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Supergirl: The Complete First Season - DVD Review


Title: Supergirl: The Complete First Season

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HTS Overall Score:75







Summary
DC’s live action TV universe is going great guns right about now. “Arrow”, “The Flash”, “Legends of Tomorrow” and now “Supergirl”. Although it is part of the same universe, “Supergirl” had the distinction of being the ONLY one that The CW didn’t want. Yes, the one show that just SCREAMED to be part of the shared Arrowverse was passed over by the TV station that pretty much started the live action superhero phase for the smaller screen. It seems tailor made for the channel, as the show has that “CW” type of vibe with an ethnically and socially diverse cast that just SCREAMS “I wanna be on the CW”! However, that is kind of a plus for its maiden voyage. The Arrowverse has gotten a bit stale as of late with the main 3 shows sharing a nearly identical texture and vibe which makes it hard to differentiate the shows sometimes. “Supergirl” being shown on CBS actually helped it stand out and garner a new audience than had it just been another acquisition for the CW. That comes with both positives AND negatives, but overall the show is something refreshing and slightly different in the already stuffed superhero market.

“Supergirl” was helped created by the same creators of “Arrow” and “The Flash”, but also given a hand by Ali Adler, who is most famous for creating “Chuck” (one of my favorite shows). Taking place later in Superman’s career, we get to know his older cousin (or younger depending on how you look at it). While Superman was sent to earth by his parents, his cousin Kara (Melissa Benoist) was sent right on his heels (quite literally) to act as his protector. You see it was never Jor-el’s intent to send his son alone. With Kara as his older protector he wouldn’t be alone in the world. The only problem is that Krypton’s explosion knocked Kara’s ship into the phantom zone for many years, only breaking free after much time had passed and Superman had grown up and been a hero for many years. Kara was allowed to grow up with human parents (with her father being played by Dean Cain, who was also an ex-superman in 90s with “Lois and Clark”). While there she suppressed her need for showing those powers to the world because right now Superman was all the world needed.

Years later and working as an assistant to Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), one of the most celebrated news journalists of that time, Kara has an awakening. With her sister’s life in mortal danger during an engine problem in her flight, Kara lets the world see who she really is. The cousin of Superman and imbued with all of the powers that he has. That is, if she can actually learn how to control the. While Clark Kent had spent a lifetime cultivating his powers and becoming a legend, Kara had been suppressing them and trying to live like us normal.

With great comes great responsibility (yes I know, wrong comic series) and Kara is now faced with certain facts. The world has already known about Superman and supervillains for some time now and the humans have come up with ways to try and counteract them. After her sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), reveals that she is actually part of a secret government organization called the DEO whose sole purpose is the overseeing of alien “visitors” to earth, Kara decides to take her calling to the big leagues and team up with the DEO to help protect National City and the rest of the world from those who would do it harm. Much of the time Kara is spent hunting down escaped convicts from a floating prison from the phantom zone, including her own aunt and fellow Kryptonians. That’s not to say there aren’t a few surprises, as not all villains come from outer space. She gains her own sort of “Lex Luthor” in the form of brilliant businessman Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli) who doesn’t share the world’s obsession with super powered aliens.

The first season of “Supergirl” takes some time to get used to. The first 3-4 episodes are really rough, as the show tries to find its footing. The first episode was so cheesy and childish that I almost didn’t want to finish the series, but after the 5 or 6 episodes things started to click for Kara, and so did things with the audience. By the time the mid show break was over “Supergirl” had really found its footing and was going ahead full steam. There are some problems along the way, but nothing that a good second season can’t cure.

Most of the problems are related to the younger audience the show ascribes to. It was very obvious that “Supergirl” was marketed for teenage girls as the show is rife with girl power references, and cheerful winks and nods to the camera regarding women’s issue. I’m not complaining about it, because not every show has to make you want to slit your wrists with angst *cough*Arrow*cough*, but it can be seen as bubblegum cheerfulness at times. Sugary sweet and wasteful. However, I must admit that the latter half of the season really took off and gained much more momentum. Not to mention the fact that CBS decided to not renew the series and let The CW take over. Something that is already in the works with “The Flash Season 3” by bridging the universes (if you have kept up with “The Flash” you’ll know how it’s done with the multiple converging earths) and bringing her universe over into theirs. There was even a Flash/Supergirl crossover this season that teased us in the direction things could take.

