Tag Archives: greg berlanti

HBO Max Gets Green Lantern, Strange Adventures, DC Superhero High, Doom Patrol, and More

DC logo

HBO Max got a massive amount of information dumped today with reveals of what subscribers can expect.

The digital service is showing some love for fans of DC Comics with multiple shows. DC and HBO have the same parent company.

DC films of the last decade will be available within the first year of launch as well as every Superman and Batman movie from the last 40 years. Joker will debut on the service in 2020 as well.

But, it’s not just about movies, it’s television shows as well.

Greg Berlanti is developing a pair of shows for the service. Strange Adventures will be a DC superhero anthology that features DC characters from across their history. A series that focuses on the world of Green Lantern is also being worked on but details are scarce.

Also announced is a teen comedy, DC Superhero High from Elizabeth Banks. The series concept sounds a bit like the popular young reader comic series DC Super Hero Girls.

Finally, HBO Max will compete a bit with the DC Universe app as Doom Patrol will debut on the platform.

HBO Max will be available for $14.99 launching May 2020. It will be free for those with HBO and AT&T service and those with HBO Now will get HBO Max. Those who subscribe to HBO through a cable provider are currently in the dark.

Batwoman Starring Ruby Rose Gets a Pilot Order by The CW

Batwoman

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise but The CW has given a pilot order for a new show starring Ruby Rose as Batwoman. The show will be guided by DC TV czar Greg Berlanti and being penned by Caroline Dries. David Nutter will direct the episode. Berlanti, Dries, Nutter, Sarah Schechter, and Geoff Johns are exec producers.

Batwoman/Kate Kane debuted on the Arrowverse group of shows and their crossover event “Elseworlds.” Green Arrow and the Flash were forced to travel to Gotham in hopes of figuring out what was messing with reality. There, they meet Kate. In this version, Batman is missing (and a myth) and Kate has stepped in to fill the void. The event was a trial to see the reaction, which was overwhelmingly positive.

The character is described as an out lesbian and highly trained fighter who has no problem speaking her mind. With Batman missing, she’s forced into life as a crime-fighter when Gotham is overrun by chaos. She must “overcome her own demons” before she can save the city.

There have been numerous versions of the character who debuted in 1956 for DC Comics.

TV Review: Titans S1E2 Hawk and Dove

DC UniverseDC Entertainment‘s new digital service, is here and with it the promise of original programming, the first of which is TitansTitans is a live action adaptation of the classic characters and team that debuts October 12. The first season consists of 12 episodes with new ones debuting weekly.

Titans follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.

We’ve got an early look and is the wait worth it? Find out! You can read the review of the first episode here.

Positives

As this episode alludes to, we get to meet the lovesick duo of Hawk and Dove. The pair feels more like Bonnie and Clyde than the squeaky-clean version fans grew up reading in comic books. This episode also brings the new streaming service and current flagship show its first sex scene. It’s not played out graphically but you won’t see this scene on any of Berlanti’s shows streaming on the CW.

We also see how though Dick is no longer part of the Bat Family he’s not afraid to request assistance, seeking help from the other who raised him. We find out how far back the duo has a history with Robin, one that is more muddied than one expected.

Hawk, in this version, is less likable while Dove is much more flawed, but affable nonetheless. Also, in what might be look like a swipe is more like and, is several characters fandom for Game Of Thrones, making them more relatable to the viewer, thus more visceral.

In the episode a family of killers is hunting one of our protagonists. It gives the show its first big bad. Another landmark for this show, is that this is the first time we see a superhero kill some bad guys, as this show already has more blood splatters than all of the DC shows combined. And that’s only in its second episode.

The whole thing wraps up with a major cliffhanger. One that will definitely shock viewers instantly.

Negatives

None

Verdict

This is one to definitely watch as it lets the viewer know more about these characters and how even superheroes can get their love lives messy like the rest of us.


Director: Brad Anderson
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, and Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Brendon Thwaites, Liza Colon-Zayas, Teagan Croft, Anna Diop, Mina Kelly, Jarreth J.Merz, Ryan Potter, Alan Ritchson,

TV Review: Titans S1E1 Titans

DC Universe, DC Entertainment‘s new digital service, is here and with it the promise of original programming, the first of which is Titans. Titans is a live action adaptation of the classic characters and team that debuts October 12. The first season consists of 12 episodes with new ones debuting weekly.

Titans follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.

We’ve got an early look and is the wait worth it? Find out!

