Supergirl: The Complete Second Season
Big changes took place between Supergirl‘s first season (which aired on CBS) and the second one. With the move to the CW network came some cast changes, a new set for the DEO organization scenes, and a new direction for several of the characters.
(The studio, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, provided me with a free review copy of this season set. My opinions below are mine.)
Gone are evil mogul Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli), love rival Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan Tatum), and ghost of dead mom (Laura Bennati). But most missed by me is blunt inspiration Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), who went off to find a new challenge (although she appeared in the first two episodes of this season and the last two). I also was sad to see the burgeoning relationship between Supergirl and Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) abruptly gotten rid of in favor of alien bad boyfriend Mon-El (Chris Wood). What stuck with the show, and what was most important, was its message of hope; faith in self and friends; and the unshakeable sisterhood of Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh).
Kara became a reporter this season, unwillingly guided by Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez, who does a great job being grumpy), instead of an assistant. Jimmy, now James, took over running CatCo after Cat’s departure, and because that’s apparently not enough to keep him busy, he suits up as the Guardian, aided by Winn (Jeremy Jordan). Even if I didn’t think we needed yet another superhero — any show with a mysterious government organization, such as the DEO that Alex works for, already runs the risk of having too many scenes with people in dark outfits scowling at each other — the interplay between those two guys was great to watch.
The series relaunched with two episodes where Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) gave Supergirl his stamp of approval. This was only the first of a set of great guest appearances and cameos, from having Lynda Carter as the President to Mon-El’s empire-ruling parents, Kevin Sorbo and Teri Hatcher. Continued from last season, Helen Slater and Dean Cain play Alex’s parents and Kara’s adoptive parents.
I appreciated seeing Kara form a deeper friendship with Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), but the best relationship this season was watching Alex come out and start dating Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima). That journey was touching, occasionally tear-inducing, and ultimately heart-warming and inspirational, just what this show should be. I also liked seeing M’gann M’orzz (Sharon Leal) and her interactions with J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood) because I think they’re both great actors (better than their material, much of the time).
Sometimes I wish the show had more joy in it, but I did enjoy watching so many powerful female characters face off in the two-part finale. Supergirl, Alex, Maggie, and Cat had to ally with Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong) to rescue Mon-El and Lena from Rhea, Queen of Daxam (Teri Hatcher). Even if many of the plots are darker than I might like, the show has developed a substantial cast of characters worth watching.
The second season of Supergirl had 22 episodes and the following extras.
“Alien Fight Night” is ten minutes about the fight club episode I’d completely forgotten, with commentary from the writers and producers. I wish these pieces felt more like serious analyses of creating this kind of show, with its demand for 20+ episodes every year on a budget, instead of the self-congratulation they end up erring towards. “Aren’t we great for doing a story that dramatizes the struggles of immigrants?” they seem to say, although I do like that they’re trying to tackle current events through fictionalized equivalents. (Their commitment can be seen in how the last two episodes of the season are titled “Resist” and “Nevertheless, She Persisted”.)
There’s a commentary on the episode “Supergirl Lives” (on disc two) with writer Andrew Kreisberg and director Kevin Smith. That’s the one where Kara and Mon-El end up as slaves on another planet without their powers, but the two spend time talking about how inspiring the Alex/Maggie storyline has been to people, a sentiment I appreciate. They also share some valuable insights into the business of TV production, explaining, for example, why the first scene we see wasn’t directed by Smith.
“Aliens Among Us” (20 minutes) explores how Supergirl’s use of the idea of the alien, people who live with us who aren’t like us, sets it apart in the set of DC TV shows (which executive producer Kreisberg characterizes as Arrow = crime, Flash = metahumans and family, Legend = “just nuts”). Participating are executive producer Robert Rovner, VFX supervisor Armen Kevorkian, and Phil Cousineau, author and historian. They discuss how the series aims to create “real-world parables” through “the prism of a science fiction lens”, not a bad goal. I do wish they’d tackled the question of whether the President’s approach, being an alien without letting anyone know and appearing as human, could ever be valid or might be the wrong way to proceed. I know it made for a great reveal and positioned her as a secret ally, but politically, it’s not a good idea.
The 2016 Comic-Con Panel (28 1/2 minutes) was held before this season aired, so it’s mostly promotion and teasing for season two and talking about the network move and changes. It’s interesting to hear the panelists (mostly the actors) talk about how their characters have changed and grown and what’s been revealed over the series. There’s also lots of excitement for Tyler Hoechlin, who had been named as playing Superman but not yet seen in the role.
“A Conversation with Andrew Kreisberg and Kevin Smith” is four minutes about Smith working on The Flash before he directed an episode of Supergirl.
“Did You Know?” is seven bits of background trivia, each under a minute. They charmingly humanize the actors and characters, but this section should have had a play all.
I kept up with this season as the episodes originally aired, and I enjoyed revisiting some of the key moments and episodes in bigger chunks. Although the extras weren’t substantial, I particularly appreciated the few chances to see the cast as themselves.