TV MEME: Day 19 – Best t.v show cast

Oooh. Ooof. Like in terms of behind the scenes camaraderie or talent? Behind the scene camaraderie is difficult because people can change and often do, especially when working together and at times living in each other’s pockets. It can either strengthen or break friendships and relationships.  In this day and age with social media casts try to keep and sometimes pump up that camaraderie for the cameras, but personally, I think it can be obvious when it’s not as genuine. The CW is very good about pushing cast camaraderie forward as part of the marketing, though a lot of shows do it. As for talent, well not all shows are even in terms of talent, but generally it’s easy to see when a cast is good.

First, I have to make clear. I don’t care if a cast gets along perfectly. As long as you do good work and do justice to your characters, I could care less if you’re friends off screen. It’s a nice bonus, for sure, for fandom and for the show’s social media presence. But not everyone in the world is going to get along. Just as long as you’re respectful and professional I’m cool. (Now, if your fellow cast member is a racist, sexist, homophobic asshole please feel free to drag them to filth.)

I think that, for me, right now, I love the Lucifer cast. They appear to have fun together, get along, and do a great job in the show. The Game of Thrones cast also seem to still (after seven years) really enjoy working together and while the whole cast isn’t as equally talented you have to give it up to them for having Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Charles Dance, Maisie William, Iwan Rhoen, Sophie Turner, Carice van Houten, Liam Cunningham, and a few other actors who really make solid performance out of mediocre writing, especially in the last few years. Oh, and yeah, Battlestar Galactica! Man they had a good cast too.

And you know what, I think nostalgia is making me lean towards Battlestar Galactica for this one. They were a great cast, who did very good work, sometimes even amazing work, and were a cast that seemed to genuinely enjoy working together, a nice bonus all around. Also they have one of the greatest promo shots ever which I’m gonna use right now. Because I’m totally not shallow. (Thank god this question was “best tv cast” and not favourite though, lol. ;p)

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TV MEME: Day 19 – Best t.v show cast

TV MEME: Day 18 – Favorite title sequence

Ooh, a fun one. I think I have to with Lost‘s. LMAO, I’m joking and if you don’t get why that’s funny I’m gonna link you to Lost‘s title sequence.

God, I did love the show, but it also really began the trend of only having a “title sequence” that was just a title card of the name that lasted well into the 2010s. Before that shows had very cheesy or fun or cool or all three title sequences. Before the early 2000s and Lost‘s influence show’s title sequences were defined by alt rock and fun music in the title sequences with character/actors credits like Fullhouse, Charmed, Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to name some classics. Some songs became forever titled to the title sequences of the shows they were used for like Dawson’s Creek, Roswell and Smallville. Shows on cable like HBO and Showtime would sometimes would have short, more artsy title sequences that more like metaphors or quick representations of the show’s like Sex and The City and Six Feet Under. After Lost a lot of network tv cut title sequences for minimal title cards. One I remember that minimised itself was Grey’s Anatomy’s title sequence that changed from this to just the title card you see.

So the way shows depict their title sequences can change for several reasons like trends and show growth — Supernatural’s title sequence has evolved over the years in that it’s still just a title card but they’ve added and changed the effects behind the show’s title to fit the theme of the season, Jane the Virgin has changed it’s title card from having Jane the Virgin over a freeze framed clip of Jane doing sometime to, well, it’s still a freeze frame of Jane doing something but now that she’s SPOILERS no longer a virgin they’ve got into the habit of striking out the “virgin” part of the title card and filling it with her emotional theme in the episode. That kind of fourth wall breaking works for JTV because the show consistently breaks the fourth wall.

This fun mini history of title sequences aside, let’s get to the question and I had a think about it, because there are some classic title sequences I will never forget, most of them mentioned above actually, because they’ve become iconic. Other’s I thought about because they are beautiful (Game of Throne‘s, Marco Polo‘s, Black Sails‘, True Blood‘s) and I’m a sucker for aesthetics.

In the end I didn’t know which side I was going to fall on, but I kept coming back to one I just think is not only wonderfully made, has iconic music to it, and is actually surprisingly informative of what will happen in the episode (the locations change depending on where we will be visiting).

my runner ups:

TV MEME: Day 18 – Favorite title sequence

TV MEME: Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show

I don’t believe in this question. Nothing I watch is a guilty pleasure because I have no longer any sense of shame about my tv choices. I mean, sometimes I am shamed about shows I’ve watched that have let me down, but that’s disappointment. Other than that, I’ve owned everything terrible or great show I’ve watched. It makes me a well rounded tv watcher. Or someone with a very low bar.

