No show this fall had the scrutiny of “Supergirl,” or the pressure to succeed. CBS took a huge gamble on a superhero show, especially one without any A-list stars and with the history of female-driven shows in the genre being spotty at best.
Is this gamble proving to be a smart one? That’s something we will profile further in this latest chapter of our Midseason Report Card series.
What worked – We feel like the cast is bringing almost everything that they can to make this show the best it can be. Melissa Benoist is playing Kara with passion and heart, and we’re really liking what David Harewood, Jeremy Jordan, and Mehcad Brooks are bringing to their parts in particular. The show has struggled at times to balance some of the humor with the action sequences and the drama, but they’ve gotten a little better.
Perhaps the best decision they made so far was changing Harewood’s Hank Henshaw into the Martian Manhunter in disguise. Before this, he was predictably the Harrison Wells of the show, waiting in the wings to be Cyborg Superman. Given the expectation that the hero will always win, you do have to figure out a way to shake things up a little bit to catch viewers by surprise in different ways.
What didn’t – We have to start here with a word probably no one wants to hear: “Superman.” We wish that the show had just created this in a universe where he wasn’t around. That may be controversial, but he is the elephant in the room any time that there is a conversation about super-powered people in National City. It also speaks a little bit to much to the series’ repeated attempts to ensure that there is a message as opposed to having one pop up organically through Kara’s actions.
The last thing we’d comment on here are the villains, which feel for the most part under-developed and not all that interesting. Compare Astra right now to Harrison Wells in “The Flash” season 1, or Malcolm Merlyn on “Arrow.” She simply has not been around enough for us to really get a hold on who she is.
Overall – “Supergirl” is doing a lot right. The action sequences are superb and the storytelling has improved throughout season 1. However, the decline in viewers (the show’s lost close to 50% in the 18-49 demographic since the premiere) is telling that there is something here viewers aren’t catching on to. We feel like part of it is that viewers just want to see the show have a little more fun. Midseason Grade: B-.