10. Fix James Olsen
I think James is far from a lost cause. I like the actor, Mehcad Brooks, a lot. The problem is, James can come off as something of a stick in the mud. Thankfully they pretty much jettisoned his “mentor”-like role from the very early episodes early on. But then they tried to put him in love triangle with Winn and Kara, and that didn’t work either. Then they paired him up with Lucy, which also didn’t really go anywhere. Now they seem to be back to trying to make Kara and James a couple with Winn firmly in the friend zone, but they have very little chemistry. This was painfully highlighted by the fantastic chemistry that Benoist and Gustin when The Flash paid a visit. Worst case scenario is getting rid of James. But, I think it’s worth splitting him up with Kara and maybe giving him a more dynamic job than being an art director to give him more of a reason to be in danger.
9. Up the Costume Game
The costuming on Supergirl can kind of vary wildly. For every triumph like Supergirl’s costume or the Kryptonite armor Alex wore in the finale, there are so-so efforts like Silver Banshee or downright disasters like Red Tornado. In the latter case, it’s particularly galling because RT was in such a good episode. Budget limitations play a factor for sure. Silver Banshee’s actual costume wasn’t bad, but her Halloween make-up face seemed impractical and not as cool as a supernaturally withered prosthetic make-up would have. And there’s just not a lot of good things to say about the execution of Red Tornado’s costume. The design itself isn’t bad, but the end result looked a bit like a craft-store project. The drab Kryptonian suits were just a bit boring. I actually think Indigo looked great, but I might be in the minority on that. The fact is, one thing that The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow do consistently is great costume work. So we just need more of that.
8. Dump The Kryptonians Forever
There will be a common theme amongst this post, which will culminate in the number one fix. But, for now, let’s just say that the Kryptonians should stay in whatever hole the US government is dumping them into. They were uniformly boring and drab as villains. Non was kind of a non-entity (sorry, pun) and when Astra was gone, leaving him to carry the rest of the season ended up being a problem, which is why I suspect they teamed him up with the much more interesting Indigo. Astra’s death, by the way, was actually incredibly effective and killing her off was a great storytelling move. It just stunk that there wasn’t really anyone to fill the void she left.
7. Dump the DEO or Make Them Full-time Antagonists.
This one is difficult, because I like Hank/J’onn and Alex so much. And I don’t want their roles diminished at all. It’s just it seems like they liked the support teams on The Flash and Arrow they doubled up on it for Supergirl and it creates storytelling problems where sometimes the A and B stories seem out of sync or too disconnected. Also, it feels like they make it a bit TOO easy for Kara (more on that in a bit) because they have so many resources and nifty containment chambers. I’d get Alex a job as head of security at CatCo and maybe give Hank a new cover as a PI or something. Have the CatCo team be the lone support team. You could keep the Lanes around, if needed, to be antagonists. That might be harder with Lucy, but to be honest she feels a bit superfluous anyway.
6. Have Cat Admit She Knows Kara is Supergirl
One of my favorite moments of the series (because I love Cat) is when she figures out that, duh, her assistant is Supergirl. Because she’s really smart. It was such a great character and storytelling move, that it bummed me out when they had J’onn pull a shapeshifting double trick on her. There have even been some theories that Cat still knew the whole time, but I’m not sure the episodes actually bear that out. However, now that J’onn was outed and Cat has seen there was a shapeshifting alien in their midsts, I think she should know Kara is Supergirl again. And that’s part of what made her give Kara that promotion. She sees her as a protege both as Kara and Supergirl.
5. Don’t Worry About Giving Kara A Love Interest
I actually think it’d be more interesting if Kara is horribly unlucky in love, partly because her Supergirl and CatCo responsibilities leave her no time to be good at the romance thing. I think she should certainly try, but I like the idea of nothing lasting. At least not until later in the series. I don’t know if it gets problematic to have a female superhero not be able to “have it all” but I actually think it’s more realistic than these heroes that seem to have a steady love interest. If one of the people she clicks with has great on-screen chemistry with her, then maybe they get to come back. But, at the end of the day, there are enough great relationships in the show between characters I don’t think a romance for Kara is necessary at all.