I will say, that if anyone does want a great show that might slot it into this category, for you, I’d say watch Lucifer. It is super duper fun, the characters are interesting and enjoyable to watch. It’s not an overly complicated show to follow as it is a cop procedural with a couple supernatural elements, so it’s structure is easily to keep up with. Tom Ellis is incredibly charming as Lucifer, maybe the character pop of the screen, Lauren German plays the usually portrayed straight laced cop with a sense of fun and irony. The rest of the supporting cast elevate themselves and their characters so much, anchoring them to the story and the found family dynamic that the show builds up. It also has one of the best kid characters on tv at the moment. Trixie Decker is a gem of a child.

All in all, if you want a show that is a pleasure to watch go to Lucifer. Feel no guilt over it, though, the Lord of Hell wouldn’t want you to.

Here are some trailers:

TV MEME: Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show

TV MEME: Day 15 – Favorite female character

OH I LOVE THIS QUESTION, because now I can talk about my favest gal, Vala Mal Doran (Stargate SG-1). She was only in my life for about 26 episodes and a couple movies, but I loved her so much. She also, unlike Clark, came into my life way later. In my 20s later.

I think before Vala my favourite female character would have been Minako or Maria DeLuca. Personally, I always leaned to having more favourite female characters than male ones. If I had to make a list of all my favourite female vs. male characters, the female’s side would be way longer. I could have easily gone with a several formative female characters here that have defined my tv life: Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon), Minako Aino (Sailor Moon), Cordelia Chase (BTVS/Angel), Buffy Summers (BTVS), Maria Deluca (Roswell), Aeryn Sun (Farscape), Juliet Burke (Lost), Lois Lane (Lois & Clark/Smallville/JLU), Betty Suarez (Ugly Betty), and many others, but when it comes to this question Vala is the first one that always pops into my mind.

It happened one night. Probably. It happened during a Stargate SG-1 rewatch I decided to, because I had been watching Stargate Atlantis, as you do. I started from season one and made my way through the show casually for seven seasons. Then. Vala!

Vala literally crashed into the show and my life in season 8, so well into a very established show with very establish character and stole my heart. She was only meant to have an one episode guest role, but when the show did a little restructuring in season 9, they clearly saw the magic that I saw and brought her back. Not for long, because of Claudia Black’s real life pregnancy, they later wrote into the show and her character arc, but she was then made a main character in season 10 until the end of the show and the following two movies.

The thing with Stargate SG-1 is that it was not a great show. It was very much of its time and it writing was never as nuanced and intricate as it could have been, even with all the complexities it gave their characters. So all in all it was a fair standard scifi procedural. And did you see that magic word? Scifi? Oh yeah, no wonder I already liked it. Plus, I actually really love the original movie it’s based on: Stargate (1996). The premise of the movie and show is cliche and simple: aliens built the pyramid but they were also evil parasites called Goa’uld. This is important to know, because Vala used to be host to a Goa’uld.

A big plot point of the show is saving the galaxy from these aliens overlord and freeing hosts from the Goa’uld. Vala was “saved”, but not by our heros. As we meet her in a quick one episode that was never meant to be expanded, we know that her extraction happened a while ago by aliens, and it was as much a traumatising experience as the take over of her body by the Goa’uld. Thats’ the thing with Stargate. It made it characters go through some shit but it very rarely followed up on the ramifications of what they go through. Vala was very much the same. She went through hell and back, saved herself for the most part, and came out of the other side a bit broken, a bit disillusioned, but still ultimately bright, fun, witty, and a survivor.

That’s why I loved Vala so much. She was a survivor. She didn’t think of herself as one, however. Or as hero, which is what she ultimately became. Her path to heroism was a difficult one because she didn’t see that in herself, others didn’t see that in her, but Vala always fought for her free will and later the free will of others. She knew what it meant to live without free will, what it meant to live as a slave to another whims, and when push came to shove she fought. And kept fighting.