Positives

One of the first things that you get about Titans is how dark it is, the mood that is set somewhere between the tones of the DCEU movies and Netflix’s Marvel shows, something that pulls you in right away and is quite a pleasant surprise. As even the Netflix Marvel shows restraint in certain aspects, this  show doesn’t as was seen and heard in the show’s first trailer, from a scene in Episode 1 X 01, where Robin/Nightwing verbally disavows Batman in the most straightforward way, something fans thought they would never hear from the character, and as can be seen throughout the first episode he explains the fallout to his partner and how it ha temporarily swore off having a partner because of what happened between Bruce and Dick. The majority of the show focuses on Raven, as we get a good backstory about her , as we see her relationship with her mother, played by the prolific Sherilyn Fenn,  and how she ends up meeting Dick, through an iconic comic book scene .  As in this version, which is much more faithful to the origin story in the comic book, is also being hunted, which at first looks like a child sex trafficking ring but eventually is seen to be a group of zealots who sees her only as the daughter of Trigon.  We also get to meet Starfire, where she wakes up with no memory of how she got there and who she is , as well as why she is dressed the way she is. This part makes sense once you find out what capacity Cory Anders is before she used her powers in this version.  As was seen online in social media, the instances of backlash, regarding Diop’s race and later her look, which as I have seen in this pilot episode, was gravely premature and downright abhorrent. In what is the last ten minutes of the episode, we see out first glimpse of Beast Boy, , which I feel will pay off in the second episode. As far as the special effects, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy uses their powers to what fans can rejoice, as all three characters in this episode, are quite formidable and the CGI used showcases it perfectly.

Negatives

None as the truth is the DCEU movies can take some notes from DC’s first unfiltered not family friendly show, as I feel this show captures the grit is sought to add to these characters onscreen canon.

Verdict

Watch as this first episode pulls no punches.


Director: Brad Anderson
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, and Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Brendon Thwaites,  Liza Colon-Zayas, Teagan Croft, Anna Diop, Mina Kelly, Jarreth J. Merz, Ryan Potter, Alan Ritchson,

SDCC 2018: Stargirl is Coming to DC Universe, Plus Shazam, and Three Jokers

Geoff Johns had some reveals at his Spotlight panel Thursday at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 with the news that he is writing and executive producing Stargirl for the DC Universe digital subscription service. Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter will also executive produce. The original series is the sixth for the brand-new service and focuses on the character that started Johns’ career as a comic book writer when he created her in 1999, lovingly inspired by his late sister who was killed in a 1996 plane explosion.

Stargirl follows High School sophomore Courtney Whitmore who inspires an unlikely group of young heroes to stop the villains of the past. This new DC Universe series reimagines Stargirl and the very first superhero team, the Justice Society of America, in a fun, exciting and unpredictable series premiering in 2019, produced by Warner Bros. Television, Mad Ghost Productions and Berlanti Productions.

Before the crowd could settle down, Johns revealed he will return to Shazam! with an ongoing comic book series, reuniting with artist Dale Eaglesham. Shazam! #1 will debut on November 21, the same Wednesday before Thanksgiving that Johns debuted Doomsday Clock #1 in 2017.

Speaking of Doomsday Clock, Johns revealed new art by Gary Frank from issue #6, out July 25. Johns shared that the new issue will provide fans with Mime and Marionette’s origin stories.

Finally, Johns revealed a first look at Batman: Three Jokers by artist Jason Fabok and announced that the series will be published under the DC Black Label imprint, which promises a provocative and daring storytelling.

Doom Patrol is Coming to DC Universe as a One-Hour Live Action Drama

DC Entertainment has announced that the upcoming DC Universe digital service has ordered its next original series, the one-hour live-action drama Doom Patrol, from executive producers Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, Jeremy Carver, and Sarah Schechter. Doom Patrol is direct-to-series with 13 episodes ordered.

Written by Jeremy Carver, the series is based on DC characters originally written and drawn by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney, and Bruno Premiani.

Doom Patrol is a re-imagining of one of DC’s most beloved group of outcast Super Heroes: Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Crazy Jane, led by modern-day mad scientist Dr. Niles Caulder (The Chief). The Doom Patrol’s members each suffered horrible accidents that gave them superhuman abilities — but also left them scarred and disfigured. Traumatized and downtrodden, the team found purpose through The Chief, who brought them together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence — and to protect Earth from what they find. Part support group, part Super Hero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of super-powered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them. Picking up after the events of Titans, Doom Patrol will find these reluctant heroes in a place they never expected to be, called to action by none other than Cyborg, who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse, but with a warning that is hard to ignore: their lives will never, ever be the same.

