The highly-anticipated second season of “Supergirl” debuts Oct. 10 on The CW, much to the delight of fans who were worried when the show wasn’t immediately renewed by CBS after its freshman season. Even though it had the highest-rated premiere of any new show in 2015, “Supergirl” bled more and more viewers with each episode, but The CW came to the rescue and gave the show a new home this fall, where it will join “Arrow,” “Flash” and “Legends of Tomorrow” to form a fantastic foursome of DC Comics-fueled TV entertainment.
But what’s “Supergirl” going to do to avoid losing more viewers and ensure it gets a third season? CW shows don’t need to retain as many viewers as CBS shows do in order to survive, but “Supergirl” would be better off it improved on its storyline problems. Weak villains and simplistic plots bogged down a show that was otherwise solid, so the creative team will undoubtedly strive to iron out the kinks now that they’ve got a second chance to shine.
Check out some of our suggestions on what we’d like to see on the small screen this upcoming season to ensure Kara and friends are around for many more in the future.
10. Give Us the Superman We’ve Been Waiting For
According to Tyler Hoechlin, who’s playing Superman on “Supergirl” in the upcoming season, the show will give us a more hopeful version of the character. Long-time Superman fans are likely happy with this news, since many of them have been upset by the character’s current portrayal as a brooding figure in the DC Films universe. Snyder’s Superman, played by Henry Cavill, seems mopey and unsure of himself on the big screen, which is a departure from the more confident, charismatic symbol of hope in the old Christopher Reeve Superman films and Dean Cain’s portrayal in “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” in the 1990s.
If Hoechlin’s telling truth, then it’s about time. Superman needs to be written by people who understand what he represents and aren’t ashamed to show that to the public. He embodies a different set of ideals and mythos than the more “hardcore” heroes and needs a creative team that understands how awesome and fabulous that is.
9. Miss Martian’s Hyper and Sunny Personality
Actress Sharon Leal joins the series as Miss Martian this fall, but hopefully Leal and the producers will honor the character’s bubbly energy in the comics and animation. In her appearances, Miss Martian’s always displayed an excessively sunny presence that hearkens back to classic sitcoms. It’s not realistic in the least for any person to be like this constantly, or at all, but it sets Miss Martian apart from her fellow heroes.
It could be a challenge for the creative to pull off the portrayal in live-action if they respect the source material. Leal will have to be sunny without being annoying, and the writers and directors will have to craft a powerful character who doesn’t seem like a joke. Miss Martian has super strength and telepathy, like J’onn J’onnzz (David Harewood), but his personality on the show is very serious. A girl who acts like a dayplayer from an episode of “Father Knows Best” could be a tougher sell as an action hero on modern TV.
8. Introduce the Legion of Super-heroes
The Daxamite hero Mon-El showed up in a pod at the end of last season, so it’s a no-brainer that he’s going to mix it up with “Supergirl’s” cast as both friend and foe this season. However, there’s no reason to think he won’t be the gateway to another corner of the DC Comics Universe. In the comics, Mon-El’s a member of the Legion of Super-heroes, a cosmic superteam of teenaged good guys from the 30th century. At one point, Superboy even became a member of the team.
Played by Chris Wood from “Vampire Diaries,” based on what we know so far, Mon-El will be a mysterious figure whose agenda and motivation will slowly become clearer as the season progresses. But once that’s done, there will be enough storyline real estate to meet other people associated with him, most likely in Season 3, and possibly beyond. The Legion has multiple team members and decades of comic book history, so it’s better to slowly introduce their (often complicated) mythology so the rest of Supergirl’s plots and characters don’t get crowded out.
7. Develop Kara’s Motivations Outside of Being Supergirl
“Supergirl’s” second season should show us more of the “girl” in “Supergirl.” Outside of being a superhero and CatCo employee, Kara (Melissa Benoist) doesn’t seem to have much of a life, so it can be hard for viewers to fully see who she is as a person. It’s easy for us to picture Bruce Wayne gallivanting around the world as a billionaire playboy, or Clark Kent having a nice date night with Lois, but what about Kara Danvers? When she’s not dealing with workplace or supervillain crises, what does she do all day? If the show’s audience saw more of her doing more things that aren’t saving National City, they would form a more complete picture of her as a person.
To be fair, Kara does do a lot as it is. She earns a paycheck, saves the world, pines after Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), and gets into family drama, but more could still be done. Does she like classical music, country, rock, techno, alternative or something else? Does she give money to Greenpeace or a conservative organization? When she was younger, was she into “Harry Potter” or “Twilight”? As an adult, would she rather read Tolstoy, Stephen King or Clive Cussler? Would she rather see an Oscar-winning drama, a romantic comedy or a horror movie? Some of the answers to these questions have been revealed – we did, after all, see her on a date with her boss’s son — but the vast majority of them are mysteries. More fans could relate to her if she wasn’t so completely defined by her jobs and familial relationships.
6. More Drama!
All the new characters coming will undoubtedly change the show’s dynamic, hopefully adding more friction in the process. One of the reasons “Supergirl” seemed flat at times during Season 1 was the main characters mostly got along. There was sister drama between Kara and Alex (Chyler Leigh), workplace shenanigans and the sisters’ initial distrust of the Martian Manhunter, but everything was usually neatly resolved no matter how badly it began.
