Supergirl: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review

Superman Visits National City And Mon-El Arrives

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The headline news for Supergirl’s second season were a couple of big changes to the show’s primary cast. After declining ratings on CBS in season one, the Girl of Steel moved over to the CW for her sophomore season to join their other comic book shows like Arrow and the Flash. The biggest difference being the exit of Cat Grant, superbly played by Calista Flockhart. A vital part of season one, Supergirl has to tackle the world on her own without Cat’s guidance this season. The show does feel a bit different on the CW, focusing more on romantic developments between characters and further embracing Kara’s exotic alien encounters beyond other Kryptonians.

On the positive side of the ledger, new addition Mon-El (Chris Wood) fits right into Supergirl’s world without much of a fuss. Mon-El and Kara flirt with each other all season, bringing more romance into Supergirl’s life after uneven attempts at it in season one. It was a shock to almost no one when the news hit that co-stars Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood were seeing each other off the screen. While this Mon-El isn’t quite the same as the 31st Century superhero you may remember from DC Comics, the character works well enough on this show.

Any show with Melissa Benoist’s effervescent performance as Supergirl can’t be bad. She continues to be the show’s reason for being, effortlessly playing the demure Kara with plucky courage while embracing Supergirl as a heroine for truth and justice. That doesn’t stop season two from being terribly uneven in quality, despite appearances by Superman and a loaded line-up of guest stars like Lynda Carter and Teri Hatcher.

The first two episodes of the season are glorious, finally introducing the Man of Steel to the series. They are easily the season’s highlight for this longtime Superman fanatic. Actor Tyler Hoechlin plays Superman with a charm and attitude as the superhero is meant to be portrayed. Taking more of a cue from Christopher Reeves and Dean Cain than Henry Cavill’s brooding portrayal, this Superman is proud of his cousin and only helps her out when needed. I’m still not sure Supergirl’s writers have a full grasp on Superman as a character but at least they nail the important stuff.

It’s a fun, lighthearted show with involving superhero special effects, some of the best on television

People tend to forget that Superman is the most famous alien character in world entertainment. Born on the planet Krypton, he grew up completely on Earth in the heartland of America. His cousin Supergirl on the other hand spent her formative years on Krypton before getting in the pod that would take her to Earth. That change in upbringing gives Kara a different perspective on aliens and is brought forth in this second season. Season two has aliens, aliens and more aliens. A bar catering to aliens opens up in National City that is little more than a derivative reworking of the Cantina from Star Wars. Kara’s close friend Winn eventually starts dating an alien, among other plot developments.

Other new faces to the series include Miss Martian, a female Martian that Martian Manhunter becomes friends with despite her checkered past on Mars. Lena Luthor becomes an important recurring character. Lex Luthor’s younger sister, she’s dealing with the fall-out from being his sister by running his company while he’s in jail. Lena quickly became a fan favorite as her chemistry with Kara was infectious.

You can’t discuss Supergirl’s second season without mentioning its politics, which energized some fans and angered others. Heavily mining the alien experience on Supergirl as an allegory for immigrants in America, the show shamelessly embraces overt and heavy-handed political themes during season two. There is little doubt after watching the season which presidential candidate the producers of Supergirl supported in 2016. It comes to a head in the waning episodes of season two with a series of flimsy episodes built around a ridiculous fight between Supergirl and Superman, and Supergirl then fighting Teri Hatcher’s psychotic character.

Supergirl’s second season showed growing pains as it transitioned from CBS to the CW. It’s a fun, lighthearted show most of the time with involving superhero special effects, some of the best on television. But there are real character and plot problems with season two, weighed down by heavy political themes for superhero entertainment.

Video

All 22 episodes of Supergirl’s season two are included on four BD-50s. Listening to complaints about season one, Warner’s AVC encode demonstrates improved compression parameters and better transparency to the 1080P video. WB’s 1080P Blu-ray certainly makes the show look better than it did on the CW’s HD broadcast, offering tighter black levels and improved detail. The show looks pretty good with its clean 1.78:1 presentation. Outside of sinister alien worlds and spaceships, Supergirl’s primary aesthetic is bright and happy primary colors with a nicely saturated palette.

