Friday, 25 August 2017

Supergirl: Season 2

Cast: Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, David Harewood, and Chris Wood

Creators: Ali Adler, Greg Berlanti, and Andrew Kreisberg

968 minutes (12) 2016-7
Widescreen ratio 16:9
Warner blu-ray region B

Rating: 7/10
Review by Richard Bowden

“In order to live, we must keep daring,” Kat Grant advises her protégé Kara Danvers. Unlike DC’s other TV shows, troubled by the muddled plotting of Arrow and soapy skiffy of The Flash, the debut season of Supergirl presented a witty balance of super-heroics and office sit-com. Like Buffy during the 1990s, Supergirl is presented as a role model, but also now a feminist media icon for 21st century TV, and this is tremendous fun, boasting innate charm and genre humour to spare. Some of that goes on in Supergirl: The Complete Second Season, as when departing guest Superman says “to be continued,” and gets away with it. The show delivers topical and relevant stories, while avoiding a blatantly campy attitude towards often light-hearted material.

The kryptonite powered cyborg Metallo is particularly trying challenge for the high-flying heroine. Meanwhile, influenced by her visitor Clark Kent, Kara opts to become a reporter for CatCo magazine, working for news-room editor Snapper Carr, a grouchy kind of Lou Grant as a stickler for top quality journalism, and staunch defender of the Fourth Estate. In the absence of Calista Flockhart’s corporate diva Cat Grant, it’s this revisionist version of Snapper Carr (winningly portrayed by Ian Gomez) who becomes the heart of maturity offering an intelligent perspective for the second season. Despite his on-screen presence in only eight episodes, his grumpy charisma overshadows most of the office scenes, even when he’s off-stage. “A half-truth is a whole lie.”   

Welcome To Earth features ex-Wonder Woman Lynda Carter as the President, offering an ‘alien amnesty act’ to calm immigration problems, while several new ETs appear, with or without any dramatic space-ship arrival events. There are cage fights for alien gladiators, cop cars in orbit, and yet more sci-fi weapons alongside references to the climate change debate, lesbian angst, and questions of moral prejudice or social responsibility, producing unhappy lives with brave smiles.

Contending with a monster called Parasite, Martian mutation, a theft of Kryptonian blood, deportation instead of execution, while alien bounty-hunters are after Supergirl - wanted: dead or alive, our supreme young super-heroine tackles mightier menaces that her lesser costumed colleagues - in TV shows Arrow, and The Flash, are simply unable to overcome. 
The cross-over event for this year is the Dominators alien-invaders storyline that’s out on standalone DVD as Invasion.

The show’s mix of sci-fi themes also has medical a nano-tech manifestation that becomes a weaponised swarm, while guest star appearances as familiar DC characters bring unexpected returns for apparent betrayal, predictable farewells for the common good, and extra-legal shenanigans, in contrast with the dos & don’ts for rom-com dates. Supergirl and some DEO agents confront insidious villainy from the Cadmus cabal that’s led by Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong). Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo play alien parents, the Queen and King of planet Daxam. Unfortunately, there is more dreary soap opera instead of appealing sitcom routines this season, and Supergirl slips down the rating chart. While this remains a better show than Arrow and The Flash, DC comics on TV is now easily dominated by its breakaway adventure series Legends Of Tomorrow.

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