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The 5 Smartest Changes to Supergirl

Andrew Kreisberg weighs in on some course-corrections for The CW show.

Supergirl[3] underwent a bit of a makeover in its transition from Season 1 to Season 2 (and CBS to The CW), and based on the premiere episode[4] it’s been for the better. With Supergirl already looking a bit different than it did in its first season, we highlighted the five changes that were the smartest for the show — and also got insight on the decision-making from executive producer Andrew Kreisberg.

Tyler Hoechlin and Melissa Benoist on The CW's Supergirl

Tyler Hoechlin and Melissa Benoist on The CW’s Supergirl

1. Introducing Superman

We’ve written at length about how Supergirl is getting Superman right[5] in Season 2, and according to Kreisberg, this was the plan for the show all along.

The introduction pre-dated the network jump for the show, as the producers wanted to make sure Supergirl was established enough as a character that her popular older cousin didn’t overshadow her. “We were planning to do this while we were still on CBS,” said Kreisberg. “I think it became even more imperative when we jumped to The CW, just because you always want to start, especially when you made a giant transition like that, you want to put your best foot forward. We had been hinting and teasing at Superman all last season, and the idea to actually get to see Superman and Supergirl working together felt like a great way to open the season. …

It was a way to bring eyeballs back to it, and especially because we really feel like we hit another gear with the show creatively.” Kreisberg felt like the show had hit its creative stride in Season 1, and had gotten to the point that bringing Superman into the series wouldn’t overpower it. “The show is called Supergirl, and it was always designed to be about someone who had to deal with a very famous relative whose shadow was very difficult to step out of, and in some ways you didn’t need to see him to make that work,” he said. “We really felt like over the course of last year she started not so sure of herself and by the end of the year she saved the world, so we felt confident that Kara was in a strong enough place as Supergirl and as Kara that it was the right time to bring in her cousin and not have it overshadow her and not have it feel like, ‘Oh, well finally, Superman’s here.'”

2.

Moving the DEO to National City

The Department of Extranormal Operations operated out of an isolated, underground cave in Season 1, but now it’s been moved to a skyscraper in the heart of National City. Having the DEO out in the middle of nowhere did have its uses, mainly to let Supergirl unleash the full extent of her powers without anyone watching or putting themselves in harm’s way. It just makes to create a DEO base in the middle of National City.

Actually, it was always there, to Supergirl’s surprise, but you know what we mean. The DEO will now feel more closely tied to the events of Kara’s life because she lives and works there. She also won’t have to zoom miles away to talk to Alex or J’onn when she needs help taking on an alien threat.

Kreisberg explained that the Supergirl team fell out of love with the DEO’s cave setting in Season 1, and that was the basis for its makeover. “This was pretty much what we envisioned. As far as the changes were concerned, we were always going to revamp the DEO. We just fell out of love with the cave set,” he said. “It didn’t feel of a piece.

It was cool in the beginning, and it just for some reason didn’t feel like it was bringing everything together.” Also, having Winn join the DEO was a great move — and also something that was always the plan. He showed how useful he could be during Season 1, so after spending the summer learning how to speak Kryptonian (hey, if anyone can do it, Winn can), he’s now primed to use his genius-level computer skills to help protect the Earth.

He didn’t play much of a role in the National Magazine office dynamic, and most of the time they all rushed to their “secret” extra office to have private conversations anyway, so may as well move him to a command center where he can be of optimal use. “We were always going to have Winn join the DEO,” said Kreisberg. “There wasn’t as much difference between the CBS pitch and The CW pitch. I think some of the stuff we’re doing down the road was once we knew we were on The CW we felt more comfortable framing the show in our terms, for lack of a better phrase.

It will feel more of a piece with Flash and Arrow and Legends, maybe embracing some of the more comic book elements.”

3. No More Inter-Office Relations

After the entire build-up to Kara and James Olsen getting together, it was a bit awkward for them to break it off in the Season 2 premiere. But that romance never had much chemistry, so it’s better that they ended it quickly and moved the characters on to more rewarding plot lines and relationships.

“They’re both tremendously talented actors and they’re both lovely people and they both love working with each other. I think we sort of felt like we were pursuing that relationship more because we felt like we had to than any of us was really [feeling it],” said Kreisberg. “We brought in some new writers in the middle of the season to keep some fresh blood, and even they, coming at it fresh, felt like we weren’t quite sure how we were making this happen. We realized the best scenes between them were just the nice, sweet scenes where they were being friends.

“The show has a large fanbase and a loyal fanbase, and we didn’t feel like we could just drop it because we had made such a big deal about it in the first season, but we thought rather than just opening the episode with, ‘Well we had our summer romance, sorry that didn’t work out,’ that actually making it part of the story [made sense],” he continued. “It felt like there was a way to have that realization actually be a part of the story. I think most of us have had friendships that turn into something more and then you realize maybe it wasn’t, so it felt like a very real story that we could be telling.” One of the best aspects of The Flash is that the main characters don’t date each other.

