8 Reasons ‘Supergirl’ Has Lost Its Way (And 2 Ways It Can Find It Again)

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SupergirlWhen the first trailers for Supergirl arrived, they didn’t sell me on the show. In fact, they turned me off. The Devil Wears Prada vibe combined with the in-your-face “OMG, it’s a female superhero!” message made me doubt the show’s quality and direction. The trailers made me worry the show was going to drown in female stereotypes, tropes, and the misguided conceptions entertainment execs seem to have when it comes to understanding what female audiences want.

It wasn’t until after the fourth episode of season one aired that I gave in and decided to actually give the show a chance. My love for superheroes and my innate nerdiness won out, and I resolved to at least give the Maiden of Might a shot. Since the show was on CBS, I had to boot up my computer and watch the episodes via the CBS website. That day, I binged the first four episodes of season one. Those beginning episodes may not have made me fall in love with the show right then and there, but they were enough to convince me to start watching weekly.

It wasn’t really until episodes six and seven (“Red Faced” and “Human for a Day”) that I started appreciating all that the show was bringing to the superhero TV landscape. And I rode that wave of appreciation until episode thirteen, “For the Girl Who Has Everything.” Still my favorite episode of the series to date, “For the Girl Who Has Everything” made me a true Supergirl fan. To me, it demonstrated the very best of Supergirl and made me love the characters all the more.

From that point on, Supergirl was the show I looked forward to the most, surpassing what was then my current favorite, The Flash. The show spoke to me in a way the other superhero shows did not. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I exclaimed, I felt the light, I felt the hope. Maybe it was just good timing. Maybe the show gave me something I needed at the time. But whatever it was, the light and hope Supergirl season one exuded affected me in a way only a handful of shows and movies ever have.

When season two came around, I couldn’t wait to dive back into the world with the characters I had grown to appreciate and love. I was even excited for the move to The CW because I saw the possibilities it presented. But as season two has gone on, however, I cannot help but feel that Supergirl has lost its way. Since The CW move, Supergirl has fallen into the trappings of the other CW DCTV shows. The difference is that Supergirl did not originate on The CW like The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow did. It had a life – an entire season – outside the confines of The CW and slowly worked its way toward being the show I most looked forward to every week.

Now, it’s largely thrown away much of what the first season offered and become something else entirely: mediocre, disjointed, and lacking focus. I used to get excited when Supergirl came on. Not anymore. Click Next to discover 8 reasons Supergirl has lost its way and 2 ways it can find it again.

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Whitney Eklof

Whitney Eklof

Whitney Eklof is a nerd, gamer, and media lover. She spends her days undercover managing a marketing team and comes out at night to write...

  • Kevin Murphy

    What are you talking about, Supergirl has been one of the better shows on CW. You should do a write up on the Flash, and how no one like moapy Barry Allen and every big-bad being a faster speedster.

  • Kerk Crotchlickmeoff

    Good list, I agree more-or-less on all points. Like all other CW shows, Supergirl turned into a team show, instead of a one-hero show. All this extra weight just brings Kara down. On the other hand, if there’s one character that needs to appear more it’s Superman. He and Kara have a great dynamic.

    • David Phelps

      This has always been a team show. Winn even make a comment about “the super friends” during the first season. Supergirl is the focus but she’s part of a team. That’s one of the things that sets her apart from Superman, who is depicted as a loner, at least in terms of doing super stuff.

  • Sandra Lee

    Thanks for writing this. Very good points. Though I’d rather they keep Lena in the morally grey area. Someone who is a true friend for Kara, but still capable of doing shady things for the right reasons. We have so few female friendships on TV or movies that this would be a breath of fresh air. Besides, having Lena turn evil would be so predictable… even if Katie is a master at playing evil characters.

    • David Phelps

      Agreed. See my own post on the subject. Lena could occupy the role Max Lord did last season.

    • Debbie Gardiner

      I agree. Lena is one of the few side characters I like on this show and just having her become evil ’cause her last name is Luthor is too predictable and I would like it if they made her similar to Tess (who I think this character is supposed to be) in Smallville who was good at the end and a true friend of Clark’s but did some evil things.

