May 14th, 2015
|02:42 pm - Musings on The Supergirl Trailer, Misogyny, Joss Whedon and Smallville|
six minute trailer for the upcoming Supergirl show. The comparison with the film The Devil Wears Prada are spot on, and the first half of the trailer has some good bits and some genuinely funny bits, but they are amidst a fairly large amount of trite nonsense. The article also links to this SNL parody of a Black Widow movie done as a romantic comedy - and as the article points out, the similarities are not small.
My first reaction is while Joss Whedon clearly has his problems, they look quite small in comparison to the ones visible here. Whedon can write female heroes, not humorously awkward female characters with superpowers, and while that doesn't seem like a miraculous ability to me, the ability to do this and then get it on TV or in a movie is clearly non-trivial. Also, Buffy premiered 18 years ago, and I would have hoped that female characters on TV would have improved far more since then. Of course, on the CW, it largely has, and even outside of the CW, Agents of SHIELD does an excellent job of treating female characters as people rather than female stereotypes, as do quite a number of other shows, from Defiance, to Orphan Black, as well as many other shows made in the last 15 years. Basically, this trailer looks like a throwback to TV made 20 years ago.
Then the trailer got me thinking about a somewhat similar TV show – Smallville. I don't remember the pre-release trailers, but I clearly remember the first episode. Using that first episode, you could have easily made a trailer that looked very similar (adjusted for the protagonist being a male high school student rather than a working woman in her early 20s). The trailer could feature the same allegedly humorous awkwardness and embarrassment at work or school, supportive friends, the attractive but unattainable object of desire, and the old friend who is clearly in love with the clueless protagonist. Of course, they'd never in a million years have made a trailer like that for Smallville or any other supers show with a male protagonist. Also, to make it, the show runners would have needed to entirely leave out anything about Lex Luthor from the trailer. The reasons for this difference is of course misogyny on the part of the marketing department. Misogyny being found in marketing is unfortunately about as common as strong gravity fields being found near black holes.
The interesting thing about this, is that the first episode of Smallville was quite good, as were the first few years of the show, and so there is perhaps hope for the Supergirl show, but only if the trailer is more about ill-conceived marketing or the first episode is far worse than later ones. Trailers that look very different from the actual show are not all that uncommon, and first episodes of new shows that are mediocre (like the Burn Notice premier) or even terrible (like the premier of Arrow or The Vampire Diaries) are exceedingly common. Of course, so are terrible premiers to terrible TV shows – only time will tell.
While I do like The Flash, Smallville should have never aired for ten years. That program ran out of ideas five years into the series. As for "Supergirl" I don't think it will last one season.
I entirely agree. I really liked the first 3 seasons, and there were some good bits in the next two, but Smallville kept going way too long.