Unlike in the cases of Arrow and The Flash, I actually don’t have a very good taste for Supergirl. Out of all of the superhero shows currently on, it has to be my least favorite. Do I blindly despise it? Absolutely not, but it wasn’t hard or painful for me to point out some of the stuff it did wrong.
Granted, the legacy of the character Supergirl in the media wasn’t necessarily a good one (the same could also be said for the Man of Steel, depending on your viewpoint). So with that in regard, Supergirl is not an utter travesty. Overall, it did more justice to the character than what has ever been done in the past, and the writers should pat themselves on the back for at least that. Casting Melissa Benoist in the title role was also a really smart move. Introducing Martian Manhunter didn’t hurt either.
Unfortunately, for everything good in casting decisions and plot points, there was something else they did wrong. From the pilot episode alone, it wasn’t hard to see that this show would definitely have its own problems. Whether that’s because it’s still trying to find its footing is beyond me, but fans can only hope that by the time season two comes around, they’ll know exactly where they want to take the Girl of Steel.
That being said, with all of the relative success of the show, here are fifteen things wrong with CBS’s Supergirl.
15. Superman Similarities
The moment the show began, right away I could tell they were already struggling with similarities to Superman. While Arrow is a bit guilty of being similar to Batman, Supergirl is saturated with it. She has the same powers, essentially the same costume, and even a lot of the same characters are in it. So desperately did the show want to stand out, and it did when it wanted to, just not in the right areas. At its best, it takes decent inspiration from one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. At its worst, it’s a cheap knock-off of Christopher Reeves’s Superman movies.
While we’re on the topic of Superman, audiences and fans were excited to hear that he is in the show. Kind of. Think of it like some of the worst clickbait imaginable. Many times is Superman teased, talked about, and admired, but they never show his face, and he is horribly misused. One episode saw Kara getting a text from Superman in the middle of a crisis saying that he was on his way, but when he arrived, he was simply mind-controlled at a far distance. If you’re going to tease Superman, then use your version of the character, otherwise don’t use him at all.
13. Phantom Zone Prison
One of the problems that I didn’t mention about The Flash was that the particle accelerator explosion served as essentially a spawner for whatever villain they wanted. That’s exactly the same case in Supergirl. There was a prison in the Phantom Zone (a place that comes from Superman stories, mind you) that broke out because of Kara’s shuttle and crashed down on Earth. Now, all kinds of villains are wreaking havoc, the majority of which are coming from this prison. I understand the writers need to have an excuse to bring in baddies without telling an origin story, but at least mix it up a little.
12. Love Drama
Oh. My. Gosh. This was one of the most unbearable aspects of Supergirl to watch for me. You think the CW is bad when creating unnecessary romance? You haven’t seen anything yet. Love should feel natural and move forward as the story moves forward, but there are characters in Supergirl that are solely there to be potential love interests for Kara. Better yet, they even start inserting these weird love triangles just for drama’s sake. It didn’t work in Twilight, it didn’t work in The Hunger Games, and it certainly doesn’t work in Supergirl.
11. Feminist Inspiration
Understand that I am not against female superheroes. I’m pumped for the Wonder Woman movie, and am excited to see what Marvel is going to do with Captain Marvel. The big problem with Supergirl is that it so desperately wants to run with the “female superhero” thing that it practically throws it in our faces. There was a big amount of the pilot episode spent with Kara upset over the media calling her “Supergirl” instead of “Superwoman.” I get that you want to be unique because you have a woman doing the heroics, but beating our heads with it is just as bad as being misogynistic.
10. Kara is Immature
Don’t get me wrong, Melissa Benoist is the perfect casting choice for Supergirl. The character herself is, most times, fun to watch as well. However, one small trait flares up throughout the show and that is her immaturity. For a grown adult, Kara sure acts a lot like a teenage girl, whether it be how she deals with bad guys, flirts with men, or even copes with her problems. It’s incredibly counter-productive to the feminist comments they keep throwing at us. This is the girl who was supposed to watch over Superman. She should be a bit more grown up.