      Not everybody who has a serial killer, rapist, terrorist or pedophile for a Mother, Father, Sister or Brother turns out to be those things themselves in real life so why should they have to in a TV show?

  • beanarie

    i’m so tired of shows i love throwing away everything that made me love them. what made them think it would be a good idea to go from the arc of kara finding her place in the world to falling for a poorly socialized rich guy? it makes no sense.

  • Jessica Hernandez

    I agree totally with this, also I’m glad the author acknowledged the M problem, which is frankly one of the things that more dissapointments brought, in order to fit Mon-el’s existence in this show writers kind of broke the other characters including Kara’s and I think that’s the saddest thing they’ve done.
    If it doesn’t get better by the end of the season I’ll be quitting this show.

    • Star-Lord

      Good riddance hypocrite

      • Jessica Hernandez

        Hello Michael Friderichsen, I noticed you enjoy calling people names and disrespecting everyone that it’s not agree with you, I think it’s about time you learn to stay in your lane, kid. Take it as a warning.

        • Star-Lord

          I am not a hypocrite like you stalker!

          • Jessica Hernandez

            Stalker? lol
            You’ve been warned.

  • starskeptic

    Cat Grant was my favorite character from the start. Melissa Benoist is just the perfect Supergirl. Season two however has been nothing but a disjointed mess.

  • Solana Lightfalls

    great article :)

    • Star-Lord

      Pathetic article by a hypocrite

  • Star-Lord

    Are you to freakin dumb to realize that Mon-EL is on a character development to become a huge superhero from the comics and we see him start from scratch

    • David Phelps

      Nobody is “dumb.” People can disagree with you without being “dumb.” I happen agree with the author that the less we see of this version of Mon-El the better.

      • Star-Lord

        He is in CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT for crying out loud!!!

        • David Phelps

          He may well be “in character development” but I don’t like the way he’s being developed. We both know we’ve gone around about this before so I won’t continue to respond to your antics. I don’t like the amount of screen time he’s getting, to the detriment of the show. Get this through your head: I don’t agree with you. I’m not saying you’re wrong but I don’t think Mon-El is anywhere near the addition to the show you think he is.

          • Winter

            He also suffers from what I like to call, Gold Fish Character Development. This occurs when a character development consists of him or her learning the same exact lesson every single time we see them. In Mon-El’s case its him learning to take some responsibly and grow up which he seems to learn at the end of every episode his in only for him to forget what he just learned by the next episode.

            It doesn’t help that he doesn’t add anything to Kara’s character and that it was only in the second half of the season that he finally added something to the plot. And, if I’m to be perfectly honest, its not something that’s all that interesting. His parents are evil and they want him to come back but Mon-El wants to stay, less because his becoming a better person and more because he has the hots for Kara.

            Lena, whether you see her as a possible romantic partner for Kara or not has a much more progressive character arc. She adds to Kara’s character without having her give up on her own character arc to be her friend and she’s already added a lot to the series plot. Which obviously the writers have seen to as they’re making her a series regular next season.

            But Mon-El, I haven’t found anything that suggests that he will be a series regular next season and to be perfectly honest I hope that he either leaves at the end of the series or is killed off. His a shallow, he doesn’t add anything to the story and he takes time away from characters I would much rather be focusing on like, oh I don’t know, Supergirl?!

          • David Phelps

            I hated how exaggeratedly clueless they made him at first, especially his first day at CatCo. He should never been allowed in public not knowing what a phone was or wondering (out loud) why Earth people used elevators instead of flying, both of which are straight from the show. And he didn’t seem to learn, either. The mattress stuffing gag in the Thanksgiving episode was just over-the-top dumb. I suspect he won’t be around next season, or at least I hope not. Honestly, I was sort of hoping he’d go home to Daxam with mom and dad but no such luck.

  • Pati Melo

    #TrueThat I agree with mostly everything, I want Supergirl back.