Now, as I mentioned before, Vala didn’t start as a hero. She started off a fun antagonist turned ally for our team. She was a bit of a Han Solo, but she had nobody on her side like Han did with Chewy. Being a space pirate is hard especially when alone. Her growth into becoming part of this the team and her own person, was so wonderful for me to watch, because what’s interesting to see of Vala’s growth beside her survivalism is the growth of her softness. Vala unlike a lot of the characters in the show doesn’t grow and become harder, and more cynical, but softer. Part of that is because she finds a place she can call home and stop living a life on the run, part of that is because she finds a family.

She’s a character I hold close to my heart and I love very much. She may not have had the most subtle character arc, but it was still a pretty good one, made better by Claudia Black’s acting. She was superb in the role, giving Vala more depth than I feel was on the page for her.

However, if you want Claudia Black perform an amazing character arc watch her as Aeryn Sun in Farscape. Aeryn Sun’s character arc and narrative development is honestly one of the most fantastic things written and performed out there. I could have easily done this post on Aeryn, but I love Vala just that little bit more. Since Vala I’ve loved many other female characters, of course, but something about her will always keep her as my favourite.

TV MEME: Day 15 – Favorite female character

TV MEME: Day 14 – Favorite male character

I’m going with a classic here. Clark Kent.

I love Clark Kent/Superman. If you haven’t picked up on it yet I’m a comic book fan. I won’t say I have the greatest history with comics. I didn’t read them as a kid much and a lot of my comix learning came from tv shows, hence the meme, but I also grew up at the height of comic book cartoons. However, Superman: The Animated Series aired with less frequency on my tv  provider than Batman: The Animated Series. My television introduction to Clark Kent was Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. It brought Clark Kent into my life the way the Reeve’s movies didn’t. It made him part of my weekly world, and I fell in love with the character. Then I started to watch Justice League: Unlimited and did a lot more visual learning. Soon after Smallville came on my screen.

Clark Kent was everywhere! 😀

He is such a great hero and more importantly a good person. Yes, he helps people because he has the ability and power to do so without getting hurt, but the thing is he’d do it anyway. When Clark loses his powers for whatever reasons he’s always still tries. He respects the people he’s saving, he believes in them. He even tries to believe in his enemies until he can’t. Lois & Clark dealt a lot more with the earthly villains and struggles Clark would have to go through, partly because I don’t think the show had the budget to commit to the more galactic issues Clark, especially as Superman, would have to deal with.  Justice League Unlimited and Smallville put some of those factors more into play for his character. Because Clark is an alien. Earth isn’t his birth place, but he makes it his home. As a kid who had just moved from the only home she knew to another brand new place it was a comforting thing to watch with Clark.

I just loved seeing a male character like Clark Kent on my tv. He was heroic, and kind, respectful, gentle, and powerful as all hell. A lot of media at the time, and even now, likes to lean to the hard boiled hero. A hero with hidden or little gentleness to him. Clark didn’t hide his kindness or gentleness, it was a core part of his character, and a great part of why it made him such a good hero and just a great person to watch. On top that, because he’s so powerful, his enemies, namely Lex Luthor, believe that it’s because of that god like power would corrupt and should be used to gain more power. Clark’s narrative actively fights against this. That’s why I find episodes where he’s on Red K or alternate universes where we see the Justice League go bad, or or evil!Superman be a thing, are so important, because they showcase how easy it would be for Clark to take power.  (Although interestingly, evil and Red K Clark/Superman is always interestingly respectful about somethings. Consent being one, innocent people being the other. He’s never outright cruel, from what I remember, though a bit totalitarian. )

Clark, like Usagi (Sailor Moon), like Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender) is a main character and hero that believes in the good of the world and the ability of humanity to rise up and be better than they are. It’s a hopeful and optimistic approach that’s for sure, but it’s one I always loved seeing.

Anyway, better, smarter people than me have written great meta about Clark Kent and Superman. This feels a bit of cheat summarised version of all those things. But Clark Kent, the best of the best!

 

TV MEME: Day 14 – Favorite male character

TV MEME: Day 13 – Favorite childhood show


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SAILOR MOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look, these girls were fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight, never running from a real fight, they were the ones named Sailor…. Mercury, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter!!!!! I just loved everything about this show. It was about female superheroes, female friendship, heroism, growth, hope, love, acceptance, believing in yourself and others. It was truly the most formative show of my childhood.

