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Girl power

Melissa Benoist as Supergirl (Matthias Clamer/Warner Bros. Entertainment/CBS)

Michael Yarish/CBS

Calista Flockhart

Television

Girl power

Prime-time drama <em>Supergirl</em> takes flight in wholesome fashion

These days, television has usurped film as the prime generator of watercooler conversation, and friends and co-workers are more likely to ask what show you binge-watched over the weekend than which movie you saw. This presents problems for a news outlet dedicated to biblical worldview. Although WORLD reports on major entertainment trends, we often choose not to review the most popular and critically acclaimed series like Scandal, Empire, and American Horror Story due to their gratuitous, offensive content. After all, how many times is it worth taking up print space to warn: While well-acted, this show is full of sex, language, sex, violence, sex, drug use … Oh, and lots and lots of sex.

Even when we do review a show as potentially worth watching despite some concerns, three episodes in, producers decide to triple the number of sex scenes and leave the Christian reviewer with egg on her face. It’s no wonder most of the shows the Parents Television Council recommends in a given week are cartoons, reruns from past decades, and cooking competitions.

CBS, however, has given us an early Christmas gift, achieving headline-worthy ratings with a bona fide family-friendly hit: Supergirl.

Though mild profanity pops up occasionally in the first episodes, that a prime-time action drama on a major network avoids any suggestive content is something of a mini-miracle. More importantly, Supergirl brings it on the entertainment front. Most of the credit rests on the shoulders of lead Melissa Benoist.

Plucky, determined, with just a dash of naïve awkwardness, she’s everything young Kara Zor-El should be. As Kara’s acid-tongued, power-hungry news editor, Calista Flockhart not only delivers one-liners with flair but actually manages to impart wisdom to a girl who has absorbed a little too much PC messaging about what it means to be a strong woman. (Hint—if you want the moniker, you earn it.) Some of the fight scenes with various dark alien forces run a little long and could do with less cheese; but the kids won’t notice, and mom and dad can tolerate it when there’s this much fun to be had during the rest of the hour.

While CBS is America’s most-watched network, it’s also the oldest-skewing in terms of viewer age. Interesting, then, that CBS executives apparently decided the best way to bring in younger viewers was to break out of the gritty-soap-drama and crude-joke-sitcom molds to go clean. Even more interesting, they were right. Not only is Supergirl the season’s top debut in total viewers, it tied with NBC’s Blindspot in the advertiser-coveted ratings group of 18- to 49-year-olds. Most convincing of all, though, is how Supergirl has performed in that supreme barometer of millennial engagement, social media.

The day after the series premiere, Variety reported: “Supergirl is by far the new show generating the most discussion online this fall; in fact, there’s already been more than three times the digital content engagement around the show on Tuesday than any other newcomer on the day after it debuted. Scream Queens, The Muppets, Quantico and Blindspot rounded out the top five shows … but combined they weren’t as popular as the superhero show.”

From a business standpoint, it looks like there’s a lot to be said for airing one of the only new shows this season family members of all ages can enjoy together. Let’s just hope that in Episode 3, Supergirl’s producers don’t pull the old TV bait-and-switch and force me to regret this review.

Listen to Megan Basham discuss Supergirl on The World and Everything in It.

Comments

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  • Laneygirl
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:10 am

    I'm sorry. Are we so immune to the "Oh, My, GOD!" cultural norm that we now lump it into a "wholesome" category? The first episode sprouted that at least 3 times from the super mouth of the super girl. Or is that what's called "mild profanity" these days? 

  • Midwest preacher
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:10 am

    For clarification.  I was speaking of Miley, in her younger years, being set forth by many parents as the perfect role model for young girls.  Any "pop culture sensation" regardless of age my appear, at first, to be wholesome but may latter participate in or endorse behavior which is damaging to young minds and hearts. Miley is not "worse" than many others but she certainly is more spectacular.

  • dan49erfan
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:10 am

    This is the only show we watch as a family on the air.  The rest we watch after they air online so we can skip stuff or skip all together.  I really hope it stays family friendly.

  • Anonymous (not verified)
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:10 am

    As a comic book fan I was really skeptical of this show. Maybe I'll give it a look tho. Also, The Flash has been a clean show so far. I can't remember any sex scenes. Maybe a make-out scene. To the Midwest preacher: Miley's downward spiral is likely due to her rebelling against childhood authority. Melissa is an adult. I think we are comparing apples to oranges here.

  • Midwest preacher
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:10 am

    When I think about using Hollywood style characters or pop culture sensations as role models I have two words of warning:  Miley Cyrus.  Just sayin'.  

  • Mrs D's picture
    Mrs D
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:10 am

    How is accepting lesbianism wholesome?

  • Graced
    Posted: Tue, 06/05/2018 01:32 pm

    To be fair, they didn't introduce that theme in the first season which the author reviewed.