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  1. Brierrose
  2. Love Fool Vanity Monster Sherlock Holmes
  3. Supergirl General Discussion
  4. Friday, 07 December 2018
It’s been awhile since I started a thread and when I wrote this a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t going to post it, but here goes.
It seems to me that people aren’t enjoying the show as much anymore. I started thinking about this trend and ways, within our control as viewers, to reverse it.
I think a factor in the decline in enjoyment is the human tendency towards nostalgia coupled with a very human fear of change means we sometimes get stuck in the past. I had a High School history teacher who said we needed to learn history so we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past but at the same time it’s dangerous to live in the past, instead we should use our knowledge of history to make a better future. How can what Ms. Hoyt said be related relate to TV shows, which we have little control over, I think the answer lies in our perspective.
Fans tend to put origin stories, meaning first seasons of TV shows on a pedestal such that in their minds nothing else can compare. Season one was excellent and got me hooked on the show but it wasn’t perfect, to name a few things. Alex didn’t have a life beyond “protecting” Kara. Winn followed Kara around like an adoring puppy. Kara was a little whiny and lacked self-confidence, the whiny bit was fixed by the mid-season and her confidence grew as she did. The other issues were remedied in later seasons. I guess I’m not a very nostalgic person because I haven’t re-watched season one since summer 2016, season two since summer 2017, and season three since last summer. I have all seasons on Blu-ray and maybe I’ll do a binge from the start of the series before the 100th episode. This tendency to elevate the first season is certainly not only an issue with this show. I started watching Flash in season three and only watched the first two seasons last summer. It seems like everyone says the first season of Flash is the best season of a comic book show ever. I thought it was great but not deserving of the praise that continues to be heaped on it. Was my perspective of Flash season one altered because I watched seasons three and four first, undoubtedly it was.
The fact is season one is done and we’ll never have Kara’s origin story again. Good fictional characters grow and change, mirroring real life. Melissa has said in interviews that Kara’s not the same person she was when the show started and she seems to have a vision of who she wants Kara to become. Let’s take a cue from our leading lady and look to the future while honoring the past rather than living in it.
I want to use this thread to brainstorm ways we can dwell less on the shows past, while honoring it, so that we may appreciate the wonderfully rich world and characters that we have in the present. Use this thread to share any tips/tricks you have for doing that. Or if you want challenge board members with specific actions that will hopefully result in increased enjoyment of the show we all love.
I’ll start the ball rolling with three challenges to my fellow board members.
1) Stop rating episodes and seasons. I believe it was Kelly who said she enjoyed the show more once she stopped.
2) We’re all here to say what we like or don’t like about a particular episode or even season and why, but I challenge members to do that without directly comparing one episode or season to another.
3) In order to focus on what you like about the current season, at least during the current season refrain from re-watching episodes from past seasons.
Let me know if you accept any or all of my challenges and of course present your own.
Hope, Help and Compassion for all
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my frustration has always been the lost potential that the show had from S1. and yes I know it wasn't perfect but was a solid launch pad for what good have been so great, and then it just backslid. And I don't say that from nostalgia, it was really unwatchable at times. Here's hoping they focus on what they do well (strong scenes that show off Melissa's incredible range) and less of what they are terrible at (romance and sticking to bad storylines regardless of overwhelming fan and critical backlash)
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I like the show and the season. I do think they could have kept the show focused on Kara's emotions and difficulties with the current situation rather than on the story of Manchester Black and Ben Lockwood, but I am hoping that will change in the back half of the season. The show did have Melissa's lack of availability to deal with. Not just that... They have had a lot of other issues and they are still standing. Good for them!
Otherwise, in my opinion, the season has been very coherent.
There are times when I don't rate (I have not for the past couple of episodes) but it should be an individual choice. I think there is also fun to be had and data to be collected from that. Data informs our understanding just like the past informs our understanding of who we are and where we come from.
I am hoping we will all be happy mostly with what happens in episode 10 and beyond. Oh.. and.. I am sure ratings are just a result of more people watching the show through other means than on demand. The show is telecast worldwide not just in the US and many people across the world love it. It is one of the best rated shows in CW too. I don't think the showrunners treat it any differently than say the rest of its shows (except for having Bat Woman on Earth 1:( ).
I loved the Dragon. I hope he comes back.
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My suspicion is that they are saving the effects budget for the "Red Daughter" arc.

