Full disclosure: I haven't read the Naomi comics.
So, I am coming into this season at large as a newbie, though I'm not entirely ignorant of the DC Universe and everything that it entails. But I wanted to put that out there, as some easter eggs and casual mentions of things that ardent fans may pick up on may go over my head.
However, I'll be here with a fresh pair of eyes, and if Naomi Season 1 Episode 1 is anything to go by, I'll be singing the praises of Naomi for weeks to come.
Pilots are a tricky thing.
Often, they either work, or they don't. And you bet a lot on a pilot because if it doesn't grip viewers, then they won't stick around.
You'll want to stick around for this one.
The best part of the opening hour is how they're able to introduce the characters and the world without inundating the audience with too much information. We can easily pick up on the character relationships based on brief check-ins instead of multiple information dumps via voiceover.
As the titular character, Naomi is straight-up cool. She's the life of the party, literally. The opening sequence is a fun, little high school party with loud music and questionable dancing, but Naomi owns the crowd as soon as she arrives.
Learning right away that she's a Superman fanatic is an excellent way to get you into the superhero headspace. But it's also clear that this show will be looking to be more than just a story about powers, inevitable conflicts, and flashy set-pieces.
This will be the story of a 16-year-old girl discovering who she is in more ways than one.
Kaci Walfall makes a powerful debut here. She's captivating and has a great presence on-screen. She looks every bit the part of a teenager finding her way, and while the script gives her an awful lot to work with within the first hour, she kills every scene.
She's got a great connection with nearly everyone, and even though we only get a little taste here and there, there's a promise of more to come.
Naomi is flanked by a group of friends who overwhelmingly have one thing in common; they all love her.
Annabelle is the best friend Naomi seemingly trusts with everything, while Nathan is the ex. And Anthony and Lourdes don't get a ton to do here outside of sharing a heart eyes scene with the future hero, but they all make the most of their time in the pilot.
Honestly, within the group of six, the only ones who don't seem to be interested in Naomi outside of a friendship are Annabelle and her boyfriend, Jacob. But it's easy to see why she has so many admirers. Hell, I admire her already.
Naomi: Lourdes keeps texting me about the Superman thing.
Greg: Wait, Lourdes? Wait, which one is she again?
Jennifer: Purple hair. She has a crush on Naomi.
Greg: Does that mean no more Nathan?
Jennifer: They broke up last month. I thought you were dating Anthony.
Naomi: Can we please not talk about this?
Even though this is a story about superpowers and multiverses, it's also a story about coming-of-age. And even though it's brief, there's already the quintessential teen drama percolating in the background.
Though, it's obvious Naomi has the kind of friends who will have your back because they were all ready to break into Zumbado's scary car dealership like it was just a regular thing they did, like go out for pizza after the big Homecoming game.
Nathan and Anthony aren't enemies, but they're far from friends, given their interest in Naomi. But perhaps there's a scenario in which these two can become best friends instead of enemies.
And while we don't know nearly enough to make an opinion about whom Naomi should "choose," everyone seems to have a chance, with Nathan probably slightly in the lead due to his increased screentime over the others.
It's also touched upon briefly that there's a divide between the townies and those whose families are in the military. That figures to come into play at some point in the future, as does the fact that Naomi begins to feel unwell precisely two times; on the way to the Superman fight and when she's on the base.
Naomi: I remember when my dad bought me my first comic. We were living in Japan. I was having trouble making friends. Those comics have always made me happy and free. But ever since the stunt in the square, I feel off.
Annabelle: Off, how?
Naomi: This whole thing, it has me feeling…I don’t know. Strange. Not bad. Just different. I don’t even recognize the feeling. I have to figure out what’s happening.
Outside of her core group of friends, Naomi's adopted parents seem like the most chill parents you're ever going to meet. They tease her about her long list of suitors and gift her with some car keys after she complains one time about having to get from A to B on her skateboard.
But when things inevitably start going sideways, Greg and Jenn suddenly don't seem quite so chill.
When Naomi brought up Dee to them, they were evasive, and both the audience and the teenager herself could see that they were hiding something.
And that was a recurring theme for her after the events in the square.
Let's talk about the incident at the square. Is it safe to say that as it stands right now, this world doesn't fully believe in the existence of superheroes?
Based on some comments and the fact that everyone automatically assumes two men flying through the air in the middle of the day is a stunt, it's a safe assumption this isn't a planet where there are memorabilia, parades, and cereals for the masked crusaders who keep the streets safe.
So, Naomi exists in a universe where Superman is merely some kind of myth.
Naomi's obsession with the Man of Steel makes sense, as it's clear there's a connection there, though it's unclear if that's a loose connection or a strong one. That's something to play out throughout the season, presumably.
But the scene itself is one of utter chaos. And choosing not to show us the event in a traditional manner is very clever because it only adds to the heightened sense of wonder as we try to piece together what's happening at the same time Naomi is.
Superman's arrival sparks something that has Naomi's ears buzzing and her sight getting remarkably better when she sheds herself of her cute frames. And it's that moment that sets her forth on her journey.
Traveling into the woods alone to investigate Superman's supposed appearance was obviously not the best move, but she's 16. We'll cut her some slack here.
Coming face to face with Zumbado was slightly anti-climatic, but this is only the pilot.
All we really needed was the be introduced to the big bad, not have some kind of big showdown between the two. And while Zumbado's speech was that of a man who sounds the complete opposite of a superhero, he also gave Naomi some good advice.
On a journey of self-discovery, you will often have to second, and triple guess everything you find out. Not everyone you meet has your best interests at heart. And Naomi will have to parcel through her own preconceived notions and compare them to what she learns along the way.
Lucky for her, she will have Dee to help her along the way. Maybe.
While Dee seems to have a soft spot for Naomi, it's also clear he's going to be a bit of a tough nut to crack. He's not exactly the most forthcoming or outgoing person. He's quite brooding, which isn't uncommon for the would-be mentor of a person who doesn't yet under their destiny.
But it's easy to see he's a teacher, and he makes Naomi think deeply about what it is she should be after.
Sure, there are a million things you want to know when a man sprouts wings right in front of your face, but what's most important for Naomi to know? She knows things are changing, and she is changing, and that's what Dee wants her to prioritize.
Naomi: Please. Can you just give us some answers?
Dee: I can’t give you answers when you’re not asking the right questions.
Who is she?
We're going to find out throughout the season, and the captivating pilot is all the reason you need to stick around for the ride.
- The CW does crossovers very well, so my expectations are sky-high for Superman and Naomi to come together in the future.
- The music in the premiere is fire.
- Here's where I am at a disadvantage because I can't figure out if his Zumbado is a master villain. Or if maybe there's more there than meets the eye.
- There wasn't a need for a ton of flashy CGI or anything, but the supercut video of all the various clips from the Superman fight was great. I was gasping right along with Naomi and Nathan.
- One head-scratching moments was the whole scene at the car dealership and the kids roaming around with flashlights like no one would notice that if they were strolling by.
- Another head-scratcher was the scene of Naomi literally explaining to another character something we just saw on-screen, which wasn't the best use of time. But those minor grievances don't take away from a strong debut.
Please feel free to drop all the various shipper names in the comments because there will surely be a time where we'll need to use them.
I can't stress enough how excited I am to go on this journey through Naomi Season 1 with you guys! I may be a Naomi novice, but I'm diving in and ready to break it all down for you guys!
While we wait for what comes next, let me know what you thought about the premiere!
What grade would you give it?
What was your favorite scene?
Drop all your comments down below! And come back to TV Fanatic to watch Naomi online anytime your heart desires!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.