Why You Should Be Watching Supergirl

When I first heard there was a Supergirl TV show in the works I was skeptical. Supergirl has never really held her own as a solo comic book character. Her comic series tend to get cancelled quite a lot but she’s a popular character when she shows up in ensemble books so it’s surprising they took a risk on a high budget solo series for her. I’m really glad they did though because it’s one of my favourite TV shows on right now and here are some reasons you should be watching too.


They’ve Started Their Own Continuity

In the show Kara Zor-El is the cousin of Superman who was sent to watch over him on earth when he was a baby. However, something went wrong and she was lost in time for a while meaning when she arrived Clark had been there for 20+ years and he didn’t need her protection anymore. Her comic origin is a much more ridiculous and complicated story involving a shrunken city in a bottle (Yes really) so I can understand why they went with their own version. This leaves them free to develop their own universe without all the baggage Superman brings with him. He still exists in their world but they keep National City pretty separate from Metropolis. They have also inserted Supergirl into some classic Superman storylines and situations. Surprisingly they’ve picked a lot of the more “out there” stories and characters to deal with in their first season. The greater DC universe is filled with aliens but this is the first live action thing to even mention them outside of Kryptonians. 

It Respects The Source Material 

Now this is not to be confused with being overly serious about your story like Batman Begins or Man of Steel. In my opinion trying to make everything gritty and down to earth loses the very thing that makes comics so great. They’re fantastical, you routinely see things that could never happen in the real world. For some reason TV and movie execs used to think people weren’t ready to accept the wonderfully stupid world of comics. Thanks to shows like Supergirl, Flash, Arrow and the Marvel movies they’re starting to realise that there are literally decades of amazing storylines just waiting to be adapted. 

Supergirl embraces it’s silly history, it’s not afraid to put bad guys and heroes in their actual costumes with their original origins. They’ve done what many people have tried and failed to do (looking at you Zack Snyder) over the years and made Superman’s villains interesting in live action form. It’s been a complete breath of fresh air not having them rehash the same old Lex Luthor crap every other Superman movie and show seems obsessed with. Supergirl has been working her way through an interesting mix of costumed aliens, robots and meta-humans. She’s teamed up with the Martian Manhunter, had her DNA stolen to create a Bizarro Supergirl and even wrestled with a mind controlling alien plant in an awesome re imagining of the “For The Man Who Has Everything” comic storyline. These are all the types of things comic fans have wanted to see Superman do for years but no one’s had the guts to do it outside of cartoons.

It’s Full of Positive Characters


One thing that immediately stands out about DC’s TV shows is that the main character is always surrounded by an incredibly supportive group. They really emphasize the value of friendship and working together. I think it’s important for younger fans to have these kind of positive heroes as role models. Too many young DC fans are going to grow up having only watched the misguided movies from Zack Snyder and thinking that these worst versions of DC Superheroes are the norm.

Supergirl is also one of the few powered female superheroes we have on film right now. She flies around going toe to toe with super powered aliens, regularly saves her male friends from danger and they don’t make a big deal out of it. James Olsen doesn’t sulk because he’s been emasculated or make a joke about being saved by a girl, he thanks her for her help and they go on being friends. She also has a much less overtly sexualised costume compared to her comic counterpart, her friend Winn makes her a less practical outfit in the first episode but Kara promptly rejects it.

It’s About To Become Part of a Bigger Universe 

They recently aired an episode where The Flash made a cameo appearance on Supergirl because the parent company CBS owns them both. The set up for the episode was that Flash accidently creates an interdimensional portal and ends up stranded on Supergirl’s Earth. This was such a good reward for long term fans of both series. Seeing Flash and Supergirl excitedly geeking out about each other’s universe had me grinning ear to ear the whole time and it’s actually the thing that inspired me to write this post. That’s what fans want to see when superheroes meet up, we want them to be friends and to help each other. Not try to murder each other (Looking at you again Snyder). 

We didn’t know at the time this episode was announced but it was actually the start of something bigger. Season 2 of Supergirl is moving channels in the US and will be joining The Flash and Arrow on The CW channel. This will mean that they’re free to cross them over whenever they want. If there’s anything comic fans love it’s a good crossover and I’m so excited to see what happens when the three tv shows are finally allowed to meet up. 

Why Inside Out Should Have Been Nominated for the Best Picture Oscar

Every year the best of the best and glitteriest of the glittery follow their natural homing instincts and gather for the annual Academy Awards ceremony.

oscarThe Academy has long been considered the most prestigious award one can get for making a great movie. Some chase after Oscars for years, desperately starring in anything that they think will get them the coveted gold covered statuette of a naked man.

Some will chase to boost ticket and DVD sales. Some like the respect winning can get you. Others probably enjoy the higher wages one can demand when you’re a big star.