That said, they still managed to give us Supergirl vs. a dragon. I was impressed! And not just by the effects but by the way she talked it down.


Nothing would make me happier than being wrong about the syndication idea, and I truly hope you are correct about upcoming episodes. As for the Dragon fight, I was far from impressed. The fight was an inconsequential misunderstanding in plot terms, and it was just special effects/cgi magic with no sense of reality. To me it felt tacked on. The brief struggle with the masked Soldiers of Liberty was better, but very short and a bit oddly shot.
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A few words:

The show is still very enjoyable in relation to the other CW Arrowverse offerings so I still make a priority point to tune in and watch it. Some of the other Arrowverse offerings, despite having good casts, have very limited appeal and watch-ability (i.e. Arrow and LoT).

Having said that, the magic and lustre has slowly faded since the initial newness burst from Season 1, partly because of the loss/dismissal and reduction of key creative decision making figures (i.e. Ali Adler and Andrew Kreisberg). The late move from CBS to the CW, and the shift toward harder social and politically oriented storylines and the loss/reduction of some of the characters from Season 1 disrupted the flow of Season 2. The show became darker and more serious.

Season 2 brought in LGBTQ issues which may or may not have impacted the general viewing nature of the show. This in itself was a good social rights move, but a difficult adjustment for generally conservative TV viewers who form the bulk of the US audience. The added ultra-negativity brought upon the show by the extreme fan bases also did not help matters. This created a spillover effect into Season 3.

Season 3, although very good for about 50% (first half) lost steam after AK's dismissal (albeit justified, the creative spark and DC lore knowledge was replaced by more politically oriented agendas) and has carried over into Season 4. No one is disputing or knocking the acting abilities of the actors and the character portrayals - Reign, Mon-EL and Brainiac 5 and the Legion, but it seemed to be too much all at once. Some of the episodes in S3 suffered as a result.

Season 4, thus far, has been decent and watchable but has been clouded by the overt political nature of the themes being played out. The difficulty with this is that the fantasy/escapist world the show is supposed to be about has been tainted by real-life social issues and hardened attitudes. This may or may not be a good thing given the current social and political climate in the world. How this is handled by the writers, PTB and network brass as the show goes forward will impact on the show's ongoing watch-ability.

As has been pointed out by others, once the show concludes S4, it may/will be eligible for syndication and wider TV distribution. Although the CW does not concern itself with hard viewership numbers such as the big US Networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX), the fact that the show is more of a niche offering limits its accessibility to a wider viewing audience. If a segment of society (still) does not have access to the CW or prefers not to use streaming/on-demand services, then the viewership will remain static (i.e. stay the same with some minor fluctuations) or will decrease as other viewing choices present themselves.

The good news in all of this is that since S4 may lead to S5 and the prospect of the show being picked up in syndication appears to be likely, it is possible that Supergirl may have a resurgence on TV if one of the major networks start to air re-runs of S1 through S4. The key to keep in mind here is that the big networks cannot/will not easily take chances on a first-run niche show (instead they will opt for traditional number-grabbing viewership locks such as first-run sports, comedies, detective/medical dramas, etc.), but can and normally do pick up syndicated re-runs and air them at will, since the ratings numbers for these re-run shows don't factor as greatly into their immediate profit gains/losses or ongoing budgets.

So, in a nutshell, has the show succeeded: I would state that yes, to date and despite several knocks against it, it has succeeded in a number of key areas but has fallen a tad short in others. It has helped usher in a desire by the viewing public to watch female-lead superhero shows (Supergirl leads to Batwoman, etc.) and has shifted the once-unthinkable social consciousness that such shows could not work and also lit the desire for larger cinematic offerings (be they female-led DC or Marvel movies). On the more negative side, the various overt agendas and slants that have come to the forefront on the show have marred it to an extent but have not critically injured it (yet).

Given all of these factors, and all of the hiccups and pitfalls the show has gone through/is going through, it will survive in one form or another. Rest assured that there is an appetite for such programming and that the show (and shows like it) will continue to be requested and aired. Supergirl has made and continues to make her mark on the broader TV landscape. This is a huge win in anyone's books.


