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Supergirl: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)

Supergirl S1A new Super Hero will soon be flying into homes, as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Supergirl: The Complete First Season on Blu-rayTM and DVD on August 9, 2016. Delivering 10.9 million Total Viewers weekly, Supergirl is the #2 series on CBS amongst Men 18-49, just behind The Big Bang Theory and a Top 5 series on the network with Men 18-34, Men 25-54 and Tweens 12-17*. Fans can purchase the set which, in addition to all 20 exhilarating episodes, contains over an hour of extra content, including the 2015 Comic-Con panel, featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel. Supergirl stars Melissa Benoist (Glee), Chyler Leigh (Grey’s Anatomy), Mehcad Brooks (About Last Night) and Jeremy Jordan (Smash), with David Harewood (Homeland) and Calista Flockhart (Brothers and Sisters).  Season One guest stars include Dean Cain, Peter Facinelli, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Laura Benanti and Helen Slater. Based on the characters from DC Comics, Supergirl is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Ali Adler and Sarah Schechter.

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Season 

Born on the doomed planet Krypton, Kara Zor-El escaped at the same time as her cousin, Superman, but didn’t arrive on Earth until years later after being lost in the Phantom Zone. Raised by her adopted family, the Danvers, Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex, and learned to hide the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin. Years later, at age 24, and now living in National City while working as an assistant for Catco Worldwide Media mogul Cat Grant, Kara has spent so many years trying to fit in that she forgot to ever stand out. All that changes when she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and become the hero she was always destined to be. With the help ofDaily Planet Lphotographer James Olsen, her bioengineer sister Alex, and the research of the super-secret, off-the-grid Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO), who are tasked with keeping the Earth safe from aliens, Kara takes to the skies to protect her world.

Supergirl was one of the two super hyped new DC shows being added to their rich universe, following The Flash and the foundation left by Arrow.  Where would the “girl of steel” fit in with her colleagues in superherodom?  Unlike its contemporaries, the program would be (sadly) premiering on CBS.  Yes, the lamest, stalest, dullest network on television.  Its not a good home for genre shows, serialized storytelling, character depth, genuine humor or anything going outside the box.  It was a worry, and a big chance that I was going to have to suck it up and take.  How would she fair?

Well, the answer is…all right.  Not surprisingly, your regular CBS audience didn’t completely abandon it, but they didn’t give it a full support either.  Supergirl, indeed, could not escape all the CBS’isms and did have some of the stench.  But, I found it able to overcome those things or manage to play them into their own agenda.  They went strongly against these things too, I mean, they brought frickin’ Martian Manhunter into the fold (Something I’m guessing wouldn’t boil over well with a CBS viewer).  Most successfully though, was the show’s tone, environment and characters which were able to stay true to Supergirl and also carve its own path from being not just an Arrow or Flash copy.

The biggest strength of the show comes from the chemistry and bond between sisters Kara and Alex.  Its what grounds the show and sometimes lays its biggest stakes.  The sisters are put at odds with beliefs and world ideals.   But where Supergirl is smart is how instead of using it to have them sparring off with one another, they actually converse with each other as adults and use it on figuring out how to work together in solving problems/stopping baddies.  Melissa Benoist is the greatest representation of Supergirl we’ve ever seen and is insanely charming to see week in and week out.  Her presence is the backbone and ace of the show.  Holding up her end of the bargain is Chyler Leigh who is able to stand tall with her, too.

Supporting them is a nice group of positive friends, coworkers and allies.  Every DC show has its token “adult role model” kind of role (The Flash’s Jesse L Martin, Arrow’s Paul Blackthorne, Legends’ Victor Garber) and here they’ve plucked Cat Grant in the form of Calista Flockhart.  Flockhart is a bit different mold than the others as she carries a bit more of a “tough love” approach with her mentoring of Kara Danvers.  Grant is one that rarely lets her guard down but also manages to have her own way of getting her messages, points, lessons and help across through her stubborn and cold facade.

