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  • Supergirl: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 30th, 2017

    Overall
    Film
    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    (out of 5)

    “When I was a child, my planet Krypton was dying. I was sent to Earth to protect my cousin. But my pod got knocked off course, and by the time I got here, my cousin had already grown up and become… Superman. I hid who I really was until one day when an accident forced me to reveal myself to the world. To most people, I’m a reporter at CatCo Worldwide Media. But in secret, I work with my adoptive sister for the D.E.O. to protect my city from alien life and anyone else that means to cause it harm. I am Supergirl.”

    A lot of things have changed with the second season of Supergirl. The series spent its first season on CBS but was always considered somewhat a part of the DC Television Universe. That was more than confirmed when the show had an unusual cross-episode/network story that involved The Flash. There must have been complications, and the decision to bring the series over to the CW appears to be a rather natural one. Gotham continues to thrive over at Fox, but it’s quite obvious that Gotham lives in a very different place than the four DC shows now living at the CW.

    Much of the show remains intact. Supergirl/Kara Danvers is still played by Melissa Benoist. I’m still not sold on her for the part, but I will admit that there has been some improvement. Effort has been made to lessen the facial mark that made the secret identity thing a bit too laughable. The suit is still one of the DC Television Universe’s worst, but Benoist has learned to bring more strength and presence to the role. Part of the misfit problem isn’t with the actress at all. This character just isn’t as well written as even others on the series.

    The rest of the cast actually gives us strong characters and pretty solid actors. David Harewood knocks it out of the park as Hank Henshaw, who we already know is J’onn J’onzz, The Martian Manhunter. In the comics he was a detective. Here he heads the DEO, which is responsible for protecting the planet from aliens and metahumans. He’s absolutely the strength and heart of the series. This show could just as easily been named for his character. J’onzz is a part of the comic Justice League and is a compelling hero whose story is not as well known. We get to see him finally come out of the closet, so to speak, and learn to embrace who he is. Hank shares great chemistry with Kara, and her performance is certainly lifted when they share screen time together.

    Chyler Leigh plays Kara’s adopted sister Alex, who is an even stronger character than Supergirl. She has a leadership role at the DEO, and she kicks more butt than Kara does. I actually could have seen these roles reversed. This season Alex goes through a bit of an identity crisis and discovers some things about herself that certainly change the show’s landscape quite a bit.

    Mechad Brooks plays Jimmy Olsen. This is not the Jimmy we are at all used to. Jimmy’s all grown up and prefers to be called James. He serves as the real tie to Superman in the series. Clark has asked him to move to National City and look after Kara as she starts to make her way in the world. Brooks is another really good actor who takes a lot of time getting used to as Olsen. I found I had to kind of think of him as another character before I started to warm up to him at all. For you Upcomingdiscs fans who always wanted to know what our own John Ceballos looks like: that’s him. I think we might start to call him Jimmy around here. OK, maybe not. James gets a little restless and decides to team up with Winn Scott and become a hero himself as The Guardian. It has mixed results and even provides some of the season’s more comedic moments. Winn Schott, Jr. is the son of DC Comics villain The Toymaker. It’s not something he likes people to know. He’s an IT guy and now permanent part of the DEO.

    There are several good story arcs going on this season, and the first is a “surprise” visit from Kara’s Kryptonian cousin Superman, who is now played by Teen Wolf alumni Tyler Hoechlin. He serves as bookends for the second season. We see him in the first couple of episodes, then again at the end of the season. I was a bit skeptical when I first heard of the casting, but he’s actually pretty good and fits more of that classic Superman look than I expected. Obviously it’s not a character who can stick around for too many episodes, because that would definitely take away from the title character.

    Kara no longer works for Cat Grant (Flockhart). This is another character who only shows up at the beginning and end of the season. She “promotes” Kara to a full-fledged reporter, and now she works for the magazine’s editor Snapper Carr, played by Ian Gomez. This is a classic comics character, but in a very different form. Snapper was a teenager who hung out with The Justice League and was DC’s answer to Marvel’s Rick Jones. Here he’s more Perry White with a bit of that snarly editor attitude that takes from both White and Marvel’s J. Jonah. The difference is he has a bit of a soft underside and might really be engaged in tough love when it comes to Kara. I like the character but wish he had another name. Another name from the past is Cat’s new assistant, who shares the name of the Donner film’s Miss Teschmacher, played by Andrea Brooks. It’s strictly an Easter egg, at least for now.