Melissa Benoist is the highlight of the show by far. Her sweet smile and charming personality make her well suited for the role of the less serious version of Superman. She’s adorkable (as the saying goes) and you can’t help but be warmed by her smile. David Harewood is also a welcome addition to the team and his change into one of the DC’s more powerful characters (just watch, seasoned veterans of the DC universe will know his identity just by a few teasers in the first few eps, but newbies will want to see his reveal without being told). Then there’s Calista Flockhart, whose portrayal as the female J. Jonah Jameson of the “Supergirl” world is just spot on perfect. She does a wonderful job balancing the over aggressive and almost mean boss with a slightly softer underside that makes for a deliciously complex character. I did have to say that Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen was a bust this year. Not because Mehcad does a bad job, but because Jimmy Olsen is just there as a plot device to show Kara the fortress of solitude, make constant references to Superman and just be a hunky guy who likes to wear tight shirts so Kara can have some to get weak kneed over.




the episode rundown is


Pilot
Stronger Together
Fight or Flight
How Does She Do It?
Livewire
Red Faced
Human for a Day
Hostile Takeover
Blood Bonds
Childish Things
Strange Visitor from Another Planet
Bizarro
For the Girl Who Has Everything
Truth, Justice and The American Way
Solitude
Falling
Manhunter
Worlds Finest
Myriad
Better Angels




Rating:

Rated TV-PG




Video
“Supergirl” was supposedly shot on Arri Alexa digital cameras and it enjoys a nice looking image for a DVD. Things are bright and comic book shiny, with richly saturated reds and blues of Kara’s outfit along with a decidedly “modern” looking office where she tends to spend the rest of her time trying to make it under Cat Grant’s scowling glare. The 20 episode season is spread out over 5 DVDs (something that was not afforded the Blu-ray release for some reason) and looks very pleasing as a result. The fine detail is great, with the good old blue and red suit showing off plenty of texturing (even when that is NOT the best thing) and the CGI is quite passable for a TV show (sometimes the flying can look awkward). Clarity is sharp all the way around, and despite the softness that is attributed to a 480p image, I have to give a nice thumbs up on the 1.78:1 framed show.










Audio
[B]The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix for “Supergirl” fares much the same as the video. It’s a solid track that mixes in a good amount of activity in the surround speakers with the whoosing of Kara zipping about, or the pulsating hum of an office building at Catco. LFE is appropriately weighty and adds some nice heft in some of the more action oriented scenes. If you’re wondering why the music for “Supergirl” sounds so familiar, it’s because it was created by Blake Neely, who also does the score for “The Flash”, “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow”, which gives the show a very comforting and familiar tone. Dialog is strong and clean, never under any major faults never is under any doubt for its quality. Simply put, an excellent superhero track for the TV era of filming.






Extras

• The Man From Mars
• A World Left Behind: Krypton And Supergirl: 2015 Comic-Con Panel
• Unaired Scenes
• Gag Reel











Overall:

“Supergirl” had a very rough start, and still had some growing pains along the way, but it was a very fun addition to the superhero lineup, and one that looks like it is continuing quite well once adopted by the CW if season 2 episode reports are anything to go off of. I liked the fresh feeling of the cast and the non “Arrow” style of storytelling that set it apart from the rest of the crown. Melissa Benoist is absolutely adorable as Kara, and the show is really showing a lot of promised. The DVD was all I could get ahold of this time so it’s hard to compare the video quality to a full 1080p Blu-ray like “Arrow” and “The Flash”, but that was due to a situation that was out of control. Still the audio and video are quite nice for a 480p DVD release and the extras were decently satisfying. Naturally I’ll recommend the Blu-ray over the DVD, but either one will do quite nicely for fans of the show or for those wanting to expand their DC horizons just a little bit. Good for a watch.


Additional Information:

Starring: Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, Calista Flockhart
Creator: Ali Adler, Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: TV-PG
Runtime: 877 Minutes
DVD Release Date: August 9th, 2016



Buy Supergirl: The Complete First Season On DVD at Amazon
Buy Supergirl: The Complete First Season On Blu-ray at Amazon




Recommendation: Good Watch


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