But new plots seem to imply more drama, which will possibly make the show more entertaining. Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg has already said that Alex will feel overshadowed by Superman in Kara’s life and be angry with him for ditching his baby cousin on the Danvers’ doorstep years ago. Will Miss Martian and Mon-El become involved in love triangles or quadrangles with other characters? Will Kara’s adoptive dad Jeremiah (Dean Cain) approve of the lives his daughters have made for themselves, and how his buddy J’onn’s been handling things? And what if one of Kara’s buddies becomes a villain? Not everyone on this show needs to be a goody two-shoes.
5. Better Villains
Hopefully the new season will feature villains that were more memorable than their predecessors. Except for Kara’s aunt Astra (Laura Benanti) and frenemy Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli), none of Supergirl’s adversaries in Season 1 stood out or left a lasting impression. It was nice to see live-action versions of classic Superman-family baddies like Livewire (Brit Morgan) and Silver Banshee (Italia Ricci), but the best thing about them was just seeing them show up. They didn’t do anything major, and neither of them have ever really been suitable major enemies for either Supergirl or Superman in the comics.
The show needs major villains who take more than one episode to defeat each time. Astra was cool as a season-long obstacle because she was related to Kara and brought the family drama, and Lord was an interesting behind-the-scenes manipulator, but they were the only two major players. Non (Chris Vance) was portrayed as a huge foe, but he was forgettable, and Indigo’s (Laura Vandervoort) horrible blue body paint and orange hair coloring made her look like a discount Halloween costume version of the X-Men’s Mystique. We already know Metallo is on his way, played by Frederick Schmidt, and other prominent villains will follow him. Let’s hope “Supergirl” does them justice and writes them as the dangerous, interesting foes they really are.
4. More Complicated Storylines
“Supergirl’s” migration to the CW from CBS may allow its creative team to tell deeper, more sophisticated storylines. Season 1 featured many villain-of-the-week plots, and the upbeat tone was often too sweet and harmless for its own good. It’s possible that CBS, a major broadcast network, required “Supergirl” to be as safe and friendly as possible to please as many advertisers as possible, which meant riskier plots were off-the-table. The network is also famous for procedural dramas like “CSI” and “NCIS,” opting for episodic storytelling rather than serialized drama. The CBS formula is great for certain types of shows, but it was arguably a bad fit for “Supergirl.”
However, The CW is a much different story. It’s smaller than CBS, so the advertiser pressure isn’t as gargantuan, freeing the creators to do more with the material. The CW also has experience producing crowd-pleasing DC Comics-focused shows. The new environment may allow the writers and directors to be more daring without the need to kowtow to a mainstream audience.
3. Tone Down the Girl Power Message
Female empowerment is a perfectly fine and valid theme for a TV show, but at times, “Supergirl” came close to overdoing it. In the first episode, Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) tells her assistant Kara that the word “girl” is indeed empowering, as opposed to the more sophisticated “woman,” and successive episodes include more female-centric lectures, including how female employees should behave in the workplace to get ahead, as opposed to their male colleagues. These are fine messages, but “Supergirl” should be careful not to be too heavy-handed with the girl power tone in future seasons.
The audience will understand how great Supergirl is from her actions and star Melissa Benoist’s performance, and that along with the occasional mention — not speechifying — will be enough. It certainly has been for other narratives with prominent women players. “Aliens” showed Ellen Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) awesomeness by what she did in the storyline, and it was same for Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Supergirl isn’t important because she’s a girl; she’s important because she’s a superhero who does impressive things.
2. End the Will-They, Won’t-They Vibe Between Kara and Jimmy Olsen
Hopefully the show won’t keep dangling or teasing a possible romance between Kara and Jimmy. One season of her pining over him and overcoming romantic obstacles is enough — and their first kiss led into a legitimate cliffhanger — but it will become tiresome if the writers keep that up. Shows like to drag out the lead-up to relationships to enhance dramatic tension, but often the longer that goes, the more it becomes stale. In most cases it’s unrealistic that two people who are attracted to each other would take so long to get together if it’s actually going to happen.
Since the show is only in its second season, it’s possibly still too early for the build-up to Kara-Jimmy to become tiring, but there’s still a risk. To remedy this, the writers should downplay the attraction between the two and give them other potential romantic partners — which they’re likely doing with all these newer characters coming who are in Jimmy and Kara’s age group.
1. The Softer Side of the Martian Manhunter
When Kara and Alex discovered that D.E.O. agent Hank Henshaw — who was really J’onn J’onnzz in disguise — wasn’t whom he said he was in the first season, they distrusted him initially. But now he’s part of their inner circle, and he has a warmer presence than he did when he was the stiff government employee who was all business. With that part of the Martian Manhunter’s story arc out of the way, there’s room for the show to add more layers.
“Supergirl” could do a lot with the Martian Manhunter’s character development by turning to the comics. On the page, the Martian Manhunter has often been written as a warrior who’s deeply philosophical, and he has quirks, like his love of Oreo cookies. Until the New 52 he was sort of like the all-father of the Justice League, though he’s more of a hardened, take charge warrior in more recent stories.
But even without the comics, there’s a lot to do with J’onn as a natural evolution from Season 1’s plots. There will be a reunion of sorts as soon as he meets up with Jeremiah Danvers, who saved his life years ago. And how will J’onn act when he meets Miss Martian, another survivor of the Martian race? Kreisberg promises there will be “flood gates” of emotions when J’onn meets her later on, so that colder demeanor is likely going to get defrosted, at least a little bit.
What do you hope to see from the new season of “Supergirl”? Let us know in the comments!
“Supergirl Season 2 debuts Monday, October 10 on The CW.
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