9. Jimmy Olsen
You’ll find that most of Supergirl’s problems are with its characters. One of the biggest offenders for this problem is definitely James Olsen. That’s right, James, not Jimmy. Jimmy Olsen is a beloved character from Superman’s stories who is as awkward as he is nerdy. In Supergirl, he is an attractive, smooth, hunk of a man. I appreciate that they want to take the character in a different direction, but for a show that loves its Superman tropes, it seems odd that they would change Jimmy Olsen, and not for the better, mind you.
8. The DEO
When cosmic powers threatened New York, Marvel created SHIELD. When Darkseid threatened the world, DC made the Justice League. When convicts from a Phantom Zone escape and wreak havoc on the Earth, CBS made the DEO, a government-funded organization whose job is not to stop these threats, but to simply make sure the public never finds out about them. Well, it’s good to know that our tax dollars are going to good use. Oh, and guess who is a high-ranking official that works for the DEO? Supergirl’s sister! What are the odds?
7. Red Tornado
Another character done a horrible injustice. Red Tornado is not only one of the most powerful members of the Justice League, but one of the most intriguing. He was an android made sentient, who regularly devoted his powers for good. In the Supergirl show, he became little more than a puppet, who eventually became an evil robot. I would’ve forgiven that if, instead of blowing him to smithereens, they instead made him leave for a long journey to eventually come back a good guy. Could you imagine that finale if Red Tornado fought alongside Martian Manhunter and Supergirl?
6. Mixing the Continuity
From the get go, you get a vibe from Supergirl that it’s taking a lot of beats from the 1980 Superman movies. However, with how Krypton looks, as well as the whole “S means hope” thing, you get vibes from Zack Snyder’s take on Superman. By mixing the continuities in an age where everything superhero related is connected, it seems a tad confusing. It seems like they were almost trying to appeal to fans of the Man of Steel, only to then pull out the rug from under us. Because of the mixed inspiration, the show is tonally very disjointed.
5. Teenage Drama Show
From the first trailers for the show, we all felt this horrible feeling that Supergirl would be like a teenage drama, filled with warm tones, pop culture references, and plenty of romance to go around. Sadly for us, we were right. While not all the time, there are more than enough moments throughout the show where it feels like nothing more than a teen drama. Love triangles? Check. Underdog girl who wants to make a difference? Check. Disapproving government whom she has to overcome? Check. The result makes the show feel much less like a superhero show than it should.
Supergirl was always going to have its work cut out for it when looking for a big bad guy for the season. After all, most of the memorable ones we know of are all taken by Superman. So, they opted for Non, which is fine. Sometimes a particular take on a relatively unknown character can end up amazing, like Damian Darhk on Arrow. However, Non is not entertaining. His motives for wanting to control the world are no more than “he’s evil.” His performance is on par with that of an MCU villain (with the exception of Loki), and he’ll be long forgotten by the time season two airs.
3. Secret Identity
Clark Kent has to be the worst disguise for a superhero in the history of comic books. So you’d think that the writers of Supergirl would take that into account and come up with a better disguise for the Girl of Steel. Long story short – they didn’t. On top of the glasses, they had her pull her hair back. But her face still remains the same. What’s even worse is that her personality doesn’t even change from Kara to Supergirl, so anyone could put two and two together. Fortunately for Kara, the characters are idiots in that aspect.
2. Cat Grant
To Cat’s benefit, she is probably the most interesting character to watch on the show, despite a lot of the feminist comments coming from her. However, she only adds to the teen drama trope by seeming to be taken straight out of The Devil Wears Prada. She can never remember Kara’s name and is as frightening as she is uptight. In the comics, she had a much more developed backstory where she struggled with alcoholism, and it’s a travesty that they decided not to inject some of that for the show.
1. Supergirl Too Soon
In the first episode, we get a lot of backstory explaining that Supergirl decided to become a normal person for… reasons, and never to use her powers. So you would think there would be a lot of build up for her to become a real superhero. Spoiler alert: there isn’t. Supergirl essentially uses her powers on a whim and then decides she wants to be a superhero forever. I could think of about three better ways to do it off the top of my head, but whatever makes the viewers keep watching is fine, I guess.