Grade: B+
Entire family: Yes
2016, 931 min. (22 episodes), Color
Sci-fi action-drama

Warner Bros.
Not rated: would be PG for fantasy violence
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Featured audio: DTS-HDMA 5.1
Bonus features: C+/B-
Includes Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Trailer
Amazon link

As I said when I reviewed Season 1, there are two DC Universes, and Melissa Benoist really brightens up the television one. She has the kind of charisma that propelled Lynda Carter (who appears as the President this season) to stardom as TV’s Wonder Woman during the seventies and the kind of girl-next-door likeability and warmth that inspired the writers of Supergirl: Season 2 to emphasize her “humanity” after otherwise drawing a distinction between humans and aliens.

In this winning 2016 CW series she’s the “girl” you want to be friends with, to confide in, to rely on, to have fun with, and, if you’re a guy, to date. Though Supergirl comes from the planet Krypton, with Benoist wearing the costume she embodies everything that’s good in humanity. She may be a badass, but she’s as amazed by her powers and the fun of being a hero as any teenage Earthling would be. And teens can identify with her because she’s also awkward in social situations, still trying to find her way in the work world, just a little geeky, and a little too wide-eyed for a typical adult her age. In other words, the character was deliberately crafted with a teen and young adult audience in mind, though the show is entertaining enough for all ages.

Supergirl offers a less dark DC Universe in which characters have down time, bond, laugh, share food and drink, and grapple with problems that audience members face—like questions about identity, body image, relationships, glass ceilings, and juggling career and personal life. The series’ first-season feminism and “stronger together” theme was reflected in the Hillary Clinton campaign, and this season remarks exchanges like this one tip viewers off that the left-leaning politics continue:

Supergirl (as Kira, defending a young woman in the office): “She went to Yale.”
Cat Grant: “So did George Bush.”

While last season was all about Supergirl trying to come to terms with her super side, the focus this season is on her figuring out who she is as Kira, her “human” alter ego. Kara Zor-El was sent to Earth to look after her younger cousin, but because her pod strayed off-course she arrived after Kal-El, who’s grown up and already accepted as a hero in Metropolis. Instead of her taking care of him, was the caretaker who whisked her her off to foster parents. This season begins with cousin Superman dropping by for a visit and working with Supergirl to fight the bad guys side-by-side.

This season she leaves as Cat’s assistant and instead takes a job with the media corporation as a reporter working under a crusty old-school journalist (Ian Gomez) who calls her on fluff. More than anything, this focus on reporting—the work that goes into it and the constant vigil to keep bias out of it—might have a positive effect on viewers who have been conditioned by their president to write all news off as “fake.”

The series launched on CBS but switched to the CW this season, with additional storylines revolving around the arrival of Prince Mon-El (Chris Wood) from Krypton’s neighbor, Daxam, and his efforts to accept where and who he is, as well as the emergence of Lex Luthor’s sister, Lena (Katie McGrath), as a major character. Mehcad Brooks returns as James Olsen, who is promoted to run the whole show after Cat (Calista Flockhart) announces she’s stepping down, while Jeremy Jordan has shifted his tech talents from the media corporation to the DEO, where Supergirl’s foster sister Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) still works alongside boss “Hank,” otherwise known as the Martian J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood). One sensitive storyline involves a lesbian relationship and the difficulty of coming out in a heterosexual world. But while the first season put Kara/Kira/Supergirl at the center and everything revolved around her, this season other cast members have greater challenges and changes to grapple with as well.

As with the first season, Supergirl does a nice job of juggling action, heroes and villains, and the kind of personal problems that teens (and adults who haven’t gotten it together yet) can identify with. Sometimes it can get a little cheesy, but for the most part it’s a fun series that also deliberately strives for humor and lighter moments to balance the drama. Season 2 gets off to a rather pedestrian start, but once it starts to click and the Supergirl universe expands into a slightly darker and considerably more complex one, with Mon-El another guy thrown into the Supergirl “crush” mix, it ends up being even stronger than Season 1.

Language: n/a
Sex: a lesbian relationship is added to the mix, but nothing graphic is shown
Violence: Battles between good people and bad, superheroes and villains, elite fighters and worthy opponents; everyday people get threatened more this season
Adult situations: There is drinking, but no intoxication
Takeaway: This series has a lot going for it, but the big plus is Melissa Benoist, who was also one of the few charismatic replacement characters Glee brought in when the main cast turned over

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