Doom Patrol will begin production this year for a 2019 debut on DC Universe.

DC Universe is a new digital service operated by Warner Bros. Digital Networks. The platform includes the announced Titans, Swamp Thing, Young Justice: Outsiders, and Harley Quinn.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch Returns to Television Courtesy of The CW

Get ready for an intense look into the world of magic and witchcraft with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a new one-hour dark drama/horror project based on the classic Archie Comics character. The new project is eyed to debut in The CW‘s 2018-19 television season as a companion to Riverdale. It shouldn’t be surprised to see the series as Riverdale has been a hit for The CW and the comic series it’s based off of is well regarded.

The new show will be written by Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer and Riverdale Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, directed by Lee Toland Krieger, and produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Brothers Studios. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, Jon Goldwater, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lee Toland Krieger serve as executive producers.

Sabrina will draw from the comic book series from Archie Comics written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Robert Hack, detailing the compelling and shocking re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s occult origins. This dark coming-of-age story deals with horror, the occult, and witchcraft and will see Sabrina struggle to reconcile her dual nature of being half-witch and half-mortal while protecting her family and the world from the forces of evil.

Casting and additional news on the new series will be revealed in the months to come.

TV Review: Supergirl S2E6 “Changing” is literally and metaphorically draining

Supergirl -- "Changing" -- Image SPG206a_0103 -- Pictured (L-R): Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers and Melissa Benoist as Kara -- Photo: Liane Hentscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

In “Changing”, writers Caitlin Parrish, Andrew Kreisberg, and Greg Berlanti round off several characters subplots as James Olsen and Mon-El wrap up their heroic journeys, Alex Danvers comes out to her sister, Supergirl, and Martian Manhunter and Miss Martian are brought closer together in a traumatic way. Oh, and there happens to be a villain in this episode as director Larry Teng pays homage to The Thing with an alien parasite taking out scientists at a remote base near one of the poles in its cold open. Parasite (Lost’‘s William Mapother) that extremists can be on both the left and right side of the aisle. Climate change is terrible, but killing human beings isn’t the solution

But Berlanti, Parrish, and Kreisberg  use Parasite less as a global warming parable in classic Superman villain form and more as a way to cause the cast of Supergirl  external discomfort to go with their inner pain. The strongest emotional beat in “Changing” and one of the best character arcs on a TV show in 2016 belongs to Alex Danvers. Chyler Leigh excels at changing her vocal timbre and has great range as an actor going from aloof to happy to completely broken at the drop of the hat while also kicking ass in the action scenes against Parasite. She doesn’t have to speak to show the depth of her uncertainty about how to talk about being a lesbian, or the depth of her feelings towards Maggie Sawyer. The scene(s) where Alex comes out to Kara are the complete opposite of an after school special as Teng uses soft lighting with a minor piano score from Blake Neely as well as getting rid of Kara’s “glasses disguise” for a true moment of authenticity as she is there for her sister. Alex coming out as lesbian wasn’t a stunt for ratings or titillation, but an organic part of development of a character as she strives to be whole in her personal life as well as her professional life as an agent of the DEO. The ending of her storyline is completely happy, but thankfully Berlanti, Parrish, and Kreisberg go the route of Carmilla rather than The 100 as far as tragic queer characters are concerned.

Last episode, I described Mon-El as “adorkable”, but maybe he is more of a douche than a dork. His storyline in “Changes” starts out promisingly enough with Chris Wood flexing his impeccable comedic timing with Mon-El’s reactions to various aliens sending him drinks at the alien bar, which has become the show’s most memorable setting with Catco being a pale spectre of its Season 1 self. But it all goes to hell after this as Mon-El uses his powers to be an enforcer for an alien bookie and not feel any guilt about it. His amorality has gone from naive to downright frustrating or disgusting, and it’s kind of cathartic to see Alex light into him for using his powers to hurt people weaker than him and call him a coward. Mon-El does pathetically participate in the fight against Parasite as he takes baby steps towards being a superhero. He’s not very likeable though, but his role in the episode’s cliffhanger opens up a possibility for him to regain some face in the long run.

