TV - Is Supergirl for the Girls?


A well known fan of the film, Steve Taylor-Bryant watches the Supergirl TV series and asks if Supergirl hits the right demographic...

Unless I'm reviewing each show, I tend to keep my opinions on any episodic television venture to myself until the end of a series but, after three episodes of Supergirl and after what I've read in some sections of the press, I thought I'd just jump straight in with my two penneth. I'm on record with this very site as loving the cheesy non serious film from the 1980's (read about that here) and I have never read a Supergirl comic book so it's only my affection for the movie I can base any opinion on. I am a fan of Arrow, I love The Flash and I am also a forty year old man. I think it's important to mention these facts as Supergirl is not like Arrow and The Flash and I'm pretty sure if I researched the target audience of Supergirl I wouldn't find 'slightly overweight old man' in their demographic. That doesn't mean I can't like the show, it just means it's really not aimed for me and explains why thus far I've stayed out of any public debate until I'd seen a few episodes. I've seen the show slated in some sections of the media and with fans of superhero television, I must add though not one of these 'journalists' was female or from what I can tell under thirty. And therein lies the problem. We are all seemingly expecting every incarnation of a comic book hero to be serialised on screen the way Arrow is, or for a female to have a male leader in some way. I'm not getting into the gender argument, that's for people who know what they're talking about and not for the aforementioned fat old guy to pitch up in, but I do have a young daughter and I've always wanted to enjoy television and film with her as much as I do with my teenage boys, so to see her eyes light up at the very idea of a superhero that can be just hers was a chance I had to take and it taught me something about myself in the process.

What the writers have done is give Supergirl and her normal human looking everyday self, Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), a story of struggle. The daily struggle in the workplace to be recognised as a normal employee and not a piece of crap, the struggles to build meaningful relationships and the perils of dating, the sibling rivalries that exist in many families, the burden of secrets and the tribulations that working as a team can bring. There is no strong alpha male to run in and fix things, the boss is an entitled jerk (what the hell has happened to Calista Flockhart by the way? She plays Cat Grant well but her face?), no one is a secret or public billionaire who can fix things with money, and Kara has to juggle all of this whilst also finding out about herself and her past. These are important messages. These are the same struggles that my nine year old daughter is going to face as she grows into a young woman and to find a show where these emotional and sometimes harrowing problems are dealt with seriously, from the point of view of a young lady going through them, is as refreshing as anything I've seen recently. My nine year old learns she is not alone with questions and confusions at the same time as being entertained by Supergirl rescuing a snake (why always snakes?) or rescuing an aeroplane from crashing. She sees that even Supergirl takes on too much sometimes and has bad days and that it's okay to ask for help, important lessons for all children but ones severely lacking in programmes that appeal to my little princess. Did I enjoy Supergirl? It was cheesy, fun, pretty well cast and casually appealing. It's most definitely not for me but it's not supposed to be. My enjoyment came from cuddling up with my daughter and watching her as she looked on in awe. My enjoyment came from my daughter asking me real life questions alongside the queries about Krypton and when I first discovered Superman. My enjoyment came from my daughter asking me when next week's episode was on. I started with the question is Supergirl for the girls? Well yes and no. My daughter would certainly fall within the target audience but I finally get a kick out of watching television with her again so maybe fat old men should give it more of a chance too.

Image - Sky