When Kara Zor-El landed on earth in 1959, the character should have zoomed into the stratosphere with the other superheroines. Unfortunately, the creation of writer Otto Binder and artist Alfred Plastino, would face a hostile dance with the comic book readers to gain her rightful place in the DC Universe. http://www.dccomics.com/characters/supergirl
Perhaps the teachings of the mothers who worked as the men fought World War Two instilled in the minds of their daughters that this was no longer a man’s world; women have the same potential as their male counterparts. Of course this would be an uphill contest for women—contending with men for positions of power and leaderships.
In 1971 Helen Reddy’s hit I AM WOMAN rocked the male view of the world in the West. Many women embraced the identity of the song:
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman
Therefore, keeping Supergirl a girl instead of a young woman seeking her place in the world has kept this female cousin from Krypton from achieving the greatness she deserves. When the first issue of MS magazine debuted, they chose Wonder Woman to grace the cover and they did the same in 2012 for the 40th anniversary issue.
Where does Supergirl fare in the top 100 Superheroes? IGN lists Supergirl as 94th in their Top 100 Comic Books Heroes. http://www.ign.com/top/comic-book-heroes/94
A score of 94 out a 100 would be tremendous if this were an academic test, but a position of 94 on this list is a sad reality for this young lady. This is the problem—DC never allowed her to grow up into her full potential as a woman.
After the success of Superman and Superman II Supergirl, starring Helen Slater, a twenty year-old with little acting experience, premiered in November 1984 in time for the Christmas season box-office. Sadly, Supergirl was not a Christmas surprise, but become a discarded toy on the Island of Lost Toys. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088206/
Supergirl in the movie was just that. Over the last twenty years DC still had her being the girl, the cousin of Superman, in the film—which was a major disappointment. However, Helen Slater survived to have an excellent career and her acting improved with every performance. However, Supergirl as a potential film series or a television show was like green kryptonite in mega doses to DC and Warner Brothers. The honchoes at DC were livid.
One wonders whether as revenge for the movie failure, in 1985 DC, in their brilliant yet poignant Crisis on Infinite Earths, Supergirl met her fate with other superheroes. She died saving the earth. The cover shows Superman holding her as he expresses his sorrow at his loss.
It would be in 2007 on the CW’s Smallville that Kara Zor-El would be given her true status. Laura Vandervoort, a 23 year-old, was cast.
Unlike her presentations in the comics, the movie and animation, this Kara was one tough young lady who gave her cousin a crash course on what a superhero should be, especially in flying. Season 7 was Kara Kent’s moments to shine, not as Supergirl but as Superwoman.
The writers and producers wrote her out of the series, but had her returning occasionally to help Clark with his upcoming battle with Darkseid in the series finale. With the time travel ring she went to the future to join the Legionnaires leaving Clark at her Uncle Jor-El ‘s behest to face Darkseid alone.
Now, we come down to October 2015 and CBS will debut Supergirl on Monday, the 26th with Melissa Benoist as the lead for Supergirl. The problem here is that Melissa is 26 and will turn 27 on October 4—she definitely is not a girl. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2552034/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
Cat Grant explains to Kara Danvers why she named the woman who saved the plane as Supergirl instead of Superwoman. Cat’s explanation does not appear to satisfy Kara and, unfortunately, it does not ameliorate the battles of women who seek their true place in the male-dominated world.
Some statistics on women in business and the US House and Senate:
“Women currently hold 22 (4.4%) of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies.” http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-sp-500
“A total of 299 women have served as U.S. representatives or senators since 1917…. As of 2015, a total of 36 women (21 Democrats and 15 Republicans) have served as governors in 27 states. In addition, one woman has served as governor in Puerto Rico…”
Back to the series:
The story is set in National City with a host of supporting characters from the DC lexicon: Cat Grant, a corporate mogul and single mother, James “Jimmy” Olson, an older version of the club reporter in his mid-thirties, Lucy Lane, General Sam Lane, etc. However, the producers have made it clear that Superman/Clark Kent will not be visible in this production. He will exist in the shadows, the peripherals of Kara’s world as he watches over her, but what about Lois Lane since Lucy will be hanging out in National City?
Melissa Benoist does have an advantage over Helen Slater in that she has a resume full of acting credits, especially as Marley Rose on Fox’s Glee. However, one teenage girl told me this week that Melissa as Marley was “anxious”, and in the elongated trailer for Supergirl she found Melissa as Kara just as “anxious”. She plans to watch the premiere, but she does not believe it will last the whole season.
Some people find it strange that CBS, the network for the aging segment of society, would pick up Supergirl. However, back in 1978 The Incredible Hulk premiered in March on CBS and lasted until 1982.
Perhaps, CBS picked up the Hulk series because it had picked up the cancelled ABC’s The Wonder Woman series in 1977. Wonder Woman would last two seasons on CBS. Spiderman had a shorter life span at CBS 1978-79.
Based on CBS’ history with superheroes, unless Supergirl soars in its time slot with the right demographics it will become another footnote in television history. Of course, CBS has decided to pit Supergirl against Fox’s sophomore season of GOTHAM as well as NBC’s powerhouse—The Voice; the aging ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin.
Brian Steinberg in Variety wrote
“Among a burgeoning slate of programs concerned with superheroes, Madison Avenue expects CBS’ “Supergirl” and Fox’s “Gotham” to duke it out Monday nights this fall for the audience most coveted by advertisers: young people who don’t skip past the commercials. According to a Variety survey of primetime commercial-ratings projections by three big media-buying shops, “Supergirl” is expected to eke out a lead of a mere tenth of a point over the Fox drama in so-called “C3” viewership among audiences between 18 and 49 years of age….” http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/supergirl-gotham-best-watched-super-hero-series-1201549117/
What definitely will help the October 26 debut is that the Big Bang Theory will be Supergirl’s lead-in. You can bet safely that the brass at CBS will be reviewing the ratings for Supergirl to see how much of a drop happens after the Big Bang Theory, especially in the November sweeps.
There are 13 episodes scheduled so far. So, will Supergirl be a winner without the Big Guy flying in to save her and the show?
November will be crucial. Will it be a Happy Thanksgiving and an early Christmas for Supergirl? The viewers, especially the C3 ones, will decide the fate of this superheroine who deserves a break after all these decades.
G. D. Williams © 2015