Supergirl and how not being so ‘super’ is cool
So, I’ve been watching Supergirl. Some people like it, some people don’t, but personally I find the concept very interesting, specially after the catastrophe that was Meh of Steel.
Let’s just get this out of the way: Meh of Steel is trash. Thanks.
Also: I’m not a comic book fan, so I don’t intend to compare the show to the comic.
Also: I’ve seen some people complaining that Supergirl is some sort of feminist propaganda. TBH, I’ve only found a couple of lines that were completely pointless: one of them is when she’s training, being followed by missiles, and she demands if she has to go through training because she’s a woman. The other one, I can’t remember, but it was also very “yeah… whatever…” And yes, Calista Flockhart has delivered a couple of those, but I don’t care, because she’s Ally McBeal and she can say anything she wants.
Now that we took the obvious stuff out of the way…
The most obvious difference between Meh of Steel and Supergirl is the sense of humor. It reminds me of the Superman movie from 1978. Supergirl is actually nice to watch, because it’s fun when it’s supposed to be fun, and serious when it’s supposed to be serious. Superman (1978) was a very good blend of action, drama and humor (ditto for Supergirl, IMO), while Meh of Steel was like a single gritty tone for around 2 hours.
However, there’s another thing that really got my attention: the fact that Supergirl isn’t really “super” in the show. When she was going to rescue the plane, she had trouble flying, and then when she tried to do other things, she pretty much screwed up (like when she caused the oil spill). What’s interesting to me here is that sometimes she’s trying to do good, but she’s never fully in control so she screws up.
The same happens during her first battle: she is overpowered because, even if she has superpowers, she doesn’t know how to use them.
To me, that’s what makes the show interesting, because it’s more realistic. We’re talking about a girl that hasn’t used her powers in a long time (she didn’t remember how to fly, for example), and is trying to go through a crash course of super-heroism. On the other hand, in Meh of Steel, Superman puts on the suit, and next thing you know, he’s destroying an entire city like a badass…
This means we also get a completely different view to the whole “they are not Super yet, so that’s why they make mistakes.” Supergirl “isn’t super yet” so she causes an oil spill. Superman (in Meh of Steel, obviously), “isn’t super yet” so he destroys two or three cities, killing a bunch of people in the process.
We still haven’t seen how Supergirl would react to a situation where she needs to fight a foe in a more populated area, so it would be interesting to see if she is smart enough to take the fight away from the city, or if she’d go full Meh of Steel and destroy half a city.
To me, Supergirl makes kryptonians watchable again.
But the story doesn’t end here. I wouldn’t be much of a sorta-game-developer if this show hadn’t gotten me thinking about a game that follows this same formula (just like Cast Away got me thinking about how a different story could have served as an origin story for Lara Croft and her “a survivor is born” motto), and how such game could present the “origin story” of a super hero, or super heroine. After all, I’m all for story-driven games, and I believe a concept like this could be an interesting one for a game.
However, it is time for me to leave, so I will talk more about this would-be game next week.