When Supergirl started, I felt it had a pretty solid pilot.  Pilots are usually a very extreme vision of what the creators want the show to be in terms of tones, introductions and big moments.  Most of them are obnoxious and you gotta give the show a few episodes to settle in.  A second episode is usually a “re-pilot”, just more toned down and regular as it be.  For the first half of the season, Supergirl sort of floundered around and really seemed to struggle to find something to hold onto.  More and more it felt like it was becoming much more the CBS shows I feared it would be.  I vouched to stay on through the end of it.  And luckily, it paid off.  Right before they took a hiatus for the holiday season, they had a rock solid episode with a good cliffhanger.  Once it returned, Supergirl found itself and hit a stride to the end of the season.  It also introduced her to the rest of the DC TV universe with a crossover Flash episode that played like gangbusters (Kara’s reaction to the ice cream delivered to her from Barry was maybe one of my favorite moments on TV last year).  Supergirl hopefully will continue this and have more of the cuffs off being away from CBS next year.

Like most genre shows, Supergirl took a while to figure itself out in its first season.  It was something to get used to again as The Flash seemingly hit the ground running the year before.  However, after that halfway point, the show began to find itself and became much more engaging and exciting week to week than ever before.  Supergirl is a show that full understand and embraces the tone and character of its protagonists and its one of its best assets from start to finish.  With its move to the CW, one would hope it only continues to improve, goes to new heights and fully gets to embrace becoming a real player in the DC TV universe.

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Episodes

Pilot

Stronger Together

Fight or Flight

How Does She Do It?

Livewire

Red Faced

Human for a Day

Hostile Takeover

Blood Bonds

Childish Things

Strange Visitor from Another Planet

Bizarro

For the Girl Who Has Everything

Truth, Justice and The American Way

Solitude

Falling

Manhunter

Worlds Finest

Myriad

Better Angels

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Supergirl comes to Blu-ray and as expected looks…super (slow clap).  This is indeed a step up from its HD broadcast appearance.  Most of that improvement comes not only in a still image and depth, but mainly improves in movements.  Detail is very high.  Supergirl is a very lit and bright show as opposed to the others in the DC world, but its perfect for her radiant and jovial personality.

Depth:  Some real nice 3 dimensional work going on here, especially during some in air and flying sequences.  Background and foreground imagery have a nice spacey relationship with good clarity.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and inky.  No crushing witnessed.  Good shading and no real detail lost in the darkness. 

Color Reproduction:  Coloring is rich and vibrant here.  Unlike her contemporaries, Supergirl’s city is bright, tropical and features lots of poppy colors, including her blonde hair.  Blues, reds, yellows…everything looks beautiful.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural with a consistent appearance throughout.  Facial details are window-clear in the bright image, displaying make-up, lip texture, wrinkles, stubble and more.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics:  Supergirl flies into Blu-ray with a terrific 5.1 presentation.  The mix is a great balance of the score/music, vocals and sound effects.  Things punch up and get effectively loud during some intense battle sequences but also let up for a lot of office and apartment scenes with dialogue taking the lead.  

Low Frequency Extension:  Crashing, explosions, blasting, punching and much more (Including some dance beats) all thump your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Mostly front focused, there is some great ambiance and enhancements that feature in the rear speakers.  Front channels give a good toss around playing with movement and distance emanating from the screen.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud, crisp and provides excellent clarity.

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Extras 

Supergirl: The Complete First Season comes with an UltraViolet digital copy carrying all the episodes.

Disc 1

Deleted Scenes (HD, 1:41) 

Disc 2

Deleted Scenes (HD, 6:26) 

Disc 3

Deleted Scenes (HD, 8:19)

2015 Comic Con Panel (HD, 14:51) – The panel that introduces people to the show at last year’s SDCC.

The Man From Mars (HD, 9:37) – Explores J’onn J’onzz’s current circumstances on Supergirl as the alien who swore an oath to a dying father to protect his daughters.  Features on set, EPK style interviews with the cast and crew mixed with the cool comic experts talking heads interviews (Like Dan DiDio).

A World Left Behind: Krypton (HD, 10:41) – Explores the history of this famous planet and its role and depiction in Supergirl.  Featuring cast and crew interviews.

Gag Reel (HD, 4:06) 

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Summary 

Supergirl’s first season took a minute to get on a track it liked, but once it was there and found a stride it was terrific weekly appointment viewing.  This Blu-ray comes in the usual CW DC package that features sound and good video and audio.  As this is a season 1, it has a little more slew of extras than later season will probably incorporate.  A nice one to add to the roster of DC TV Blu-rays.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Supergirl: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    I want ice cream after reading this now!