3 Lessons To Use in Writing From CBS’ New Hit Show, Supergirl

To say that I’m a Superman aficionado is an understatement. Supergirl

I’m a fan, OMG people, I am fan. Since I could watch and understand, I have LOVED all things Superman, Supergirl and if they came out with SuperBaby and it was geared toward toddlers, I admit that I would probably watch it too!

My own personal Super Human affection started with Christopher Reeve (born in the late 70’s, for some reason I have a little ADD when it comes to black and white films, so Chris Reeve was where I felt I could start paying attention. Now I couldn’t get into Superboy’s John Haymes Newton or Gerard Christopher (looking back on it, now, Christopher looked a little like Ricky Ricardo) but I digress, perhaps I’ll watch the reruns. They did not catch on for me and, evidently lots of others too.

Then on it went, another reincarnation in the form of Hatcher and Dean Cain – they entered the scene as I began my high school years and dare I say they were MY absolute FAVORITE version of all time. Oh the love, the romance, I’m a romance novelist people. Devastation? I knew what it was when the show ended. Sad day in history, it was. I was crushed.

Last, I would watch Smallville – and uh, made parents buy (at that time) this 20-something year old, each and every box set each year. Still have them, shhh! 10 Years, this version would last and was probably one of the longest running TV Series for a Superman reincarnation since it’s black and white version predecessors. At times, Smallville would get a bit scary for me as it deviated from the original Superman core mission a little, but really? Ten years? Coming up with new materials, villains and story lines was a good a problem to have and a hard problem to be solved, in Hollywood-land for such a long lasting show.

Seeing all reincarnations on the big screen- starting with Christopher Reeve to Brandon Routh and okay thought Henry Cavill was a bit I don’t know, different for the part, but doable, but it was hard to find someone better Christopher (obviously Christopher Reeve was probably one of the best), almost completely tailored to his super role.

I want to make a disclaimer, I love Superman and Supergirl, did I say that? My criticism, not so much, more observation. Remember, at the end of the day, this post is for would be writers and improving their craft and is ultimately also, this one author’s sole observation. In short, do NOT let said author sway you one way or the other, I’m a Superman, Supergirl lifer. And it doesn’t matter what I say, the Supergirl debut is currently among CBS’ high rating royalty. Kryptonians forever!

  1. Okay, so I launch into First Writing Offense is… Please SLOW DOWN….. This entire hour and the overarching storyline moved Wayyy Toooooo FASSSSSST -and I watched it live, most things nowadays I DVR to save time. Seriously, could you slow down, let me admire the scenery and digest all the characters that came to play, just a teeny little bit? I tell my novel-writing students all the time, sloooooow down (okay, sometimes I tell some of them to speed up), pace yourselves, your thoughts, the components of the story and finish the thought. My point is BALANCE, is weave and bob. There’s like six (probably more) of you writers sitting around a really nice mahogany conference table (at least that’s what it looks like according to Shonda Rhimes interviews) and writing brilliantly, might I add, (or maybe that’s during the character reading that they sit around the table) whatever, unfortunately, you have rushed me through her history (backstory), a call to action, all the GMC I can stand, the shero’s weaknesses, her familial burdens, her insecurities and told me the villains, all of them and then, told everyone present, all of her ULTIMATE secrets (see more about that later).

How could you? I think you could have even had her mess up trying to fly, you make a comment, from her (Supergirl), that she might have forgotten, then she takes off without incident and I just don’t believe you anymore. If you introduce something, follow it through, show her messing up and to do so helps elongate the story and makes her that much more human, even though she’s not really…like on the show, I mean.

  1. Second Offense in Writing: Tell NO ONE EVERYTHING (especially not all at once) – #Supergirl BASICALLY TOLD LOTTI, DOTTY AND EVERY DAGGONE BODY – her secret identity. WHAT? Come on! I’m so mad. The ENTIRE premise was that no body knew, the pull of everything is the weight of the secret she holds, and trying to do good with (despite) it and finding out WHO your real friends are and GROWING (or not) those relationships. I know you’re changing everything -that’s called Creative License, but at least be more legitimate and deliberate to help us understand and support your reasons why.

Again, I know, I know it’s NOT Superman, it’s SuperGIRL but what leverage does she have left? What pull or draw do I as reader/viewer have to continue playing along (reading/watching- this story)?

WHY IN EPISODE ONE, DOES Oh, EVERYBODY frikken’ know she’s Supergirl? Like if you want her to have a love interest with Jimmy Olsen (which I get, I’d totally spill my deepest darkest to Mehcad Brooks too, he’s capital FINE) but I’d at least wait until our third date! I mean episode three, or four or five!

  1. Third Offense in Writing: Reveal Little by Little. AKA: Giving it ALL AWAY in Chapter One = A Quick and Unmemorable Demise

All villains, REVEAL Yourself! – NO seriously, please come out of the dark and tell us “who done it” and let us know who you are, all of you, leaving nothing to our imaginations, said no suspenseful Plotter or Pantser, NOT EVER! – I knew from jump street, one sly look, the sister had issues and then, well no smoke and mirrors there. Episode ONE, #Supergirl writer’s REVEALED: “Sis, you got some issues”. It’s worse than, “Molly, you in danger, girl!” (from Ghost, just in case you’re not movie one-liners cray-cray like I am).

The jig is up people and I’m going to try to hold on for more episodes but I have serious whiplash people, so much so I can only hold my head down in shame.

Good luck tonight #Supergirl. Please, DO NOT tell anyone else who you are okay, not even if uh, Jimmy Olsen takes off his shirt or something. Stay strong.

Writers, aspiring and otherwise, please Take Heed.


3 thoughts on “3 Lessons To Use in Writing From CBS’ New Hit Show, Supergirl

  1. Maybe they thought they only had the pilot and threw everything into LOL

    I thought it was strange she told someone too. She didn’t want to keep the secret by herself.

    Did you see how good looking Dean still is?

  2. One other lesson – show, don’t tell. The writers feel like its okay to beat us constantly over the head with the fact that she’s a woman. The first episode had so much cringe-worthy dialogue, it almost turned me off from the show entirely. Show me that Kara is a strong woman, show me that she’s just as capable (if not better) as Superman, show me, dammit. I’m glad that they toned it down, but the dialogue is still pretty bad.

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