Friday, July 10, 2015

Reviewing a bombastic weekend, ‘super’ pilot

Jerry Dorsey by the rocket's red glare
PANAMA CITY BEACH — It was a low-impact July 4th at our place: We cooked a rack of ribs, grilled burgers, splashed in the neighborhood pool, and watched “Independence Day.” At dark, we carried folding chairs to view the Panama City fireworks from the beach side of St. Andrew Bay, sitting in the dark along the sand at the public access off Delwood Beach Road.

“These chairs are about worn out,” my wife said, and I told her they still had life in them. A minute later, mine collapsed and I hit the sand.

Nearby, a group of sky-watchers played the radio, listening to patriotic music synchronized to the fireworks — until the guy a little further down the beach drowned them out by cranking up his boom box to play country songs. (He also shouted profanity at invisible terrorists, who we were better than because, in his words, “we’re sending rockets into the sky.”)

When the second song began, my son said, “He’s playing the same song again,” but I corrected him: “It just sounds like the same song. Every country hit these days sounds like every other country hit. 
In a second, it’ll turn into just a list of adjectives and nouns, followed by a guitar solo.”

About the time the third song started, my wife’s cell phone chimed in, playing a YouTube video of Englebert Humperdinck singing “What’s Up, Pussycat?” — while we kvetched, she googled. Once again, it’s Debra for the win.


**

Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El/Danvers
Speaking of things that fly and cause explosions, I also got a chance to view the upcoming CBS “Supergirl” TV series pilot (premiering Oct. 26), and it’s both exactly what I feared and most of what a comic book fan could ever hope for.

That is, it falls prey to both superhero and romantic-comedy tropes (though it plays with them appropriately, such as the trying-out-costumes montage) and it manages to take its heroine seriously, setting up her battle against a slew of bad guys worthy of her prowess.

The central actor, Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El/Danvers, is delightful. At turns goofy and determined, she provides all the emotions needed to ground a crazy concept like this. Unlike the brooding heroes of “Arrow” and “Daredevil,” this young woman seems happy to have powers, and isn’t afraid to use them to help people.

The effects are well done for television (such as a crashing jetliner segment glimpsed in the teaser), and the acting is above par for genre shows. I also appreciate the nods to “Super” history, from characters pulled from the comics to the actors filling cameo roles as Kara’s adoptive human parents. 

I’m looking forward to seeing what the show runners (who are also responsible for the breakout CW hit “The Flash” as well as “Arrow” and the upcoming “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”) can pull off on a weekly basis. So far, so good.

Up, up and away!


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