reviews / Television

Supergirl – Season 2 (2017) – Review

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Released 21st of August on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital/Betamax, the second season of Supergirl (if you’ll remember, we quite liked the first season here) grants a return to TV’s less dour Superheros/Heroines. Marking the return of Kara Danvers AKA Supergirl AKA Melissa Benoist. During the first season she struggled with finding her place in a world that already had a Super-person (Her cousin, Clark), as well as balancing her work, family and love life – pretty standard stuff, made extremely palatable by a likeable cast, especially Benoist herself who immediately sells herself as Supergirl.

Though much of that season saw Kara coming to terms with her powers and – to an extent – living under the shadow of her cousin, Superman; Her second season sees that equilibrium thoroughly challenged and changed for the better, ultimately setting Kara up to be on a level pegging with her cousin.

There’s a shift this season that really goes to add a tad more depth to the show and it probably stems from the changeover the show went through. Passing the hands of CBS and into The CW (making those much lauded crossover episodes with other Arrowverse entries much more feasible). There are of course, a slew of upsides for this mixed in with one glaring downside. But it’s nothing that the show can’t shrug off moving forward. The elephant in the room? We don’t get much Cat. It seems, in the changeover, and subsequent relocation of production, that issues arose over getting Calista Flockhart on board. She makes the occasional appearance, but it’s certainly a shame to have her influence on the show diminished in any way, considering her revelatory performance in the shows first season.

Season 2 offers up the introduction of a new love interest for Kara, Mon-El, a Daxamite refugee with a particularly mysterious past – see, deliberately shady. The key conceit here is that it sets up a kind of Romeo & Juliet dynamic between the two, as traditionally, the planet Daxam has its routes as a particularly problematic place, and home to a hedonistic and xenophobic culture. So it’s nice seeing Kara have an effect on the rougher edges brought on by his upbringing, and ultimately inspiring him to perhaps consider more heroic deeds later on into the season.

This season’s arc seems to hinge on the Xenophobia towards alien races, it’s a season that is perhaps quite apt when considering the tone 2016/2017 had. There’s an inspiring message to Kara’s quest to lift and inspire when it would be easier to condemn and hate. Her goals of inclusion and protection are admirable, and its a message fronted by an incredibly positive team. That’s about as political as it gets, but it’s certainly important to consider the context in which this series is surrounded, because it highlights something that is just so damn likeable about the show. It dares to hope.

To that end, the main villains in the show (Lillian Lutor, Cadmus et al) seek to take advantage of the tension between human and alien and it all starts to feel a little like Alien Nation, with aliens living in secret, hiding their differences lest they are discovered and imprisoned. It’s an interesting set up that really shows that the writers here are worth their salt, melding Kara’s own internal conflict of belonging with an external conflict that only a person of two worlds can navigate.

Other cast are showcased and built upon, with Alex and J’onn (Martian Manhunter) getting some incredibly satisfying development respectively. Particularly with Alex coming to terms with her sexuality and entering into a budding relationship, and J’onn further exploring his past with regards to the enslavement and extinction of his race of people. There’s a lot of growth here and it’s all handled with a mature and sensitive hand that, when measured against other shows, really solidifies Supergirl’s appeal – and perhaps signposts its lasting appeal going forward.

I am pleased that despite necessary changes, Supergirl still sets the standard for Superhero TV. Aspirational, astute and sensitive storytelling that – when paired with the tremendous effect Wonder Woman has had on the industry – goes lengths in giving young girls strong role models in an industry that is increasingly focused on male toxicity (BvS) and large explosions.

Features included on the Blu-ray set “Supergirl: 2016 Comic-Con Panel”, “Supergirl: Alien Fright Night”, “Supergirl: Did you know?”, “Facts for Fans”, Supergirl: Aliens among us” & “A conversation with Andrew Kreisberg and Kevin Smith” – all that and Commentary too.

Supergirl – Season 2 is available now, and can be found on Amazon / iTunes.

Joe Crouch is a crusty mollusc with delusions of grandeur and pretensions of artistic endeavour. His tea is served between two and four. He tweets, infrequently @Grost and Instagrams his food @Sourcrouch.

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