4. More Alex/More Martian Manhunter
Part of the reason I’m sort of for them dropping the DEO is that I think it’d be good to get Alex out of the confines of that militaristic environment. When we get to see more of Alex out of that context, it’s great. And after seeing Chyler Leigh live with Benoist at C2E2, it made me think she has so much more to offer than we get with Alex currently, especially comedically. She can kick butt right alongside Benoist, and their relationship (and her relationship with J’onn) is one of the highlights of the series. So give her more to do.
On a similar note, making Hank the Martian Manhunter was one of the most brilliant moves the show has made. His relationship with the Danvers sisters is one of my favorites (right after Cat/Kara and Alex/Kara) and his on-screen realization is downright cool. If we want a B-plot, then give it to Martian Manhunter. I realize he’s got to be expensive as an effect, but even if they had to go to practical make-up for some of it, I think it’d be worth it.
3. Do Something With Maxwell Lord…. and Stick To It.
Oh, Maxwell Lord. He’s one of the biggest sources of frustration for me in the series. He’s gone from concerned citizen to scenery chewing maniac to super-friend to… well, I don’t know quite where we leave him with the covert exchange of the Omegahedron at the end of the finale. I get the idea that he’s supposed to be shifty, but there’s a difference between the other characters not knowing where his loyalties truly lie and the audience not having any clue. It feels like the writers have really struggled with him. I’m tempted to say jettison him and maybe go with Alexander Luthor (Lex’s son in the comics, who has some history with a VERSION of Supergirl) so we can start over. But, he could still work if they can crystallize the character in some fashion at the start of season 2 and then stick with that. But, please, don’t saddle Alex with a relationship with this dude. She’s too smart to fall for his smarmy charms.
2. Make Things Harder For Kara
Now, this isn’t to say that Kara hasn’t had it a bit rough here and there. It’s just that sometimes things are just a little too easy for her, or clear up too quickly. And it’s almost always when Kara is in a rough patch where the show really shines, because her empathy and humanity and goodness really come to the fore and break through her personal pain. It’s one of the reasons I love Kara/Supergirl (and Melissa Benoist’s performance) so much. And Benoist is SO good at playing pretty much everything that I like her emotional range getting a work out. But, from a purely practical level, it’d be nice if there was more of a sense of danger for Kara. Sometimes it’s down to the battles just being too short (the Alex/Supergirl fight in the finale is a prime example, it was a great set-up that got kind of wasted) and sometimes it’s because no one ever seems to be in real danger. This was highlighted in the penultimate episode when James, Winn, and Red Shirt CatCo Employee No. 3 were put into jeopardy. Guess who Kara couldn’t save? Putting out 20 episodes of super-television can’t be easy. But there’s a feeling that, with some more thoughtful advance plotting, some of these issues could be solved. The swift resolution to the public’s mistrust of her after Falling comes to mind here. As well as the reveal and resolution to the Myriad problem. All of this felt a bit like wasted potential.
1. Better Villains
Supergirl just needs better villains to fight. Period. Especially her main, ongoing villains. Arrow had Deathstroke in its best season. The Flash has been blessed with Zoom and Reverse Flash as main villains. Supergirl had… some boring guys in suits who looked like they were ready to hit the slopes and Astra, with her unfortunate white clip-in hair strand. Now, Supergirl was not blessed in the comics with a Rogues Gallery on par with Flash or Batman. In fact, it’s hard to think of anyone to really recommend from her books. But, she’s already borrowed some of Superman’s villains, and I think continuing in that vein would be a good idea. Maxima’s brief cameo was fun. I’d like to see more of her. But other potential candidates include Parasite, Lobo, Mongul or Imperiex. Livewire, Indigo and Silver Banshee are all good support villains, but the show is crying out for an evil head villain to really put her through her paces.