Supergirl is a lot of things. Supergirl is a character, who first made her appearance in Action Comics, in May 1959. Supergirl is also a comic book, which debuted in 1972. And Supergirl is also a movie, but most recently, Supergirl has become a TV show. The show premiered in October 2015 on CBS, then moved to The CW for its second season. It stars Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El, a Kryptonian who escaped from her dying planet as a teen. Twelve years after coming to Earth, Kara decides to use her powers to become Supergirl, while retaining her adorkable secret identity. She soon after joins the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, a secret government agency dedicated to keeping Earth safe from extraterrestrial threats.
Supergirl isn’t the only superhero show out there right now, in fact there are a hell of a lot of them. The Source has a good list of current, new, and upcoming superhero TV, but until The Defenders arrives, Supergirl is my favourite out of all of them.
This isn’t just because the show is well written, though it is. The dialogue on the show is a constant delight. Paste Magazine.com has a nice selection of the best lines from just one episode, but every week it is chock full of gags that feel natural and get you laughing and smiling. The beautifully crafted dialogue is also well acted and the special effects are as good as you can expect from a TV show. As someone quite happy with the wobbly corridors of British sci-fi, such as Doctor Who and Blakes 7, it is plenty good enough for me to suspend my disbelief. As the Guardian said after the first episode of Supergirl aired in the UK:
The show is an unfashionably optimistic, genuinely fun adventure about the merits of achieving your potential. Supergirl feels like it’s consciously aiming for a broader audience than other comics-derived shows by foregrounding comedy rather than in-jokes and references to comics lore.
The show isn’t perfect, what show is, but as Legion of Leia.com says:
You always find yourself forgiving Supergirl’s flaws because the show is so damn good at making you feel something.
All these great elements of the show aren’t why it’s my favourite though; I love it because of all the science fiction. It is crammed with sci-fi, from overarching themes to the detail of stage setting. To start with the big stuff, as an article on io9 says:
…possibly the most pervasive narrative in science fiction is actually the story of refugees. They flee from planetary destruction, war, or just from overcrowding and ecological crappitude.
Supergirl fits into this paradigm very well, as the title character came to Earth to escape an environmental disaster, and other characters too are migrants, such as J’onn J’onzz, who fled to Earth from a genocidal conflict on his own planet.
And it’s not just in the concept of the show that we find these themes. Individual episodes can incorporate big, sci-fi ideas too. I was tipped off by an article on Paste Magazine.com that Episode 11 of Supergirl’s season 2 is called The Martian Chronicles, named after a book by Ray Bradbury that is one of the most famous works of sci-fi ever written. It was published in 1950 and, as Wikipedia says, it chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans fleeing from a troubled and eventually atomically devastated Earth, and the conflict between aboriginal Martians and the new colonists. Supergirl addressees these same issues of dislocation and conflict through the eyes of two Martian characters on the show.
On top of these themes, Supergirl also has a lot of the actual trappings of science fiction. For example, it has an awfully large amount of aliens. Screenrant has a full list of the aliens that have appeared on the show but a short list includes Kryptonians (Supergirl and her cousin Superman are these), shapeshifters from Mars, strong and warlike Daxamites, a cybernetic species called the Coluans, evil and telepathic Dominators, and insect-like Hellgrammites.
As well as aliens there are also robots on Supergirl, such as Red Tornado. Red Tornado is a combat android that appears in the Supergirl episode Red Faced. Red Tornado is a highly-intelligent robot with superior strength and durability and is capable of creating bursts of cyclone-force winds which enable flight, enhance speed and create storms. There are also a surprising number of spaceships on the show, and even a Stargate-type portal. The secret government force that Supergirl joins also have access to a lot of gadgets and technology that is very much science fiction.
All this sci-fi is a great backfrop for the excellent dialogue, acting and themes of the series. These themes and the interations between the characters are hugely important to a lot of viewers, but it is the sci-fi that keeps me coming back for more.
I love science fiction so much that I couldn’t help but start writing my own. I’ve written a few books now, but the first I ever wrote, and still the most popular of them, is Galaxy Dog. Galaxy Dog is the first book in the Dark Galaxy series and it is a story of adventure, spaceships, and rebellion across a galactic empire. A small group of friends, one woman, one man, and one robot incite a revolt and take on the might of the Tarazet Deep Space Navy. They find an immensely powerful alien spaceship so, even though the rebellion is extremely outnumbered, they still stand a chance. Galaxy Dog combines the action of military sci-fi with the heart of space opera. There are robots, aliens, space battles, and all the good things that make sci-fi so enjoyable. Galaxy Dog is available from Amazon right now, so just click the Universal Book Link and download a copy.