In a world where most of heroes I would see on tv were male superheroes, especially back in the early-mid 90s, having this group of girls was so magical to me. I lived in a house with a lot of boys, from my brother to my cousins, so I’d have to pick my battles for the tv and Sailor Moon was one of the few times I’d win. Thank god, it came before Dragonball and later Dragonball Z.

All these girls were so special to me. They all had qualities that I admired, found in myself, or wanted to develop. They were all so different but stuck together and believed in each other. On paper they made unlikely friends, but that was the point. They were archetypes of female characters that normally writers like to put at odds with each other, but Sailor Moon showed that no, it doesn’t have to be that way. There was no one way to be girl, and that should be celebrated and supported. They would sometimes fight or misunderstand each other, as all humans do, but they always try for each other and their friendship and they helped save the world. A lot. They were superheroes and struggled with the classic superhero issues: dual identity crisis, wanting to believe the best in world, saving the world, obsessive and sometimes cruel villains. And sometimes they’d even save the villains themselves. And while the show started with Usagi, or Serena as I knew her until I started reading the mangas and watching the dubs, being a solo hero, it quickly gave her allies to help her and support her. And it wasn’t always easy, not for Usagi, not for her fellow senshi (or soldier, or scouts), but they never gave up. They’d fight till the end.

Usagi is also one of the most amazing heroes of all time, in all honestly. She’s a Clark Kent/Superman, Diana/Wonder Woman type character. Someone who believes in truth, justice, and love. She’s a princess, but she’s also a teen girl. She likes teen girl things, she’s silly and funny, and likes manga and sweets, and terrible a school. Usagi is the kind of girl who doesn’t think of herself as hero and that others probably wouldn’t see as a hero either, but she’s got the truest heart and she’s so full of love and belief in the world. And because of that she saves the day, the world, the universe. She tries and helps the villains that try to take her out, she’s a force of good and it’s very wonderfully highlighted.

The other girls are equally important and all get a chance to shine. They, like Usagi, have insecurities of their own, but they also have immense amount of inner strength, skill, and qualities that make them not just heroes, but amazing people. Throughout the series, they all get their own minor arcs and character growth. One of the best moments I feel encapsulates what I loved about the show and these friendship takes place in the R Movie, where they all stand together as Usagi (and Mamoru, her love interest, and their romance is also central to the series but not central to their characters — um, not central to Usagi’s character ;p) tries to save the world and they remember of their lives before they knew Usagi, the glue in their lives, and after Usagi.

Another great moment is at the end of the S Series, where Usagi goes to saves someone, a fellow senshi and it’s a beautiful moment that highlights why she’s is a hero in a way other heroes aren’t always portrayed to be. Especially at the time. The 90s were great for many things, but the action hero and the anti-hero were at their height and growing in popularity, respectively. Sailor Moon was female oriented and focused and on all the time, thanks UPN and Cartoon Network. (Though, they were horrible about putting out Sailor Moon S and SuperS and Stars, because they just weren’t ready and open to lesbian relationships and non-binary characters.)

All in all, Sailor Moon was my first show about superheros, feminism, and friendship. It gave me everything I wanted when I needed it.

 

TV MEME: Day 13 – Favorite childhood show


TV MEME: Day 11 – A show that disappointed you

Gotta love the easy ones. I could go with the go to easy ones: The 100, Stargate: Atlantis, The Originals, Battlestar Galactica, Lost Girl, Arrow, How I Met Your Mother, The Last Ship. There are so many to choose, it’s almost unfair, but I’m gonna go with a recent disappointment. Keep it topical.

Supergirl.

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Oh, this show. It could have given me everything I’ve wanted for so long. It could’ve been a contender. Here’s the thing I love Supergirl. Kara Zor-El was the first superhero I ever encountered in that terrible-amazing 80s movie. I’ve loved her for so long and like a lot of members of the Superfamily, she gets overshadowed by Clark. That’s fair, he’s Superman, he’s a DC staple and icon, but unlike the Batfamily, the Superfamily and Wonderfamily get less traction. So for me, a Supergirl stan~ I was so so happy about a show about my favourite girl. And for a while it looked like it was doing okay. It wasn’t going to be ground breaking tv, it’s a comic book show, and while it started off doing a lot of great things, as soon as it moved to The CW things started to implode.