  • David Phelps

    Good article for the most part but I have a couple of quibbles:
    3. This season’s “big bad” was Cadmus. That was pretty much clear, at least to me.
    4. Rather than not capitalizing on new and regular characters, there were too many new and regular characters, which diluted the show’s focus.

    I do hope, though, that Lena doesn’t become “a villain that’s finally fully realized.” I don’t want yet another “she’s Superman in a skirt” trope. She can have an agenda–who doesn’t?–she can even be somewhat morally ambiguous like Max Lord was–but she doesn’t need to be evil.

  • Sundra Tanakoh

    Having grown up on comics, I am at this point 65 years old, I am thrilled the Supergirl has got her due on TV, and kinda look forward to maybe seeing some the the Legion of Superheroes pop in. HOWEVER….we need to remember Superman and Supergirl are as as close to indestructible, faster than light and strong enough to halt a rocket and fling into the sun with out straining in the least bit. Remember those old comics, anyone? Supergirl here is weak, she should not be, she grunts and strains as if she is just a half- as sed version of her cousin. She is the woman of Steel….I don’t see it in this series. She should be kicking some serious A and I just see her fumbling along, weak, Wonder Woman could give her a good beat down. Melissa is perfect BTW she outshines Helen Slater in the role in my opinion, no one could have picked a better actress for the role. just my 2 cents.

    • David Phelps

      We’re close to the same age. I remember Superboy putting the Earth back into orbit with his super breath so yes, I know what you’re talking about. The comics writers like Denny O’Neil and Jack Kirby (remember his stint writing/drawing Jimmy Olsen’s adventures?) realized that Superman/girl couldn’t be too powerful or there wouldn’t be any opportunities for drama. That means no more indestructible, no more faster than light, no more nearly infinite strength. Frankly, that stuff was always ridiculous anyway. Supergirl is tough and fast and strong but she also has limits.

  • Lurking

    “It does need to be said though that if the writers aren’t capable of putting Mon-El in the backseat, he needs to be completely removed from the show and given the treatment Cat, Lucy, and Maxwell Lord have been given. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s really up to the writers.”

    I don’t even know what this means. Of course it’s really up to the writers which includes not picking either of these options and doing whatever they like.

    • David Phelps

      And what should they do? Continue to make this The Mon-El Show? Sorry but I agree with the author.

  • Narraboth

    Great article, but really disagreeing on Lena: she does not need to be the villain, and I hope the writers will not turn her into one after her explicit goal from the get-go was righting her family’s wrongs and breaking away from Lex’s (and now Lillian’s) brand. Otherwise all excellent points, the overt focus and favoring of romantic relationships over platonic ones is especially disappointing, given how the entirety of Season 1 was built on the bond between Alex and Kara & on the emphasis of (found) family.

  • Suzette

    I knew the show was in trouble the moment the showrunners turned the show over to Mon El, and completely ignored the fans cry of disapproval. The ratings are decent for a CW show, but they could have been so much better. The writing staff kicked the audience to the side this season IMO.

    • Star-Lord

      Mon-El is the best addition and he is on a journey to become the famous superhero from the comics

  • luvthejem

    Just found this article and I agree with most of your points. There is a big problem you missed though, the Kara and Mon-El romance is abusive and the show routinely glosses over it. They have Kara call him out on his troubling behavior and then at the end of the show, she just shrugs it all off like it never happened. He disrespects her, he verbally berates her, both in public and private, he broke into her apartment knowing she wouldn’t want him there, he lied to her for nine months about who he is, he tried to murder someone after she told him not to. It’s a toxic dumpster fire and they sell it as #relationshipgoals. It’s not even accidental, as they have now done something similar with Winn and Lyra. When she lost it at him, for no real reason, and at the end of the episode nothing was discussed but all was forgiven, even worse that James was the one to bring them back together, after calling Winn his brother. Winn hates confrontation, it was an aversion established in season one, but here he was being screamed at, obviously scared and they never addressed it. To me, the tone of these relationships is a bigger problem than anything else.