It’s understandable if you aren’t watching Supergirlseason 2 on The CW. The show got off to an uneven, if not broadly enjoyable start on CBS. Besides, there are about a million things probably sitting in your TV queue right now. It’s nothing personal.
Or maybe you’re just not that into superhero TV shows? Or shows that air on The CW? It happens. There’s a certain stigma against both, though both have arguably been lessened in the past five years or so as the limits of what is possible within superhero TV have been stretched and The CW has given us narrative gems like The 100, Jane the Virgin, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. (Though, personally, I’m of the mind that The CW has always been great.)
However, I am here to tell you that, if you aren’t currently on the Supergirlbandwagon, then you are missing out on one of the best character dramas on TV right now. (It even made our “30 Best TV Episodes of 2016” list.)
With Supergirlseason two returning next week for its midseason premiere, now is the perfect time to jump on this heartwarming tale of one young woman’s mission to be the kind of hero who prioritizes love, acceptance, optimism, and helping one another above all else.
Let’s talk the many wonders of Supergirl…
It’s optimistic about society’s chances.
State of the world got you down? Watching a TV show probably isn’t going to change that, but it also doesn’t hurt to watch a show with a central character who is optimistic about society’s chances and who truly believes that people are inherently good. In this era of the anti-hero, it has become popular to conflate realism with darkness, but the world is more complex than that. Supergirlis a show that isn’t afraid to address complicated questions about diversity and prejudice, while ultimately depicting a group of people who use empathy, compassion, and forgiveness as tools to save the day.
In “Medusa,” the show’s Thanksgiving episode, both Kara and Lena Luthor are asked to think about the legacy their parents have created for their families, while botgh choosing to fight for something better. Supergirlreminds us that we don’t have to be defined by the traditions and thought patterns of the past. We can create new, more compassionate ways to define ourselves, our communities, and our world.
It’s a story about refugees & immigrants.
Supergirlhas always been a show about the complicated process that is living as a refugee (albeit through a science fiction lens), but Season two has really doubled down on this theme by not only continuing to explore Kara and J’onn’s identities as alien refugees, but by giving us even more alien refugee characters to complicate this theme (after all, we all know the danger of a single story).
The addition of the alien-friendly dive bar in Supergirlseason 2 has broadened this theme by giving us not only individual refugee characters, but also a community of refugees. As the relationship between both Kara and Mon-El, as well as the one between J’onn and M’gann has demonstrated, though there are common experiences that bond these individual refugees together, they also come from different places, which brings up its own complications and instances of isolation.
In a real world year that has seen the subject of refugees become such a vital one on the global stage due to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Supergirl‘schoice to embrace its inherent theme of refugees/immigrants has been a welcome one and one of the only examples in mainstream American TV.
It has a truly great “coming out” story.
If you spend any time on the internet, you’ve probably heard talk of Supergirl‘swonderful “coming out” storyline, which has seen the character of Alex questioning her own sexuality in a raw, honest, and complex way and eventually coming out as gay to her friends and family. Supergirlhasn’t rushed this process or mined it for contrived dramatic value. Instead, the show has seamlessly integrated it into the narrative as another form of heroism.
Alex Danvers has always been a hero for the ways in which she fights for what she believes in and supports her sister, but seeing her admit her feelings to herself, her crush, and to her family has been one of the bravest things we’ve seen on TV this year, and it helps immensely that Supergirlthe show obviously understands how powerful and important vulnerability truly is.
Reaction to the storyline has also demonstrated how much representation matters. Comic book employee Mary Swangin recently shared on Twitter a story about a young customer who came into her shop desperate to find more Supergirl. The customer had watched the coming out story on the TV show and it had helped her come to terms with her own sexuality that has caused her to experience severe depression…— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016
— %uD83C%uDF08Mary%uD83C%uDF08 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016
It has a whole host of complex female characters
There is far too much feminist media that has one “Strong Female Character” at the center of its story (I love you, Rogue One,but, yeah, I’m looking at you, amongst others) or several female characters who only ever interact with the more central male characters. We deserve better. We need better, and Supergirlgives it to us.
From Kara to Alex to Lena Luthor to Cat Grant to M’gann to Maggie, Supergirlis definitely not suffering from Smurfette syndrome, the trope that sees one girl/woman as the “exceptional” female (i.e. the girl who is cool enough to hang with all of the boys). These women have different strengths, weaknesses, goals, and experiences. Not only that, they have relationships with one another that have nothing to do with the men in their life. (The expections so far being M’gann and Maggie, who, as love interests and supporting characters, have been somewhat segregated to their storylines.)
Furthermore, after endless examples of superheroes with daddy issues elsewhere in the pop culture universe, we’ve finally got some superheroes with mommy issues. Kara and Lena’s respective relationships to their mothers in particular have reinforced the important role that mothers can play in our lives. (It might seem obvious, but tell that to Batman…)
What are you waiting for? Go watch Supergirl!
If any of this piques your interest, then you should definitely give Supergirl a chance. It is one of the best character dramas on TV right now, and one that feels relatively unique in its core optimism, depiction of refugees characters as heroes, and its unapologetic focus on female characters.
It’s not necessary to start with Supergirlseason one, which, as I said at the start of this article, is entertaining, but inconsistent and not as strong as season two. You may be confused about some things, but that’s what the internet is for. Up, up, and away!