    Kara, like pretty much the entire cast this year, has a new love interest. There’s a bit of the Romeo and Juliet thing going on with her relationship to Mon-El, played by Chris Wood. Mo-El is from Daxam, a planet in the same solar system as Krypton, and the two planets were pretty much in a constant state of cold war. That situation becomes worse when it turns out he’s royalty and Mom and Dad have come to bring him home, and they are not too happy that he’s in love with a Kryptonian. This is also the cause of two pretty big guest stars. Dad is played by Kevin Sorbo, and Mom is played by Teri Hatcher, who played Lois in the series Lois And Clark.  It should also be noted that her one-time Clark Kent is also a recurring character on the series. Dean Cain plays the Danvers sisters’ father, Jeremiah, who might just be a bad guy now. Unfortunately, the two do not share screen time. And while Sorbo’s role is short, Hatcher gets to play a full-on villain who will take it out on the entire planet because her son chose to stay. She ends up being the huge big bad for the season finale when she threatens to invade Earth.

    There are other new recurring characters this season. Katie McGrath stars as Lena Luthor. She’s trying to make up for the sins of her family. She ends up forging a tight relationship with Kara that recalls the Clark/Lex relationship early in Smallville. Lena is more sincere and ends up helping to fight her mother’s plots during the first half of the season. Floriana Lima plays Maggie, who becomes the life-changing love interest for Alex. She’s a cop who introduces the cast to a bar that serves as a safe place for aliens. It’s a little Star Wars Cantina with less crazy costumes. It also becomes the hangout joint for many of the cast. It’s also where Hank meets the bartender ,played by Sharon Leal, who turns out to be a Martian and love interest for him.

    There are a lot of character moments and pretty much two major stories going on this season. It starts with the CADMUS throwing some super creatures at our heroes and ends up with the Daxam threat to take over the world. It’s a nice balance of action and emotional stories with more than a few light moments thrown in for good measure. If there is a theme this season, it is most certainly the aliens that populate this Earth. Remember that while this show does share the same DC universe, it is not on the same Earth as the other shows. That’s clearly shown in the number of aliens that populate this show. There’s a bit of a Men In Black thing going on here.

    Video

    Each episode is presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec. There are six episodes per disc, and that hurts the bit-rate somewhat. There are good production values here, and you get something better than broadcast or streaming, to be sure. Black levels are fair, and the colors do pop on this show in particular.

    Audio

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is much more dynamic than the video presentation. The score is very uplifting and pierces through even when it’s not overly loud. You still always hear the dialog with clarity and perfect placement. The surrounds complete the immersive experience with wind while she’s flying and sweet sub range during the more explosive scenes.

    Special Features

    No Deleted Scenes or Gag Reel on this set. A bit odd.

    Supergirl -2016 Comic-Con Panel: (28:26)

    Supergirl – Alien Fight Night: (10:00) There’s a pretty solid episode that features an underground alien fight club. This feature takes you behind the scenes of the event.

    Supergirl – Aliens Among Us: (20:05) You would expect this to be a look at the makeup and f/x that bring the various aliens alive. It’s actually a bit of an immigration political feature.

    A Conversation With Andrew Kreisberg And Kevin Smith: (3:55) The two talk about Smith’s directing Supergirl.
    Supergirl – Did You Know?: A group of promos, each under a minute.

    Final Thoughts:

    As you can tell there’s a lot going on with Supergirl’s first season at the CW. That includes a huge crossover with all four shows. Here’s where you run into my biggest issue with this release. Warner Brothers does not provide you with the other episodes. This forces you to buy all four shows’ season sets to see the entire story. That’s not cool. Credit CBS for always providing crossover episodes. I know it’s a four-part affair, but I have a solution. Warner could cut a single disc that contains just the four episodes and maybe some extras. Include that single disc with each season set. It would add merely pennies to the cost and make for much happier fans. There are folks out there who don’t like all four shows enough to buy four sets. They should not be denied the whole story. We were not provided the Legends of Tomorrow release, so I cannot give you a complete view here. There’s a lot more to be said on the issue. “I guess the closest thing to it would be, to be continued…”

     

    Posted In: 1.78:1 Widescreen, 1080p, AVC MPEG4, Blu-ray, Disc Reviews, DTS HD 5.1 MA (English), Sci-Fi / Fantasy, Television, Warner Bros.

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