A final word or two of advice, for whatever it is worth; sit back, watch the show, don't over-analyse it, and enjoy the roller coaster ride. :)
"Life Goes On" - The Kinks, from the CD/LP/Download Sleepwalker. (1977)
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https://flic.kr/p/RycQwK"When the show debuted it was obvious the producers had done many things right, and we shouldn't take that for granted because there were plenty of areas where they could have made wrong decisions. They made an inspired casting choice with Melissa."

Yes, certainly! I think the casting director must have been familiar with the character of Supergirl, as presented in the comics. Melissa's real-life personality mirrors that of Kara in the Silver Age Supergirl comics I grew up reading. (And the exact same thing could be said of the decision to cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.)

"They, at least initially, made her powers formidable but not so overwhelming that it drained all the drama from her clashes with opponents. They got the costume just right. They did a pretty good job of surrounding Kara with a talented and interesting cast. Most importantly, they didn't shy away from offering thrilling combat sequences. As the first DC show starring a female hero, they obviously made the call that Supergirl would go toe to toe with the baddies just as effectively as the male heroes. "

Totally agree! The decision was made to present Supergirl's "battle" sequences in the same way they were presented in the original comics. And they made the right call when they chose to lower her power level from the extremes of the Silver Age comics (so Kara's enemies didn't always have to resort to kryptonite or "magic" when battling her). But I also think they made a mistake by not clearly delineating (yes, I know I sound like a science teacher - sorry :) the extent of her powers. It's often seemed as if consistency in her powers and vulnerabilities has been sacrificed to the demands of the plot. That may not be a problem for many viewers, but personally I've found that it gets in the way of my suspension of disbelief.
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P.S. Speculation time. I truly hope I'm wrong, but I suspect that season 4 is being made to reach the magic syndication threshold. As such, they are trying to save as much money as possible on this season, hence the lack of expensive superheroics. Other than the crossover, my guess is we'll only see two or three episodes where they spend the money on good action scenes.

Off topic, but to my mind, this is doubtful.

If it still aired on CBS, I think you'd be right to be concerned, but as I understand things, the CW network has a different business model. They rely far more on revenue from streaming deals with Netflix, than traditional syndication--or even overnight ratings.

In the US, Arrow currently airs in syndication (TNT, I think), but it is not really a massive draw. Internationally, I believe Netflix airs Supergirl soon after broadcast. In the US, it is after each season is completed. So there isn't as much a financial incentive to push a show just to hit the magic number for strip syndication. The Dynasty reboot turned a profit even before it premiered due to those deals.

My suspicion is that they are saving the effects budget for the "Red Daughter" arc.

That said, they still managed to give us Supergirl vs. a dragon. I was impressed! And not just by the effects but by the way she talked it down.
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I think the issue with people enjoying the show less now isn't about unfair comparisons with past seasons, at least not exactly. I think the issue is that the show has drifted away from its reason for being. The reason we are all here discussing this is because we love and support the idea of a television program about the DC Comic character Supergirl. Kara Danvers/Supergirl has amazing abilities and uses them to help and defend the people of her adopted home, Earth. The excitement, the draw of the show, is Supergirl's abilities and watching her use them to fight evil.

When the show debuted it was obvious the producers had done many things right, and we shouldn't take that for granted because there were plenty of areas where they could have made wrong decisions. They made an inspired casting choice with Melissa. They, at least initially, made her powers formidable but not so overwhelming that it drained all the drama from her clashes with opponents. They got the costume just right. They did a pretty good job of surrounding Kara with a talented and interesting cast. Most importantly, they didn't shy away from offering thrilling combat sequences. As the first DC show starring a female hero, they obviously made the call that Supergirl would go toe to toe with the baddies just as effectively as the male heroes.

Season 4 has, so far at least, almost entirely abandoned the founding concept of the show and the reason people wanted to watch it, which is to see a Superheroine use her abilities to combat powerful enemies. Now understand, that in no way means that every episode needs to be an action-fest. There are plenty of reasons to make episodes lighter on fighting. Plot needs, cost, giving supporting cast a chance to shine, etc. But Season 4 has rejected the core reason for being of the show by offering almost no super battles at all. Worse, they've replaced action with an overtly political arc that has dominated the entire first third of the season. Not just political, but, in terms of the writing, often blazingly obvious, manipulative and ham-fisted politics. I happen to agree with the political message they are conveying, yet I repeatedly cringe at the graceless way they present it multiple times per episode.

