different, they made them far too similar to one another. So, I think it’s enough to say that they wanted to make it that way. However, it’s becoming a problem because we already have a Superman.
Regardless that this is a girl version of him, they should be able to create an identity outside of what has already been done before.
They can maybe even kill their Earth’s Superman so that Kara could find her own in her world wherein she will be able to stand on her own and never be comparisons between her and her more famous cousin can be stopped.
What Can Change?
We’re already in the fourth season, but I don’t believe changes are impossible to be made. The first thing that needs to be done is to give Kara her own identity. Something that would make her unique compared to Clark Kent rather than being the gender bent version of Superman.
As a hero that’s named Supergirl, she should embody being a woman rather than an awkward teen. They should be able to show how Kara can be logical rather than a character that is emotionally-driven because that would show that Kara isn’t really ready to tackle on worldly tasks if she can’t set aside her own emotions.
With that said, I still believe that Supergirl has a lot to offer.
Being a part of her journey isn’t hard. What’s hard is that it sometimes feel like a copycat version of someone else’s journey. And, for a hero that has known who she’s always been, it’s hard to follow the apparent fact that she still hasn’t found who she truly is—as a human and Kryptonian.
What do you think? Do you think Supergirl is just a gender bent version of Superman? Do you think she’ll ever be able to get out from the shadows of her famous cousin?
Remember to watch Supergirl online at TV Fanatic and let us know what you think about Supergirl in the comments below.