Monday, May 25

The CBS Supergirl Pilot

For a brief time last Friday, a "leaked" copy of the pilot episode for the upcoming Supergirl television show that will premier on CBS this November (as I understand it) was pretty widely available on the Internet, including Youtube. It's since been pulled, so that the links simply take you to a statement that the content has been removed at the request of Warner Brothers, but I happened to find it at a time when I had an hour or so to kill, so in a rare lapse I went ahead and viewed it.

Now, exactly why this pilot episode appeared is itself a subject of debate out on the blogosphere, with a substantial body of opinion holding that the "leak" was engineered by the network or the producers themselves in reaction to considerably mixed reactions to the official release of a six-minute preview a week or so earlier, which is still available:

It would not be unheard-of. Apparently exactly the same thing happened last year when the preview of The Flash for CW was met with similar mixed reactions followed by a "leak" of the premier episode. (I did not watch that one, but we know how well that series was ultimately received, including by me.) So this leak may well have been an exercise in marketing in an attempt to drum up some positive buzz. If so, I'm happy to oblige, to a degree. So here are my spoiler-free thoughts ....

First, I thoroughly enjoyed the preview last week. I was not one of the nay-sayers. It left me really looking forward to the show itself – which is one reason I didn't put up much of a fight when I saw the pilot episode available for viewing. And this pilot episode does nothing to dampen my enthusiasm. I'm still very much looking forward to this addition to the growing staple of DC Comics properties on the small screen.

To be clear, my overall impression is good – I think they’ve definitely got the character down. I must also admit, however, that I’m a bit less enthusiastic about the overall story setting. Fortunately, most of them are pretty minor in the bigger scheme of things. For instance, What’s “National City”? – Couldn't they have at least pulled something out of the vast array of DC-specific geographical names? ... So she’s going to be an agent of the D[epartment of] E[xtranormal] O[perations]? – Okaaayyy ... With a buff, confident James Olsen as her mentor? (That he's black doesn't bother me, although I still say it comes off to me, at least, a bit like race-bending for the sake of race-bending, as a superficial attempt to be "trendy"; I'm more "bothered" that the Jimmy Olsen I know is not "buff" and "confident." But I can live with it.) And the large number of circumspect references to her “cousin” without referring to him as “Superman” – that will get old real quick, I think. But for all that, for this old fan of both the cousin and Supergirl, the positives – a young, eager, vibrant, superhero-in-the-making with an overall bright tone to the series – far outweigh the negatives. I'm particularly impressed (to repeat myself from the just-previous Flash finale post, I think) at how the production team responsible for the dark world of Arrow can simultaneously impart a brighter tone to The Flash and – if this is a good indication – a still brighter tone to Supergirl, giving each series its own distinctive feel that is very appropriate to the character.

Yes, I am still looking forward to this series, a great deal. I just hope it can make it on one of the "big three" television networks. It seems rather outside the norm for CBS.

Cheers!, and Thanks for reading!

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