With Supergirl’s second season officially kicked off (recap coming soon!), NOC Denny Upkins and I decided to chat all things Supergirl. Join us on this inaugural edition of NERD OUT.
When Netflix announced a reboot of the Voltron franchise, the inner child in me jumped for joy. More, I felt an instant connection to my identity as an Asian American. You see, when I think of Voltron, I’m instantly transported back to the 5th grade where I spent my time insisting to my American friends that, in the Philippines, Voltron (and a live-action TV show that turned out to be Super Sentai) was a thing before the Power Rangers. My friends wouldn’t believe me and would only laugh harder when I’d proffer that not only was Voltron a thing, but that it was actually better than the Power Rangers.
Voltron is tied, then, to that part of me that identifies as distinctly Asian American and to finally see a reboot that introduces this great franchise to a new generation is such a treat. That the first episode starts off with such great quality makes it like TV lumpia for me. Clocking in at just over an hour, the ambitious attempt to set and sketch the universe that this iteration of Voltron in is not only given space via quality writing and animation, but also time in this outsized episode. More, a roster of recognizable names lead by The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun as Keith, along with delightful surprise Rhys Darby as comic relief via Princess Allura’s (more on her in a bit) right-hand man, Coran.
One of the more enjoyable parts of Supergirl’s inaugural season is the refreshing and bold decision to place this National City hero squarely in the present as a Millennial. The bright and optimistic (and inclusionary!) perspective is drawn clearly in Kara’s idealistic worldview and personified by the bright and hopeful characters she has chosen to surround herself with (more on that in a minute). If Arrow is about the fight against a cold cynicism with The Flash about overcoming tragedy via the love of family, then Supergirl is about staring down the challenges of life with hope and optimism.
The strength of Supergirl the show, however, is in its ability to weave the moments that threaten its idealism with the technicolor moments of triumph its fans have come to savor. In that way, “Better Angels” does well in representing the thesis of Supergirl as it closes out its first year.
by AJ Joven
It must have happened when I noticed Kara running in front of a slightly obscured monument that could only have been at Pershing Square. The flat sky scrapers, palm trees, and the technicolor brightness of the world all felt so familiar. An alien, misunderstood and hiding in plain sight, here in DC’s analog of Los Angeles is what makes Supergirl such a watershed moment: it takes this specific angle of the City and wears it unabashedly. As I’ve been playing catch up on the series (sorry… as a Filipino, I’m generally late to everything), I’ve found lots to like about the confident voice in Supergirl. Often steeped in questions of identity, Supergirl’s writers send up the concepts of being a professional woman, a millennial, and, most personal to me, an immigrant with swagger and intent. Seeing National City be so clearly depicted as Los Angeles (seriously, that flat top sky line is unique, y’all) and all of the auxiliary connotations involved in that is not, to my mind a mistake. It is, however, a first.