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Supergirl: The Complete Second
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 8/22/2017
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/28/2017
In my review for the first season ofSupergirl, I wrote about how surprising that i was that the show aired on CBS. I suppose that the network can show whatever it wants, but every other show on their lineup is pretty much grounded in reality (except for maybe the reality shows), so a superhero series seemed out of place. Well, clearly I wasn’t the only person who thought this, for after just one season at CBS, Supergirl moved to CW which she could be alongside her fellow DC characters The Flash and Arrow. After making the trek to a different channel, the makers of Supergirl wouldn’t want to shake things up or make any radical changes, right? Wrong!
The second season of Supergirl opens not long after the finale of Season 1. Kara Danvers AKA Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) is enjoying life alongside her sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), and her friends, James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), Winn (Jeremy Jordan), and J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood). Kara is being allowed to spread her wings at her job at CatCo Media, and she is flying high working for the DEO as Supergirl. But, then some new visitors come to town. A pod lands in the city carrying Mon-El (Chris Wood), a survivor of Daxam, a planet similar to Kara’s homeworld of Kryptonite. While Mon-El is treated with suspicion, Kara feels an odd kinship to him and decides to show him the ropes. Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) decides to turn around her brother Lex’s company and work for the public good, and she and Kara become fast friends. It is also revealed that a large contingent of alien refugees (as in space aliens) live in the city and a shadowy group called Cadmus declares war on this population.
OK, so one may have expected a few changes when Supergirl moved to CW, but the sheer amount of changes is staggering. In Season One, Superman is mentioned and shown in shadow, but didn’t appear on the show. Season Two wastes no time in introducing Tyler Hoechlin as the Man of Steel, and he appears on several episodes. The DEO moves from their underground bunker to a new headquarters with plenty of windows. The romance between Kara and James is nixed in the season premiere (no spoiler there -- it’s over and done in the first episode). Winn no longer works at CatCo, but is employed by the DEO. Calista Flockhart, whose Cat Grant was a big part of Season One, is absent for most of Season Two. It only takes a few minutes for the series to get a facelift. The show also focuses more on big story arcs rather then super villain of the week type stories, although we do get a few of those.
But, story and character changes aren’t the only differences here. Out of nowhere, Supergirl delivers a palpable shift in tone, and rears a decidedly liberal side. For starters, a character comes out of the closet, but that’s not a very big deal these days. (Although, it could be argued that some parents may not like this for younger viewers.) But, it’s the alien refugee saga where Supergirl really shows off its left-leaning ways. At first, the persecution of the aliens feels like an X-Men rip-off in which race and civil-rights are being addressed. But, it quickly becomes apparent that the whole thing is a reaction to the Trump administration, as we get talks of aliens rights, forced “deportations”, and a season finale which features an incredibly thinly veiled editorial on the power of the media and the disapproval for what the government is currently doing. Could the show have gotten away with this on CBS? I don’t know, but the series’ political views come through loud and clear here.
These interesting developments certainly change the show in tone and (one would assume) appeal, but some of the main issues from Season One still persists. The series is somewhat redundant, something which becomes very obvious when watching the episodes back-to-back on Blu-ray Disc. There is also still an issue with the inconsistency of Supergirl’s powers. One minute, she’s indestructible and the next, she’s being knocked out. Her abilities and limitations ebb and flow too much with the storylines. Still, there is a lot to like here. The addition of Mon-El gives Kara someone to play off of and introduces a new dynamic to her character. Similarly, every character goes through a change, most of which are related to relationships. This does give the characters depth, but it can also detract from the action elements. Supergirl is far from perfect, but it does a nice job of striking a certain balance and displaying an ability to appeal to several facets of the audience.
Supergirl: The Complete Second Season doesn’t know the meaning of the word subtle on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The four-disc set contains all 22 episodes from the show’s second season. The show has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 13 Mbps. (That’s a pretty low bitrate. Is that the result of squeezing so many episodes on each Disc?) The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good and the depth works well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo and surround effects work very well during the action sequence, and the mix loves to place the sound of Supergirl zipping by in the rear channels. The subwoofer effects are also strong, even at low volumes.
The Supergirl: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Disc set contains a few extra features which are spread across the Discs. Disc 1 offers "Alien Fight Night" (10 minutes) which offers comments from the writers of the episode "Survivors" and highlights the Roulette character from the comic books. Disc 2 brings us an AUDIO COMMENTARY on the episode "Supergirl Lives!" from Writer/Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg and Director Kevin Smith. The remainder of the extras are found on Disc 4. "Aliens Among Us" (20 minutes) brings us a conversation about extraterrestrials in popular culture and in comics, and then more specifically the aliens on the show. This also looks at Cadmus and their attempts to rid the Earth of aliens. "2016 Comic-Con Panel" (28 minutes) takes us to San Diego as the cast and a producer discuss the plans for Season 2. "A Conversation with Andrew Kreisberg and Kevin Smith" (4 minutes) has the Clerks director discussing the challenges of working on Supergirl. "Did You Know?" is a series of seven brief interstitials in which the cast and creative team reveal secrets about the show and themselves.
Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long