Support Shawn's writng with a donation

Monday, May 9, 2016

CBS Needs To See the Big Picture With Supergirl

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.


  1. Hawaii Five-0 is actually about to start its seventh season, but aside from that I agree with this wholeheartedly.

  2. To be fair, there seems to be more people like the Flash over those who like Supergirl. Supergirl seems to be a polarising show. You either love or hate it with little in-between.

    As for its move to The CW, certain characters would have to be omitted as some powers would have to be dialed back. Superboy would take Martian Manhunter's place though he'd wound up as James's brother as they can't use either Superman or Lex Luthor.

    It could happen pretty soon just to deal with those things.

  3. Wow, I had no idea that Hawaii Five-O was on that long.
    Ad, I didn't see Supergirl as polarizing it was fun show to me. Really captured the spirit of what DC Comics are and fit right into the Superman Mythos.

    CW would dial back the powers and the stories would meander. I'd rather see the show cancelled than go on CW.

  4. Nightwing would be a perfect addition; an established character from the Bat-Univerese would give the show instant credibility and also establish Dick as a hero in his own right, outside of his exploits with Bruce. Many casual fans have no idea that Dick is no longer Robin.

  5. The move to CW could force Supergirl to change. James Olsen becomes Superboy's overprotective older brother as they're not allowed to use either Superman or Lex Luthor. It'll even reuse sets from other CW programmes and might force staff to make use of what's left.

  6. Just read that Supergirl is officially going to CW.

    1. Damn. Just Damn. That's the nail in Supergirl's coffin.

    2. I can't lie; after seeing the preview, I was actively preemptively disliking the show. I thought it was going to be too Gilmore Girls and not Gotham enough, but I was pleasantly surprised. I like that it's a fun show that I can watch with my 5-year old son and the fact they managed to make a believable live-action J'onn J'onzz really made me give it a legit look. I'm cautiously optimistic that CW will do right by them as they did with Flash.