This week I’m turning my attention to the Arrowverse – the interconnected collection of DC TV shows which includes Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. I watch all four of these shows but over the past few months, simply because there’s just so much good TV on right now, I’ve fallen behind.
So for my first catch-up I’ve turned my attention to Supergirl Season 3. A season which has seen the departure of Maggie Sawyer, the return of Mon-El and the arrival of this season’s big bad, Reign!
I really enjoy Supergirl. I know the show isn’t for everybody, but for me it’s a great series that not only gives me an action-based hour of television but also touches upon issues that the other Arrowverse shows don’t.
Many moan that Supergirl is a social justice warrior focusing too much attention on real world problems instead of just providing escapism. To that I say, er… what’s wrong with tackling real world issues?
TV is at it’s best when it’s reflecting what’s going on in the world, whether some audience members want to see that or not. So for me, I welcome Supergirl‘s approach to the hot topics of today, which this season has seen the show cover issues facing immigration, the LGBT community, parenthood, the #MeToo movement, racism and pretty much everything else that is causing division in Trump’s America.
All of the above issues have been handled very well this year, but for me the most important issue that has been touched upon this season is the one revolving around dementia. This is a storyline that not only impacts the relationship between J’onn J’onzz and his father, M’yrnn, but is also a storyline that does not get addressed enough on TV.
Of all the subjects that I expected to be tackled in Supergirl, I never once imagined that dementia would be one of them, let alone see this subject handled so sensitively. The way in which this disease is factored into J’onn and M’yrnn’s relationship is both captivating and heartbreaking to watch, yet it is the clever writing which really elevates this story.
Episode fifteen, In Search of Lost Time is a standout episode which really looks at the ramifications of dementia – how it affects those living with the disease, as well as the impact it has on the family members and friends living in close proximity. For me, this is one of those episodes which stands head and shoulders above the rest, as it takes a real-life problem and reworks it to fit within the context of the show.
Also, how great is it to have Carl Lumbly playing the role of M’yrnn? I know it’s an in-joke, as Lumbly voiced J’onn J’onnz on the ’00s Justice League show, but regardless of that, Lumbly is a great actor and the perfect choice for this storyline!
Speaking of in-jokes, this whole season has been chock full of them, from the name check of Noel Neill and the appearance of Streaky the Cat, to a cameo from Sarah Douglas and the inclusion of Lex Luthor’s ‘gauntlet’ from Superman: The Movie (1978)!
Bringing Erica Durance into the show to take over the role of Kara’s birth mother, Alura (replacing actress Laura Benanti) has also been a masterstroke. Durance is a great actress and having previously played the role of Lois Lane on Smallville, Durance provides another nice nod to the Super legacy.
Other highlights this season include the episodes Midvale (episode six) and Schott Through the Heart (episode 14), as well Legion of Superheroes (episode ten) which introduces the fabulously funny, Brainiac-5. Of course, a shout-out also goes to this year’s Arrowverse crossover, Crisis on Earth X which is superb.
Not everything this year has worked so well. There have been a few minor quibbles, including some sloppy make-up effects on Brainiac-5 (seriously, did no one think to cover the back of his neck?), but these are minor issues for me.
Season Three of Supergirl has been a stellar season and it really feels like this show has found its identity. If it’s not for you, that’s fine, but I believe the show – which at its heart is about an outsider and an immigrant – provides a voice for many different people and in that respect is perhaps the most important show of all the Arrowverse programmes on air.
My catch-up of Supergirl has taken me up to episode twenty – which is all the episodes that have aired in the UK to date. There are three more episodes to go and I look forward to finishing off a great season.
Supergirl Season Three is currently available to stream and download on Sky.