Last September Supergirl premiered on CBS to a record audience of 19 million viewers. And with numbers like that one would think CBS would be signing for an automatic second season. However, instead of renewing Supergirl and pushing it hard, executives at the network are considering cutting the show’s budget and moving it to the CW.
CBS executives just don’t know when they has a good thing. And they’re about to make one of the biggest mistakes since their grandfathers cancelled Gilligan’s Island.
CBS says that the shows $3 million budget per episode is just too expensive. And they say that the audience shrank drastically from the premiere. However as I see it the show deserves a second chance.
Supergirl is a fun, bright show that’s a breath of fresh air from the dark angry DC superhero shows like Gotham and Arrow. It captures the spirit of the DC Universe and literally is like watching a DC Comic book come to life. A fun show that families and children can watch together. The kind of show that can build an audience long term for CBS.
The kind of show a guy like the late Brandon Tartikoff would have stood behind back in the 1980s. Back in the 1980s when NBC was struggling, Tartikoff wouldn’t be talking about cancelling a Show like Supergirl. Instead he’d be pushing it like other shows that struggled when they started like Cheers and Seinfeld.
Shows that went on to become hits in their later seasons. Shows that are now considered television classics. The $3 million CBS spends on an episode of Supergirl will pay off in the long term. Especially when they’ll have huge holes in their schedule in the next few years. Seriously, how long can a 16-year-old show like NCIS carry CBS?
CBS’ executives aren’t looking at the big picture with Supergirl. Right now they have an aging fleet of shows and no real replacements for them. Shows like NCIS are on their 16th or so seasons, The Big Bang Theory is on its 8th Season, 2 Broke Girls is on its 5th Season and Mom and Hawaii Five-O is on its third season. And a slew of shows like Mike & Molly and Person of Interest are leaving the CBS Schedule. CBS really needs to focus on the future of its network before it winds up in like last place NBC.
Yes, Supergirl has its crreative issues. As I see it, the show really does need to focus on moving the DEO to the background and more on building up Kara’s life in National City as the primary story. The Kryptonian overreaching arc really slowed the show down. Personally, I’d rather see some more home grown villains like Silver Banshee and Live Wire instead of alien menaces from far away.
Moreover, I’d love to see more relationships developed between Kara and her rogues. One of the best things about Buffy and Xena were the relationships that both heroines had with their villains every season. Kara really needs that big archenemy that everyone loves to hate. Astra fell kinda flat, and Non I didn’t really care about. And while Maxwell Lord is a dick, but this show really needs its Callisto or its Spike and Drusilla to get the audience energized.
The way I see it, DC bad girls like Dr.Cyber or Maxima need to pop in for a feud or two. While she’s a Wonder Woman Villian, Dr. Cyber would be awesome as the season arc villain for Season 2. She’s just such a diva she’d give Kara a real run for her money onscreen.
And it really needs to bring in some of the other heroes for a guest spot. I loved seeing J’onn this season as a supporting cast member. And the episode where The Flash guest starred was one of the best episodes of the year. I’d love to see more of those kinds of episodes in the second season. They really captured the spirit of DC Comics on film. Zatanna, Nightwing, Ted Kord, Miss Martian, Mary Mavel, or Donna Troy popping in would be awesome and show the world that there’s a larger world of heroes outside of National City.
But in order for a show like Supergirl to develop creatively, it needs a home on a competitive network. And the CW just isn’t competitive. Right now The CW isn’t on most of the TV stations across the country. And the ones its on sometimes get pre-empted for local sports like Yankee games and the shows get rescheduled for the weekends in death slots like Saturday at 6 PM.
Worse, the reception is absolute shit on some of them. Here in New York It’s a bitch for me to get Channel 11 with a rabbit ear antenna so I can watch iZombie, The Flash and…Good Gravy…The abomination of a TV show calling itself Arrow.
So while the CW skews younger viewers, the network itself isn’t going to be a place the show can build a larger audience. The CW is nowhere the network it was when it was The WB in its prime. Back in the 1990’s The WB was competitive, with a strong broadcast signal, full weeknight lineup, Saturday morning cartoons, and a Sunday schedule. While the CW today is just a netlet with a two-hour weeknight schedule bogged down with superhero shows and fantasy. With the schedule already crowded with Flash, Arrow, iZombie and Legends of Tomorrow Supergirl would get lost in the shuffle.
CBS really needs to stand behind Supergirl. It’s the kind of show that will find an audience long term. With the right stories and network support Supergirl can be the kind of show that builds a following over 3-5 seasons. However, CBS executives have to learn how to play the long game instead of the short one. Most of the hit shows that went on to become classics like Cheers, and Seinfeld didn’t do it in the first season. It was the third season that was their breakout. If CBS played its cards right by the time NCIS or Big Bang Theory is planning its series finale Supergirl could be ready to take its place on the schedule and keeping the network competitive.