I’m not saying the first season was without fault, because no show is. It could have had more POC actors and characters. James and J’onn were the only ones, both black men in key positions for the story, but it had no others. There were no women of colour at all and there was no LBGT+ characters. It also opened with a “no homo” joke that there really wasn’t a need for, the writing of the James/Lucy relationship really did nothing for James’ character(isation). The writing was standard with key moments of greatness in which it used the themes presented by the narrative of the show to highlight things like:

  • illegal alien immigration, get it? Because they’re actual aliens! Ha ha!
  • refugees (the Syrian refugee crisis was at a high point in the news during season one)
  • the way black people, black men especially (because there were no black women on the show at the time), have to act in public/professionally to get respect and acknowledgement
  • the way women have to act in public/professionally to get respect and acknowledgement
  • the socio-economic differences a black man has to deal with in comparison to a white woman
  • the layers of complexities within a blended family
  • various moments about sisterhood and how complicated that relationship can be

All of this was discussed under the overall theme of the show, which was: girl power. Not a surprise since the show is called Supergirl and it was about Supergirl and Kara DanversIt was about her heroic arc and trying to find her own way outside her cousin’s shadow. It was about her trying to balance her everyday life and her superhero self. It was about the bonds of sisterhoods and how they’re not always easy to traverse. It was about being an outsider, an immigrant, a refugee, with passing privilege in a world that’s xenophobic and racist. It had a romance! Our romantic lead was a black man, who was struggling with his own growth and identity. James “Jimmy” Olsen is a staple in the Superman mythos and the show did the same The Flash did with the West family and cast a black actor in a previously white dominated role making it near impossible to write him aside. It had another black man in a position of power and mentorship with his own complicated backstory.  It brought in the Lanes, in the shape of Lucy and Gen. Lane! I love the Super-Lane relationships! Our main, and frankly forgettable antagonist was Lex Luthor Lite, but at least they tried. Cat Grant, our other mentor, was a guide post in terms of (white) feminism and confidence. The main conflict towards the end of the season was why does the world need Supergirl when it has Superman and it did a commendable job answering that question.

And then season two came. Look, I don’t want to blame it all on the change of network from CBS to The CW, but wow, you can’t really look at it, see the changes that happened almost immediately and not go: well shit, The CW strikes again.

First thing first, Calista Flockhart left the show, because she made it clear in season that if the show moved to Vancouver from L.A. she wouldn’t go with it. Fine, bye Cat. I liked her fine, but I wasn’t going to miss her. Cat was a good mentor Kara in season one, as she helped Kara find her confidence, but I found people put more importance on Cat’s influence on Kara than say other more influential and equally important people in Kara’s life. Also they introduced Snapper Carr as Kara’s work mentor and made him a Latinx man. I found that to be a great change, because hey! more representation, and Snapper was a bit better in terms of the kind of mentor Kara needed as a journalist. Cat was the person telling Kara: don’t apologise for being a girl, which is  a great message, but Cat was also the person telling Kara to sabotage another relationship to get what she wanted. (White Feminism TM.) Snapper is the person telling Kara: you gotta work had to be good journalist. This, in my honest opinion, was a good change.

It also brought in Superman. A tricky choice, the thing everyone was worried about and hilariously this was what worked out fine. Tyler Hoechlin did a great job with Clark and they even mildly explained the hilarious non-age difference. Clark is meant to be like 20 years older than Kara in this universe, Tyler Hoechlin is definitely not 20 years older than Melissa Benoist, he looks like he’s barely even five years older, but a throwaway line about Kryptonian ageing on Earth and cute enough chemistry can handwave a lot of tiny nitpicks. (Though I don’t know why they didn’t just get Tom Welling back 😉 ) And it brought in the Luthor family in the shape of Lena and Lillian Luthor, which it was excellent choice to have Supergirl’s Luthor ally (and maybe future antagonist; Lena’s a Luthor they’re gonna play this angle and if they don’t they should. Remember Tess Mercer? What a great arc.) and current villain be both women. It included Miss Martian as a minor character, played by Sharon Leal, a black actress, finally bringing in a WOC into the show, whose own story about identity and choice and morality was great, if quickly shoved aside.

