On Supergirl, Kara Danvers, and Clara Kent

supergirl melissa benoist cbs first look first image costume reveal greg berlanti ali adler andrew kreisberg arrowverse dc

So anyway, I’ve been thinking about that Supergirl TV show for a while, and now there’s a casting announcement, so I guess I’m going to talk about that then.

I’ve mostly been waiting to find out more about the series before writing about this, because I am somewhat wary about making judgements too early on, but this article had a few interesting details.

I am not actually sure a Supergirl TV show is a good idea. Or, at least, I am not sure that a Supergirl TV show which actually adapts straight from the source material with Kara Zor-El in the actual title role.

Supergirl, as a character, is dependent on Superman in some way or another. Her origin revolves around his, essentially – she’s his cousin, and she was sent to Earth to protect him, except they messed up the space travel side of things, so she landed long after Superman is actually established. For Supergirl to work, Superman has to exist.

And I think that would stunt the program, from the moment it starts.

There’s two routes they can go down, essentially. The first is sticking more or less exactly to the origin, and you introduce Supergirl into a world where Superman exists. Which is, I think, a bad idea – most people are going to be more interested in Superman. When there is a more iconic and more well known and more popular character offscreen, it’s the offscreen character people will be more interested in.

Equally, they could set it up so “finding Superman” is an overarching aim – like, “My name is Oliver Queen, and to honour my father, I will save this city”. So, something like “My name is Kara Zor-El, and to save the legacy of my planet, I must find the last remaining member of my family”. (Except, you know, you’d go for something that sounds good as a voiceover, rather than that.)

That approach could work, and possibly fairly well, but it’d likely end up with similar problems to Smallville – a lot of the time, you’re just waiting for Superman proper to show up. I am also having doubts about how good of an idea it is to have a program with a female lead, which is about said female lead looking for the more important male.

So… I’d propose a third option.

Chuck out all the Kara Zor-El stuff, don’t use any of the Supergirl origin, use only the title “Supergirl”.

Present to the audiences a TV show about Clara Kent, a journalist at the Daily Planet, an alien from another planet, and the world’s greatest Superhero.

That way, you solve pretty much all the problems of the other approaches – you’re not waiting for Superman, you’ve already got what could potentially be a fresh and innovative take on this character. It sets the show apart from every other iteration of Superman, and it’s going to pick up a lot of interest that way.

The other trappings could be left more or less the same (I’d stick with Lois Lane, personally, but it could be easy switched to Louis, I suppose) but in presenting a TV show about a female Superman, rather than a show about Superman’s female cousin, I think you’re going to have a stronger premise, and therefore hopefully, a better show.

(Obviously, standard disclaimer; I am far from an expert, my knowledge of Supergirl is fairly limited, and I am well aware that the Kara Zor-El version could still work very well. If you’ve got any ideas for that, reblog and share, because I am quite curious.)

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