jamesolsenguardian

I have mixed feelings about the James Olsen becomes a superhero subplot, and all of Mehcad Brooks’ charm goes out the window when he is covered up behind a helmet and voice modulator. But his transformation into the vigilante Guardian has brought him and Winn closer together as well as added another black superhero to television. Even though he ends up cracking wise in the heat of battle when James battles Parasite while Supergirl and Martian Manhunter are down for the count, Jeremy Jordan plays Winn very seriously in “Changes” as he basically tells James to back off his demands for the Guardian suit. He cares for James and doesn’t want to kill himself while playing superhero. Winn is skeptical about James’ actions and kind of a stand-in for Supergirl fans, who are wary of his arc in Season 2. However, he ends up coming around when he realizes that telling a guy in a suit how to punch and defend himself is kind of an adrenaline rush. Olsen might have the gruff, grating voice of Christian Bale’s Batman, but he and Winn have a genuine good time as superheroes even if his origin story is rooted in the death of his father and his own insecurities as a “sidekick”. Some better sound editing would make the patter on Olsen’s side a tad bit snappier.

parasitesupergirl

Due to dramatic timing (and probably budget constraints), Larry Teng saves the reveal of Rudy Jones’ final Parasite form for the last third of “Changes”. Unlike the shoddy CGI of a recent of “monster” in The FlashSupergirl”s visual effects artists give him the purple hue of the comic book version to go with intimidating size and scale. The makeup and visual effects team should also be commended for their work on the wounded Martian Manhunter and Supergirl, who look like they’re on death’s door and completely drained of their health and vitality. They definitely don’t look like powerful, adorable superheroes or cool, regal Martians. In the big brawl between Mon-El, Guardian, and this week’s villain, Teng doesn’t neglect the horror giving Parasite a “chest burster” for a mouth that he breaks out when fighting Mon-El on the streets.  His direction (and the writing) does falter a little bit with the quick reveal of a limitless energy MacGuffin that Supergirl gives Parasite to finally defeat him which is even little too much deus ex machina for a superhero show. However, the image of Kara taking on a huge burst of energy that could destroy any of her friends is a visual representation of her ability to inspire James Olsen to become a superhero, Alex Danvers to embrace her queer identity, and for Mon-El to “show up”.

On the surface, “Changes” get its title from the physical transformation that Dr. Rudy Jones endures as he goes from an overzealous scientist to a character in an early David Cronenberg movie to a tricked out supervillain. However, it is truly about the transformations in Supergirl”s well-rounded supporting cast. Some changes are more thoughtful (Alex Danvers) than others (Mon-El), but the episode is another shining example of how Supergirl has reached new heights by focusing on the people behind the icons aka their feelings and not just flying, alien punching, and shapeshifting. All those things are cool though.

alexcomesout

Finally, Changes” is also yet another stellar example of how inspiring science fiction and superhero stories can be towards queer people as Kara finds common ground with Alex in their shared “secret identities” as a superhero and queer woman respectively. But Supergirl doesn’t stay in the world of metaphor and strives for nuanced LGBT representation as Alex and Maggie are at very different places, and maybe a romantic relationship isn’t the best option for them right now even though all the fans want them to smooch.

In a country where the government will be run by a man who allowed queer teenagers to be literally tortured and shocked into “becoming straight”,  Chyler Leigh’s portrayal of Alex Danvers is a beacon of hope and a reminder that you can come out at any stage of your life.

Overall Rating: 8.5

Supergirl S2E1: The Adventures of Supergirl Recap

supergirl21fi

Season 2 of Supergirl kicked off with a bang last night on its new home The CW. Any fans who were skeptical about how the change in networks would effect their beloved show can relax.

Fans and newcomers to the show were treated to a new intro and that classic CW look. Always ready to keep the viewers on their feet there was a space pod crash and a mystery Kryptonian crash landed on earth.

In the interim between season 1 and season 2 the clandestine alien hunting team have moved into newer digs. No longer underground and with a little more autonomy, the lovable laughable Winn is now a member of the team. He’s their tech guy and it was a clever way to keep him on the show since it looks like Kara won’t be spending much time at the office season.

Supergirl -- "The Last Children of Krypton" -- Image SPG202a_0016 -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist Kara/Supergirl and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark/Superman -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

We also get to meet Superman and see the big cousin, little cousin ribbing and love that we needed. Having Clark on the show means Kara has someone, like her to talk about her Kryptonian problems. The Superman intro was delightfully campy, complete with slow motion running and shirt ripping to reveal the giant house of El crest.

The villain this time around is kind of ambiguous. Lex Luthor may or may not be trying to take his sister out and he’s willing to put all of National City at risk to do it. Supergirl and Superman team up throughout the episode and prove that two heads are better than one. I just hope that this mash up does not turn into the Superman show with Kara as a side kick.