One last thing it did that well  before we start the quick downward spiral on how this show broke my heart. Maggie Sawyer. Maggie is a cop. Maggie is also a lesbian and in a relationship with Alex. Now, I have no problem with Maggie herself, or her character, or her relationship with Alex. I love the show went this route with Alex and Maggie. This is some of the LGBT+ representation the audience wanted. I will agree with the criticism that the relationship felt a little rushed but hey, tv, ya know. My problem lies in the casting. Floriana Lima is a beautiful woman. She lights up the screen. She’s what some people call spicy white. A white person who can pass for brown, partially in part because she’s Italian and hey, Hollywood has absolutely loved casting Italians as Latinx or other brown minorities. Lima could even be mixed, and she doesn’t need to tell us if she is, but as it stand just saying she has Italian heritage means she’s white. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules. This would have been fine, except Maggie was also said to be a Latinx woman (from Nebraska).

As a Latinx woman this burns. It burned more when I kept seeing people defend this because they were okay with the LGBT+ inclusion, so who cares if the WOC in the WLW relationship was being played by an ambiguously tan white woman? Well, I care!   They should have cared too, but hey, racism and shitty production choices doesn’t matter until it affects the white parts of fandom. I’ll get to that in a second, but first. Being Latinx is an incredibly messy and complicated thing. It’s not a race, we come in all different colours, but the majority of Latinx who get to break into Hollywood are either white latinx, pass for white, or harness the latinx stereotype Hollywood likes and make bank on it. I would have been way happier had they cast a white latinx instead of an actress who had the “right” stereotypically conceived look what they think a Latinx person is. I would also told them to do better, because there’s a whole world out there of non-white latinx who deserved a shot.

But the Maggie/Alex relationship because huge in fandom and it carried a lot of people through in season two even after the erasure a WOC and of a black man’s storyline, because Supergirl fandom is incredibly transparent.

Now, let’s get to the show’s other main problem that was foreshadow and yelled about since the season two premiere by, you guessed it, POC, namely black, fans of the show. The “slow” erasure of James Olsen as the show’s main male romantic lead. Ah, let’s go back to the beginning… well, end of season one. Where after a season of immediate mutual attraction, some childish jealousy, a few breakup, a couple makeup, some very cute flirting, James and Kara get to have it. Their moment. The moment that’s been building up since Kara walked into James’ office at Catco and went: oh shit he’s hot. They kiss! And because of the drama of television, the kiss get interrupted and Kara has to go save the world. Classic superhero stuff! But hey, we had season two coming! And the show was moving was to The CW, where they were/are doing a pretty great job with the interracial relationship between Barry Allen and Iris West! Things were looking good! So what if they had brought in Mon-El to create intergalactic drama?! Intergalactic drama is good for a show with aliens! James and Kara were gonna be the Lois and Clark of National City! Magic was in the air!!!! Crops were growing! Skin was clear! etc etc

And then they broke them up in the first episode of season two a mere 12 hours after their Big Moment in canon having them state: oh it felt forced.

Can you say WTF? Because I can and I did.

Did you see what happened? Do you see it above? Where I’m going with this?

I bet you do, you guys are smart.

The CW’s strikes again. The CW’s habit of listen to a fandom when it shouldn’t and it’s preference for anti-hero angsty white male leads strikes again.

Let’s hit the fandom point first because it’s easy and fastest to explain: racism. It really is as simple as that. From the get go, for however much people talk about diversity, representation, equality, a lot fandom is incredibly racist, internalised or not, and usually they’re very loud. In season one you could tell, you ignored it because the show seemed committed to telling the love story of James/Kara but you could tell. Maybe some people had no legitimate interest in their romance or felt their chemistry was off, but it was interesting to watch as throughout season one a lot of fandom would happily ship Kara with every other white person on the show and not with James. Shortlist: Cat (SuperCat was an incredibly transparent ship for all it’s WLW activist. White lgbt+ feminism strikes again. Strike Two.), SuperLane (a ship I would be all for, and was all for, but again incredibly transparent for same reasons as before), Winn (who Kara from the first episode showcased she had no interest in romantically), that random character Melissa’s IRL husband played. And while James/Kara had a strong following, it was a following that kept being drowned out by the other loud voices in fandom who had no interest in a black man being the main romantic lead of the darling white girl superhero fave. And I say this as someone who LOVES Kara Zor-El/Danvers/Kent.