Supergirl uses far more VFX than the other CW superhero programs, slightly reducing its sharpness compared to shows without heavy VFX. That doesn’t impact the unfiltered transfer’s strong close-ups. Their definition reveal razor-sharp detail in impressive clarity. Longer shots can get soft, particularly when Supergirl flys around or fights an alien creature.

The crisp visuals of Supergirl look great in HD and most definitely better on Blu-ray. Warner has performed a respectable effort ensuring the show looks nearly perfect in 1080P resolution.

Audio

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack soars into action, enveloping the listener. Supergirl’s surround mix is lively by television standards, delivering excellent thump when needed with discrete rear cues.

The show has a big, dynamic sound that takes off when Supergirl is fighting villains or even Superman himself. Filling the complete soundstage from front to back, imaging is pinpoint and clearly delineated. Dialogue reproduction and vocal clarity are nigh perfect.

WB includes a Portuguese dub in 2.0 Dolby Digital. Ten different optional subtitles are included, from English SDH to Swedish.

Extras

WB offers up a different assortment of special features than we normally get from their television packages. Despite several new featurettes, inexplicably missing are the usual deleted scenes and a gag reel. It’s not any great loss. The included featurettes we get barely feature Supergirl’s cast members outside of the Comic-Con panel, instead preferring to interview producer Andrew Kreisberg and other members of the production crew.

The featurettes are fairly well done and interesting, even covering the political themes that ran throughout season two. Supergirl’s writers explain their reasoning behind the season’s bigger themes.

It should be mentioned that Best Buy is exclusively stocking a beautiful steelbook edition of this season set with an alternate cover. Featuring a drawing of Supergirl that is much better looking than the normal release, it is almost certainly destined to become a collector’s item. The normal release comes in a slipcase with an episode guide inside.

WB includes what they now call a “digital copy” but it functions as a normal UltraViolet copy that can be redeemed on VUDU.

Supergirl: Alien Fight Night (10:06 in HD) – A featurette that breaks down the season’s fourth episode, Survivors. It’s the episode where Supergirl discovers there is an alien fight club occurring under her nose in National City and introduces Miss Martian to the series. Immigration and other pertinent issues are discussed by various crew members.

Supergirl: 2016 Comic-Con Panel (28:26 in HD) – The entire primary cast plus special guest Tyler Hoechlin (playing Superman) appear at this lighthearted promotional event for season two. It’s more of a look back at season one than a real look forward, as it occurred before season two had even aired. Cast members answer fan questions from the audience.

Supergirl: Aliens Among Us (19:56 in HD) – A weighty, extended featurette that delves into several different aspects of aliens in comic book media as allegories for immigrants in America. This covers comic book history, politics and the season’s big themes. The VFX supervisor discusses bringing Miss Martian and other aliens to life on Supergirl through digital effects.

A Conversation With Andrew Kreisberg and Kevin Smith (03:55 in HD) – A brief snippet of mostly Kevin Smith discussing the differences he found directing an episode of Flash to working on Supergirl.

Supergirl: Did You Know? Facts for Fans (HD) – Short snippets of interviews with cast members giving amusing insight into the show. There are seven of them, each one running approximately a minute or less. Mehcad Brooks talks about his odd collecting habits, while David Harewood reveals he demanded a zipper on his Martian Manhunter costume for bathroom breaks. These beg the question where the rest of this footage went, because longer interviews with the cast are missing from this set.

Audio Commentary With Andrew Kreisberg and Kevin Smith – Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg and director Kevin Smith talk about the episode “Supergirl Lives,” which Kreisberg helped write and Smith directed. It’s the episode where Kara and Mon-El are transported to an alien planet. Smith has made a living recently talking about entertainment and he’s engaging as always in this loose discussion.

[ed note: Due to an error on my part, there are no screen shots available for this release]