Monday, August 21, 2017

TV on DVD Review: Supergirl - Season 2

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Mostly good action and characters
Cons: Interjection of politics
The Bottom Line:
Supergirl still flies
Political messages
Do undercut fun

“I Am Not a Redshirt.  I Am Not a Redshirt.  I Am Not a Redshirt.”

Season 2 of Supergirl brought a huge change to the show – it moved from CBS to the CW.  Honestly, I had been surprised that the show didn’t start out on the network like its brethren did.  Naturally, that meant a few changes to the show, and the result was certainly weaker than season 1, although the biggest weaknesses weren’t because of the change.

The season opens with Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), aka Supergirl, making a huge decision.  She’s no longer going to be an assistant at CatCo., but she’s going to become a reporter.  All this comes as Cat Grant (guest star Calista Flockhart) decides to go out and travel the world, leaving James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) in charge of the media company.  While Kara’s desires to fight for justice and her knowledge as Supergirl sometimes get in the way of her job as a journalist, she begins to grow as a writer.

Other developments this season?  Winn (Jeremy Jones) is now working for the DAO.  We learn who was in the space ship at the close of season one – Mon-El (Chris Wood), an alien from the neighboring planet to Krypton, and Kara takes him under his wing to help him adjust to life on Earth.  Speaking of aliens, Hank (David Harewood) learns he isn’t the only Martian hiding out on Earth.  And Kara’s sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) makes a major discovery about herself and comes out as a result.

But there’s a growing fight looming as Lillian and Lena Luthor (Brenda Strong and Katie McGrath) move to town.  Despite her cousin Clark’s battle with Lex, Kara starts building a friendship with Lena.  However, Lillian is definitely up to no good.  Plus there’s the group that wants all aliens removed from Earth.  Can Kara survive the coming upheaval?

More than any other show this season, this show wound up embroiled in controversy.  Some of it was just with fans.  Lots of people seemed to hate Mon-El.  I will freely admit, I found him annoying in the beginning of the season, but he really grew on me, and I loved him by the end.

I have friends who have stopped watching this show because of the political bent the show took.  Just look at the titles of the final two episodes of the season as a perfect example.  The alien storyline was a not so thinly condemnation of anyone who is against immigration of any kind even just illegal immigration.  I don’t watch a superhero show to be lectured at.  Ironically, I found the show to be making the exact opposite point when it comes to immigration in the final couple episodes of the season.  Meanwhile, while some praised Alex’s storyline as brave this season, I found it completely predictable early on, although it did get better in the second half of the season.

Despite all of this, I still found much to enjoy.  James got an interesting storyline as he becomes the superhero Guardian.  While he wasn’t in every episode, this tweaked the dynamic of the show for sure.  I also really enjoyed Lena and Kara’s friendship.  I have no clue where they are going with the character, and I like it that way.  Most of the episodes didn’t get too preachy and still managed to entertain.  But when they wanted to preach, boy did they.

Because the show needed to cut its budget due to the network change, production moved to Vancouver from Los Angeles, and as a result Calista Flockhart didn’t stay on full time.  I really did miss her Cat Grant, and she brought a lot of fun to the episodes she was in, the first two and last two of the season.

Those episodes also feature the first appearance on this series of Tyler Hoechin as Superman.  He was excellent in the role.  If they brought him on full time, I wouldn’t complain at all.

Those looking for connections to older Superman shows will be interested to know that, in addition to the actors we’ve already seen, Terry Hatcher, Lois of Lois and Clark, shows up here late in the season for multiple episodes.

Since the show was on the CW for the season, there was more effort to work it into the larger Arrowverse.  Kara was part of the big crossover event a third of the way into the season, although it was hardly mentioned on this show.  Later in the season, more characters do crossover to The Flash for a fun musical episode, although again, not much of the action for this crossover happens on this show, although the episode on The Flash does play out many of the storylines happen on Supergirl at the time.

While I didn’t like all of the choices the writers made this season, I did still find the actors all did a great job.  There’s not a weak link in the cast anywhere.  Meanwhile, the special effects also continue to impress.

The season consisted of 22 wide screen and full surround episodes, and they are all on this disc.  Extras include video from the 2016 Comic Con panel, an audio commentary, and three featurettes and some trivia.

The good of Supergirl Season 2 definitely outweighed the bad.  I do hope that the show can get away from politics and focus more on the super as it moves to season 3.

Season 2 Episodes:
1. The Adventures of Supergirl
2. The Last Children of Krypton
3. Welcome to Earth
4. Survivors
5. Crossfire
6. Changing
7. The Darkest Place
8. Medusa
9. Supergirl Lives
10. We Can Be Heroes
11. The Martian Chronicles
12. Luthors
13. Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk
14. Homecoming
15. Exodus
16. Star-Crossed
17. Distant Sun
18. Ace Reporter
19. Alex
20. City of Lost Children
21. Resist
22. Nevertheless, She Persisted

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