Yes, Barry and Iris have pangs of love for each other, and that has caused plenty of drama, but they’ve spent long stretches dating other people. But for the rest of Team Flash, there’s no romance. Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin all get involved with supporting characters that come and go throughout the seasons, but all they have between each other is friendship, which helps avoid the uneasy tension that plagued Supergirl’s core cast as Season 1 played out.

Yes, James did look heartbroken when Kara broke up with him, but it’ll be better for the show in the long run for them to be just friends.

4. Bringing in Big Villains

The Season 2 premiere introduced some big villainous elements. First, Enter the Luthors.

While we didn’t see Lex Luthor, we did hear that he’s currently in prison serving 32 consecutive life sentences. This lets the audience know that he has a long history of evil, he’s bitter enemies with Superman, and there’s always a possibility he could make an appearance on the show. But until then, we have Lena Luthor.

Superman offers Kara some advice all fans already know: don’t believe anything a Luthor says. Yet Lena says she’s renaming the company L Corp in order to rebrand and turn it into a force for good. We don’t know what to make of her yet, and while it would be a nice spin to have a Luthor who wound up being an honest ally to Supergirl, we’ll forever be skeptical of anyone with the Luthor name.

John Corben gets introduced as a hired assassin trained to take out high-profile targets, and he even has connections to longtime DC criminal organization Intergang. The final moments of the show see his (really painful) transformation into Metallo, the cyborg supervillain who has long plagued Superman thanks to his insane mechanical strength and the Kryptonite-heart inside his chest. This is a high-level, A-List threat that Superman has had great trouble dealing with in the past.

In other words, a big challenge for Supergirl down the road. There’s also the mysterious woman who created Metallo. Info on her is slim, but she scared us a little, which is always a quality we like in our baddies.

Supergirl’s villain game wasn’t as strong as it could have been in Season 1, but the first episode of Season 2 has already made a fine showing in that department.

5. Finding Kara a New Career

We didn’t think Kara would forever remain an office assistant to Cat Grant, and now she’s decided to follow in her cousin’s footsteps and become a reporter. Cat called it from the moment she met Kara, and now she’s on a new career path.

Supergirl was briefly a TV reporter in the comics, but she’s never held down one job long enough for it to become as iconic as Superman working as a print journalist for the Daily Planet. It looks like the show is making journalism a part of the Superman family legacy by having Kara choose that profession. Not only will being a reporter give Kara a reason to run towards danger, but it’ll allow the show to tell new kinds of stories based on her investigations.

It also offers a new dynamic for the show, as her new boss Snapper Carr — who is introduced in episode 2 — isn’t the same type of mentor as Cat Grant. Kreisberg compares them to a Lou Grant/Mary Tyler Moore relationship on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which is very new for Kara. “Despite her not exactly warm personality, I think Cat — both with Kara and with others — is actually devoted to mentoring people and seeing them rise,” said Kreisberg. “I think she genuinely takes pride in the person that Kara’s become up until this point, that she’s helped get her there.

I think Snapper Carr doesn’t give a crap. I think he believes in the written word, he believes in fact, he believes in ‘are you good at your job or not? And if you’re not, I don’t have time for you.’ There’s a subsequent episode where he literally doesn’t look her in the face for the entire scene because he’s so busy doing his scenes, and Kara’s not used to that.”

The show will also explore Kara not being especially good at her job and learning to be a better reporter after coming from a position that she was exceptional at. “Kara isn’t a good reporter yet. She’s learning.

The [third] episode, she writes this piece that she thinks is so great and he just rips it to shreds, and he’s right to,” said Kreisberg. “Now she’s picked a profession that by some rights she shouldn’t even be in, and she really has to prove herself, and that’s interesting. Last year, even though she had to deal with Cat, Kara had it all going on at CatCo, and Supergirl was where she was sort of flummoxed sometimes in earning her wings, and now she’s fully Supergirl. She’s saved the world a couple of times, she knows what she’s doing there, and now she’s stepped into a job she isn’t great at.

Watching her slowly win Snapper over is that much more satisfying.” What are your favorite changes to Supergirl in Season 2? Let us know in the comments!

Joshua is IGN’s Comics Editor. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl[6] and IGN. Terri Schwartz is Entertainment Editor at IGN and likes those vocabulary words a lot too.

Talk to her on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz[7].

References

  1. ^ Joshua Yehl (people.ign.com)
  2. ^ Terri Schwartz (people.ign.com)
  3. ^ Supergirl (uk.ign.com)
  4. ^ premiere episode (www.ign.com)
  5. ^ Supergirl is getting Superman right (www.ign.com)
  6. ^ @JoshuaYehl (www.twitter.com)
  7. ^ @Terri_Schwartz (www.twitter.com)

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