Everyone’s favorite mogul and Kara mentor is back and still being the awesome example of a boss chick that we love. She is putting pressure on Kara to chose her next career at Cat Co. because she’s too good to just be an assistant. A good quarter of the episode is Kara trying to choose her path and Cat trying to lovingly but, bluntly get her to make a choice. In the end Kara chooses to be a reporter which Cat knew she would chose from the second she met her. That’s why Cat was so hard on her. She wanted to polish the diamond in the rough. There’s something refreshing about seeing them interact. We get to watch an older successful woman mentoring a young woman just starting out. She’s not trying to turn her into a clone, she’s trying to help her be the best she can be. So often in media we see women tearing other women down, exhibiting a sort of Highlander (there can be only one) mentality, or lamenti about boys. Their relationship is the kind that little girls need to see because it’s an image that is lacking in most media & depictions of female relationships.

clarkandkaraSpeaking of relationships, Jimmy and Kara are trying to make the relationship thing work. But, it’s not going as well as planned. clearly these two love each other and we all love to ‘ship them but, the timing isn’t right and Kara isn’t as into it as she could be. There is this great moment where Kara breaks the news to Jimmy and he acts like a human being. I phrase is like that because so often men take it the wrong (aggressive) way when women friend zone them. When Kara tells him that she just wants to be friends because she needs time to figure out who she is, how she can be Kara and Supergirl and, how she can manage a career he accepts it and supports her instead of telling her why she is wrong and pushing a romantic relationship on her. There was no saltiness and he kept his sulking to himself. It was a nice example for the young men watching, a feminist flag saying that women are not property and they don’t owe you a romantic relationship .

Another nice example for the men watching was Superman himself. When Kara asks for his advice about balancing it all he gives it to her. He doesn’t mansplain or tell her what to do instead he tells her how he did it and that she can figure it out. He treats her as a person instead of an object. He listens instead of ordering and, helps instead of sowing seeds of doubt.

Lena provides an antiCat for the series, she’s a strong woman but, she’s a variation on the most common women in power trope. She’s ruthless, cold and kind of heartless. She doesn’t even bat an eye at shooting a mama who was sent by her brother to kill her, even though Superman or Supergirl could have taken him down. But, the shows  take on this trope makes her relatable. She’s end fighting for her place so long she knows she’s alone and somehow it comes off less sexist and cliched and more complex and real.

With the threat to Lena neutralized and another unconscious Kryptonian pod person in the mix, Clark decides to stick around. The last few minutes of the show gave us the birth of Metallo who I’m assuming will be one of this seasons villians. Pod man (or should I just call him Valor? Because, it’s not like y’all weren’t thinking the same damn thing) will hopefully join the fight and I’m hoping the hero injection on the show doesn’t over power the She-ro the show is supposed to be about.

Overall this was a great start on the new network. It was serving up a little Smallville magic and I am hoping the magic continues. Supergirl is one of the few truly Girl powered (and empowering) shows on right now and, I am hoping that the writers continue to do right by her because she deserves it.

Overall Rating: 9.7

TV Review: Supergirl S2 E1 “Adventures of Supergirl” is a Crossroads for Kara

Supergirl -- "The Last Children of Krypton" -- Image SPG202a_0016 -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist Kara/Supergirl and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark/Superman -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Much of the press surrounding the season 2 premiere of Supergirl has been centered around Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Hoechlin guest starring as Superman, and he does turn in the best performance as the Man of Steel since the last Christopher Reeve. However, “Adventures of Supergirl” is about a turning point in Supergirl’s (Melissa Benoist) life as she must decide what job she is taking at Catco, whether she wants to date James Olsen (Mechad Brooks), and basically choose what kind of person she wants to be. Sure, a mercenary with a British accent and a name that is familiar to comic book nerds shows up to wreak havoc, and there is some intrigue from Lena Luthor. But writers Andrew Kreisberg, Jessica Queller, and Greg Berlanti focus the main brunt of the plot on Supergirl’s “coming of age” and ably position Superman’s guest apperance as both a family member and someone she can aspire to be. It’s the bedrock of a pretty overstuffed premiere that also features a subplot about tension between Superman and Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) over the DEO keeping kryptonite as insurance against any rogue Kryptonians.