So, are comparisons to previous seasons unfair? well, in the sense that for eight episodes Supergirl the show has failed to deliver Supergirl the character being super, no I don't it's unfair. It isn't so much that the comparisons are unfair as that the show has strayed way too far from its purpose.

P.S. Speculation time. I truly hope I'm wrong, but I suspect that season 4 is being made to reach the magic syndication threshold. As such, they are trying to save as much money as possible on this season, hence the lack of expensive superheroics. Other than the crossover, my guess is we'll only see two or three episodes where they spend the money on good action scenes.
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Am I a fan because I like the show's choices? Or do I like the show's choices because I m a fan?

I have bailed on television shows when they no longer provide what I am looking for. Even ones I followed for a good while.

Not going to lie, I was as close to bailing on this season as I ever have been for an Arrowverse show. Taken on its own merits, had I not had three seasons of goodwill built up prior, I would have dismissed this season after the first episode and not looked back. Supergirl the show has a long way to go before it regain its "my favorite show" standing, but the last three episodes have been the best of the season so far.

What kept me watching, despite the *ahem* myriad issues I had were:
* the excellent cast
* characters I am invested in
* my love for the Superman family and related mythos/lore

When all else fails, and it sometimes does, those are the things I can rely on the show to provide.
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This is a tough topic but a welcomed one. Adding to the season 1 changes was of course a new filming location, new actors and new network. I doubt CBS would have explored some of the topics that CW is willing to explore. Entire fan base groups appeared for Sanvers, for Karamel, for Supercorp. I think that because a lot of those storylines are now over, people that were here for those elements are gone. In Season 1 I remember talking to fans about how we were all here for Supergirl. I think this season those are the fans that remain.
For me, the crossover has the biggest potential so far and I am genuinely looking forward to tomorrow!
You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun, Kal. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.
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Brierrose, your history teacher touches on some good points to remember. Something else that I was taught about history is that it has a tendency to move in cycles, which is important to also remember when analyzing past events :D .
I do agree that people's attitude about the past can be heavily influenced and skewed because of the rose colored glasses effect. In this case, I can't speak for others but, I do know that my own enjoyment of an episode or season isn't connected to my belief that Season 1 or any other season was so much better. I liked parts of Season 1 because I think that some things were done better with production and writing but, I also thought Season 1 had some really weak parts, too. And there are some things, like the less procedural approach, that I have liked better about Seasons 2-4. I actually think that I enjoyed the first few episodes of Season 3, on a whole, the best so far just because I enjoyed the story that was being told regarding Kara. So, for me, the enjoyment level of an episode or season has more to do with what is put into each of those rather than a specific comparison to something that was already done.
I think that you're right that perspective is very important when approaching an episode or a season. But, I also believe it's hard to give advice to others on the best way to enjoy that episode or season because everyone has different reasons for why they do or do not like something.
We've talked about trying to make sure we find at least one thing positive to talk about in our reviews and so, my advice would be to maybe take that notion and integrate it into our approach of the episode or season itself. Not only should we look for something positive after the fact but, perhaps it would help to go into the episode believing that it is going to be a good episode -that there will be something that we like about it. And, as far as the season goes, I know it has been helping me to stay more positive, even though I'm not as gung-ho about the story, to believe that it's going to eventually include some things that I am hoping for in the season.
Another thing, I can remember (not comparing here ;) ), in the first season, we often had many different threads to discuss different things about the show - some were kind of fun, like keeping track of the types of food that Kara ate, etc. I think that helps a lot to keep things light and to give options besides just focusing in on what is happening in the episodes. We occasionally have threads like that started but, it seems as though fewer people actually come ito the forum to discuss things so, those threads usually fizzle out from lack of contributions.
When you're talking about ratings, you're not referring to the reviews are you? For me, talking about the episodes and predicting things that might happen is one of the biggest reasons why I come on the site.
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