Last week the much anticipated series premiere of Supergirl aired on CBS, drawing in an audience of 12.9 million viewers, making it the number one ranked premiere of the new television season. Made by the people responsible for Arrow and The Flash, Supergirl is the story of Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El and her journey of following in her cousin’s foot steps to be a hero on earth. It is also the first female lead superhero tv show in a long, long time.
Here’s the thing:
Supergirl has proved exactly why we need a show like this.
Supergirl is absolutely chock full of positive feminist messages. Not only that, it brings them up and talks about them freely and without hesitation, refusing to avoid it like so many other shows do in order to hit the young male demographic.
There is a great scene between Kara and her boss Cat Grant (played by Calista Flockhart, and oh my gosh I really want to go watch some Ally McBeal right now) where Cat has taken it upon herself to dub this new hero ‘Supergirl’. Kara argues that she should be called Superwoman instead, that calling her a girl minimises her importance and suggests they are anit-feminist (yeah, they said the f-word in a show based on a comic book. Hallelujah!). Cat hits back with “What do you think is so bad about girl? I’m a girl. And your boss, and powerful, and rich, and hot, and smart. So if you perceive Supergirl as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?” Damn, that really hits the spot.
There are some great moments between Kara and her human sister Alex as well. When Director Henshaw exclaims that Kara isn’t strong enough to fight the bad guy, her sister jumps in with: “Why, because she’s a girl? That’s exactly what we’re counting on.” Using already perceived notions of femininity equalling weakness to defeat bad guys is one of my favourite tropes, bless you Supergirl writers. I guess it’s a blessing that the only misogyny comes from the very-obviously-evil alien guy – “Females bow before males on my planet.”
In terms of entertainment value, Supergirl is super fun. It’s refreshing to watch a hero show where the lead isn’t broody and full of man-pain; Kara is peppy and cute and smiley for 95% of the episode, but not in the annoying way. And for anyone worried that an extensive knowledge of the DC universe is mandatory for viewing, worry not. Even if you only have a vague idea of who Superman is, Supergirl is still easy to follow. It do esn’t rely heavily on comic book lore, but there are some great easter eggs for any DC fans who are watching closely.
On top of all of that, they are not afraid to directly address the lack of female heroes in the media today. A waitress in a diner watching footage of Supergirl stop a plane crash remarks: “Can you believe it? A female hero. It’s nice for my daughter to have someone like that to look up to.” Bingo. That is why this show is so important. That’s why the upcoming Womder Woman movie is so important. That’s why both Marvel and DC need to be giving their female heroes their own shows and films. Because little girls all over the world need their own heroes. Not sidekicks, or heroes’ girlfriends, or sassy supporting characters. Their own heroes.
This is a show that is aimed at women, fully comprehending that women and young girls love superheroes too. And to that I just want to say:
Fucking finally. And thank you.
And the best part is, its not too late to catch up! Episode 2 only aired this week, get on that stat!