 

One of the most sought after awards is that of the Best Picture, just a nomination can boost sales by up to 60%.

Despite this, The Best Picture Oscar has been very hit and miss over the years, and has often overlooked some amazing films in favour of something that might be a little more mainstream.

carl upAnimation in particular has had to fight to be recognised in it’s own right. The Best Animated Feature award was only introduced in  2001, and animated films have only been nominated for Best Picture three times (Beauty and the Beast in 1992, Up! In 2009 and Toy Story in 2010).

At one point Inside Out was tipped to join the other three and get a nomination for Best Picture. Unfortunately it missed out.

I have only seen two and a half of the Best Picture nominated films, so I’m not going to tell you why they shouldn’t have been nominated, but instead this is an argument as to why Inside Out should have received a nomination.

I’m pretty sure it’s been mentioned before that I love Disney Pixar. Their beloved characters, involving stories and innovative animation techniques make them some of the very best kids movies around.

inside-out-1024x640I think it is this mind set that has often made it difficult for animated films to be taken seriously by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (we’ll call it The Academy for short), they’re often seen as ‘for kids’. For some reason entertainment that is aimed at children is seen a being of a lesser quality, a lesser art form as that for adults.

It’s this perception that really needs to go. Yes it is true that a lot of drivel is pumped out at an exponential rate aimed at capturing children’s attention, and (more importantly, to the makers) their parent’s money. This does not mean that every TV show, book, or movie that is aimed at children is somehow inferior to adult entertainment. This is even before I start on the argument that not all animation is for children and is an art form in it’s own right. 

Inside Out is an exploration of emotions, what they truly mean and how they interact with each other. Emotions are not something that only children experience, they are a universal human experience. So I find it somewhat unfair that The Academy could have perhaps snubbed it for being animated and aimed at children, as it is a very solid piece of cinema that has a lesson we can all learn from.

rileyThe story is about an 11 year old girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), who, along with her family, moves from Minnesota to San Francisco in California. Though initially she seems excited about the new house and a new start. When the new house is a bit of a let down, still no moving truck and her father keeps having heated telephone discussions about his business the dream turns sour.

As she struggles to keep herself together she tries not to let her parents know that she is finding it difficult to adjust and keeps on smiling and not talking about her feelings.

Inside her head we can see those emotions as they all tussle to be in charge on the console. As Joy (a wonderfully chirpy Amy Poehler) struggles to keep Sadness (a wonderfully morose Phyllis smith) at bay. When Sadness keeps making all of Riley’s happy memories sad Joy tries to prise them away from her, in the tussle they both end up getting sucked through a memory recall tube and get lost in the Long Term Memory. Leaving Anger (Lewis Smith), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Fear (Bill Hader) in charge of keeping Riley happy and Joy and Sadness desperately trying to find their way back to help Riley.

 

INSIDE OUT

On the journey home Joy constantly tries to keep everything light and jovial, even when getting back to head quarters seems hopeless, she tries to remain upbeat in the face of adversity. With the help of her companion she has to learn that it’s OK to feel sad when you need to, and to talk to the people you love and trust about being sad, and it is these simple actions that can get you the help you need to bring back the feeling of happiness.

There are also themes of moving on and being able to let go from the past as we can see from the imagination land area of Riley’s brain, which is going over a dramatic makeover from Riley the child to Riley the adult. As well with the character Bing Bong, Rileys’s imaginary friend from when she was little who no longer gets played with but still lingers in her long term memory in the hope that one day he will be remembered.

bing bongThe script is just lovely, for a film about the importance of sadness it’s a pretty funny film, as well as being deeply touching at times. Like the very best Pixar films it makes you cry at more than one point and makes you feel all of the emotions all at once. It manages this all whilst being accessible to everyone, from a young child to an elderly person.

Amy Poehler does a great job of bringing Joy to life, she’s like an animated version of Leslie Knope, her character from Park and Recreation. Though when Joy realises that Sadness was right all along Poehler is able to bring a humility to the performance.

With a solid script (It did get nominated for Best Script at the Oscars) stellar performances and a moving storyline Inside Out should have been in the running for Best Picture, but it missed out.

riley familyWe can’t say for certain why, the nominations are voted for by the members of The Academy, maybe it’s because most of the Academy members are old men, and they are perhaps less inclined to vote for a film about an 11 year old girl over a film about a newspaper investigating paedophilia within the church.

 

Maybe they just didn’t think it was worth it was because it was aimed at children.

Maybe it was simply because it was animated. Who knows?

What I do know, is that this a moving and delightful film for anyone of any age. It helps us all to look at our own emotions and how they can all play a part in making us who we are and contribute to making us happy (even sadness) and that it was deserving of at least a nomination of Best Picture.