“Adventures of Supergirl” is a major episode in Supergirl’s continuing character arc, and Melissa Benoist shows some nice acting range as she goes from smiling while saving a plane with Superman to stuttering about filling out an Internet quiz to pick her new job at Catco. And even though she isn’t Cat Grant’s (Calista Flockhart) assistant any more, Kara is a little unsure of herself as she and Superman (in disguise as Clark Kent) investigate Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) and in some of her interactions with Cat. However, she has never been more confident as Supergirl as she smiles while speed fixing L-Corp (formerly LexCorp) Tower and crack jokes about changing Superman’s diapers on Krypton to a family of bystanders she rescues. When Supergirl shields civilians or bullets or flies to save an airplane, it makes you believe in things like truth and justice. And this extends to her civilian life as Kara Danvers as she channels some of her life as Supergirl into an impassioned plea to Cat Grant to become a reporter at Catco. (Also, it’s the perfect job for a superhero, and you can get “exclusive scoops”. Just ask Peter Parker or Lois Lane.)

clarkandkara

“Adventures of Supergirl” also features a trio of wide-ranging guest performances for the earlier mentioned Hoechlin, Flockhart, and McGrath. Hoechlin’s plays Superman as a human being, not an icon, and he channels the competent, mature reporter and hero that has settled down with Lois Lane as written in Post-Crisis stories by John Byrne, Dan Jurgens, Mark Waid (His investigative reporting in Superman Birthright especially.), and the DC Animated Universe. The writers give him just a dash of cheesiness in his dialogue to satisfy fond memories of “bumbling reporter” Clark Kent, and director Glen Winter frames the big “S” front and center in the action scenes and establishing shots before cutting to him making a dry quip or shaking DEO soldiers’ hands. Superman is a family man with godlike powers, and Hoechlin and Benoist have a cheerful chemistry with Superman giving her helpful tips about being a more efficient superhero while Supergirl tells him stories about Krypton. I’m glad that they will have a few more episodes to explore their relationship, grow together, and share more triumphant high fives and smiles.

catgrantyas

Unfortunately, Cat Grant’s time as a main cast member of Supergirl has drawn to a close, but “Adventures of Supergirl” is hell of a curtain call for her. Kreisberg, Queller, and Berlanti build off the friendlier relationship that she and Kara developed at the close of Season 1 while still keeping some of her trademark sniping for good measure, like her constant reminders of the exact time Kara has to choose a job at Catco. Cat gets some of the most perceptive writing in the episode as she remarks that Supergirl’s beliefs are what make her a hero, not her abilities. Cat also gets a tiny bit sentimental when she talks about Kara’s potential to grow from an awkward, unsure assistant to a confident woman because she sees her drive to succeed in Kara. Flockhart excels at playing the mentor much more than the angry boss even though her one-liners are sharp as ever.

Finally, Katie McGrath brings an otherworldly presence to the role of Lena Luthor. Her calculated line delivery makes her initially seem like a femme fatale played by Eva Green, and Clark Kent doesn’t trust her, but she is really a woman, who wants to make something for herself apart from her family. She isn’t Lex Luthor’s plant, but a woman with a vision even though we don’t get to see her business acumen in this episode. Lena does end up being the one to take out Corben, and Kreisberg, Queller, and Berlanti do a twist on the Superman/Luthor dynamic by writing a favorable article about her and her company L-Corp because it’s the “truth”. But from the slow, measured ways that McGrath delivers Lena dialogue, and the “all too easy” ending of this episode, she may end up being a villain yet.

lenaluthor

Despite strong performances and inspirational themes, “Adventures of Supergirl” does have its shortcomings. The lack of budget in the move from CBS to the CW definitely shows with Winter’s quick cuts to not expose the fact that Supergirl and Superman are flying against a generic cityscape green screen. The sad richness that David Harewood brought to his voice performance as the Martian Manhunter in Season One is also distorted in the sound mix. Besides these technical hiccups, John Corben is a pretty one-dimensional villain of the week as your standard run of the mill merc with a drone that looks bought off eBay. (He becomes immensely cooler in the stinger though.) “Adventures of Supergirl” is also juggling a ton of plots and subplots, and major one of them (Jimmy/Kara romance) doesn’t get the kind of attention and lingering camera shots it got last season as Kara decides to just be friends with James. It does make sense that she wouldn’t have time for a romantic relationship at such a transitional time in her life though.

A villain of the week and some special effects issues aside, “Adventures of the Supergirl” is a sparkling example what an inspiring show Supergirl is and features some excellent character chemistry between Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl, Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman, and Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant. The episode dedicates itself to establishing and shifting the character of Supergirl while setting up a couple of mysteries to explored down the road. Lena Luthor is especially captivating thanks to Katie McGrath

Overall Rating: 8.5

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