So The CW, a network well know for listening to it’s fandom and pandering to it (see Arrow, see The Vampire Diaries, see Supernatural) did what it did best. Now, because James Olsen, played charmingly by Mechad Brooks in the show, is part of the Superman mythos it was pretty hard to completely erase him in one go. He’s Superman/Clark Kent’s BFF, he’s an aspiring and award winning photojournalist, he’s a good guy. So they gave him a heroic arc as The Guardian to appease fans. Could have been great if outside a short 3-5 episode run we actually saw that arc develop throughout the season. You may ask why all this happened? Why didn’t we see this arc for James really develop, who would now be put in position as Kara’s romantic lead?

We’ve arrived at point two: it’s preference for anti-hero angsty white male leads strikes again. Mon-El. Oh, a name I never thought I’d hate so much.

I’m not going to go into his entire story arc in season, because I don’t care about the character, what’s important to know is that his entrance into the show effectively turns season two into: Mon-El’s journey as someone who tries to be a hero to impress a girl so she likes him more. Bonus: he’s an ex-slave owning prince of a misogynist planet, who lied about who he was until his mom and dad showed back. So yes, the show changed Kara’s romantic lead from a black man who struggles with his identity and wants to help people because he’s inspired by the heroes around him to: a white man who lies to get the girl until he can’t anymore, but it’s okay, he’s a better person now because she made him better. I cannot. And then it gets worse, because it’s not bad enough that Mon-El surplants James’ position in the show. He steals what should have the last arc of the show about Kara vs Lillian Luthor vendetta against aliens on Earth, something that was set up in the early half of season two, and is also a big overall theme of the show into Mon-El’s mom wants to take over Earth and hates his new girlfriend.  This isn’t like in season one where it’s militant Kryptonians who Kara cared about as members of family and she has to make a choice between her new and old world, an internal conflict within her. It’s about her boyfriend’s mom being an evil dictator who thinks slavery is a good idea an thinks Kara is not good enough because she’s Kyprotian. And sure this could have worked, if it hadn’t been framed around Mon-El’s struggle and choices and if the overall insult and dismissing of the POC and LGBT+ characters of the show hadn’t been victims to this storyline. As Mon-El gains more and more screen time, James loses screentime, Maggie loses screentime, Alex and Kara’s relationship loses its central position in the narrative.

The thing is, though, a lot of this could have been avoided if the writers and producers of the show had stepped and protected their characters. If they had stuck to their guns with James as their romantic lead, if they had stuck with Kara’s journey being more important another white man who’s struggling with his faux heroism. The Flash has done with the Iris West and the rest of the West family, as well as Cisco. They have protected their POC characters and actors. It can be done on The CW. I’ve seen it. But they didn’t with Supergirl and essentially made the same mistake Arrow did when it listened to a certain sector of its fandom and ended up sacrificing story and character for quick praise. Something that ended up backfiring on them big time, because fandom is mercurial and when they realised that the show had essentially become about Mon-El they kept Maggie/Alex on the backburner and made Kara’s story all about her feelings towards Mon-El.

I’m not going to get into the Kara/Lena debate too deeply because the show was never going to go there, and as much as fandom loved the idea of it, it also used it the “possibility” and white women loving white women “activism” as a way to excuse James’ erasure from the narrative. It certainly didn’t help when at Comic-Con the cast insulted that subsect of fandom, but the fact that it wasn’t until then that people called the show “bad about representation”, um. Well, let’s just say some people stopped watching the show once they realised they didn’t care about non-white actors or characters.

Supergirl’s season two honestly slowly dismantled everything that could have been truly great about the show. It took a show about one my absolute favourite superheroes, who struggles with being an immigrant, who is surrounded by people who struggle with their identity, who want to be and do good, who are minorities and made it into a show about another white man who’s looking for redemption in someone else’s heroism. All this while actively dismissing their LGBT+ and POC audiences and characters. It stopped being a show about inclusion and started excluding all the minorities that used to feel represented by the show. What a disappointment.

I really hope the show redeems itself somehow, but I just don’t see it happening. But if the DCMU could give me Superman/Batman: Apocalypse I’d really really appreciate.

TV MEME: Day 11 – A show that disappointed you