Supergirl Season 1 Now Available
The first season of Supergirl is now available in two ways:
You can stream the episodes for free via the CW website, in conjunction with the channel (that’s acquired the show for season 2) re-airing the episodes.
Or you can buy the entire season, 20 episodes, now on Blu-ray or DVD. The Blu-ray also comes with a digital UltraViolet copy. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment gave me a free copy of the Blu-ray set for this review, but even if they hadn’t, I would have bought one, because I want to be able to rewatch the show multiple times.
I really like the way Supergirl has taken what’s essential to the character — her youth, her femininity, and her heroism — and found ways to make those qualities feel modern and relevant. Melissa Benoist does a fabulous job capturing the struggles of a young woman who wants to do the right thing and knows she can make a difference, given the opportunity. She has the energy and optimism and determination I expect in Supergirl. She can play brave but she can also play uncertainty and disillusionment and most importantly, hope.
You know the story — Supergirl is Superman’s younger cousin, and she’s attempting to be a hero in her own right under his shadow. Only this version makes a big deal out of her original mission being to take care of him, a plan thwarted by the uncertainties of uncontrolled space travel. That’s a nice nod to the caretaking role women are often given, but also a way to put her on a more equal footing.
I also appreciate the wide range of female characters. When you only have one or two women in a cast, then they wind up bearing the brunt of representing all the things a woman can or should be. Instead, here, we have older and younger, sister and mother, family and friends. Actually, that’s the one area Supergirl could be stronger in — Kara doesn’t have a friend who’s a girl, although her relationship with her sister (a new character, played by Chyler Leigh) often fills that role.
I’m surprised by how much I like Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart). A character who could have been a stereotype (evil boss or worse, corporate bitch) or plot device (obstacle to overcome to get to heroing) is actually a complex exploration of a different view of female power. The rationale for calling her “Supergirl”, expressed directly in a scene between Kara and Cat, is a bit strained, but it makes sense that Cat is most concerned with being the one to name her. And the more I saw her, the more I appreciated how Flockhart could get beyond the brittle and demanding to build a real character.
I like James Olson (Mehcad Brooks) as an adult-ish mentor and crush object, with a career instead of sidekick status. I admit, I could have done with less of the conspiracy organization, the DEO, and less of the evil Kryptonians, but at least it made for more Laura Benanti (playing both Kara’s mother and evil aunt/general of the alien forces, twin sisters), who’s amazing.
You don’t see this much any more, which is a shame, but the set includes a separate three-panel episode guide brochure. I find that a big help in figuring out which ones to rewatch first. The extra features include deleted scenes and a four-minute gag reel of bloopers and blunders, which is mostly people cracking up and pulling silly faces, plus these featurettes:
- 15 minutes of the 2015 Comic-Con panel, which took place before the series debuted and led into a public early showing of the pilot.
- “The Man From Mars”, nine minutes about the character of Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), portrayed as the demanding boss we’ve all had and the father figure in Kara’s superhero family.
- “A World Left Behind: Krypton” shows the scifi world of the lost planet (in 11 minutes) and looks at Supergirl’s heritage and original family.