Supergirl - Season 1 (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 27-Jul-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Supergirl: 2015 Comic-Con Panel (14:50)
Featurette-The Man From Mars (9:36)
Featurette-A World Left Behind (10:41)
Outtakes-Gag Reel (4:05)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 877
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Glen Winter
Dermott Downs
Larry Teng
Thor Freudenthal
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Melissa Benoist
David Harewood
Mehcad Brooks
Chyler Leigh
Jeremy Jordan
Calista Flockhart
Peter Facinelli
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $49.95 Music Blake Neely


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Dutch
Spanish
Portuguese
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Supergirl is the latest DC Comics superhero show from producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, who also oversee Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. But while those shows share a home on The CW Network and exist within a shared continuity, Supergirl was housed over at CBS for this first season, and establishes its own separate world and continuity. It’s also a show about a female superhero, which makes for a refreshing change. Even though Supergirl has its charms, it’s not all smooth sailing, as it starts off downright awful before improving to a certain extent. It’s a few notches below the (admittedly mediocre) first seasons of both Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, and doesn’t come close to the excellent debut outing for The Flash.

    As the planet Krypton faces destruction, infant Kal-El/Superman is sent to Earth in a pod by his parents, but he’s not the only Kryptonian who was evacuated. To serve as Kal’s protector, his cousin Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) is also sent to Earth, but arrives many years after Kal has already revealed himself to the world as Superman. Growing up in a normal household with adoptive sister Alex (Chyler Leigh), Kara makes the move to National City, where she lands a job working for media mogul Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart). When a plane disaster threatens the safety of her sister, Kara demonstrates her powers to save Alex, and emerges as National City’s own superhero. Branded as Supergirl by the media, Kara confides in friends Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), while also receiving help from Alex, who works for a covert defence organisation known as the DEO.

    This season covers a lot of narrative ground across its twenty episodes, even bringing in Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan Tatum) - the sister of Lois Lane - which leads to a love triangle between herself, Kara and Jimmy Olsen. Other Kryptonians are also prowling around the side-lines, while the loyalties of megalomaniac Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli) remain unclear. In addition, aspects of the show mirror recognisable elements from Superman stories - for instance, Kara can speak to a pre-programmed hologram of her mother, Alura Zor-El (Laura Benanti), and Kara even visits the fortress of solitude. There’s a “monster of the week” formula to some of the episodes as Kara faces powerful opponents, but there are also running story arcs and mythology episodes mixed in. One of the more interesting subplots involves Alex’s boss Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), who turns out to be fan favourite J’onn Jonzz, also known as Martian Manhunter.

    Supergirl undeniably gets off to a rocky start. The season’s pilot episode - which leaked online many months before its original broadcast to a mixed reception - is hard to defend; the script is slipshod, nothing really works, and the enterprise is both hackneyed and chintzy. Particularly embarrassing is the cheap-looking opening sequence on Krypton, which looks closer to a Z-Grade Roger Corman flick. Luckily, however, the show improves across its first season, though there are still big problems which hold Supergirl back from reaching its full potential. Perhaps one of the most glaring shortcomings of Season 1 is that the show awkwardly shies away from showing Kara’s cousin, the iconic Man of Steel. Season 2 will feature Teen Wolf star Tyler Hoechlin as Superman, but in this season, he is never seen, with deliberate framing to block out his face, and communications limited to instant messaging. The result is incredibly jarring and awkward. More pertinently, though, try as it might, Supergirl cannot successfully develop the type of emotional heft that catapulted The Flash into the stratosphere.

    As perhaps to be expected from a television show, production values here are a mixed bag. On the one hand, characters like J’onn J’onzz and The Red Tornado look close to flawless, as do many of the other Martians seen throughout the series. But on the other hand, there are many digital effects shots that look startlingly unconvincing, and during some of the green-screen sequences, you can almost see a green tint in the hair of actors. There is still some fun to be had in the action scenes if you can overlook the undeniable technical shortcomings, however, and there are even shades of Zach Snyder during some of the mid-air combat sequences. Hell, there also appears to be some light John Williams influence in the show’s theme by Blake Neely.

    Benoist is a real catch, and she’s one of the only things which keeps Supergirl watchable during its roughest patches. She’s charming and fun, able to come across as a “normal” bimbo as Kara the assistant, while also handling the more dramatic elements with apparent ease - there’s superb gravitas to her performance. But it’s Flockheart who steals the show as Cat Grant, who exhibits traces of Meryl Streep’s performance in The Devil Wears Prada. Flockhart brightens up the series whenever she’s on-screen, chewing the scenery and often delivering amusing dialogue. Her one-liners are magical. The rest of the ensemble get the job done well enough, though Brooks is a questionable choice as Jimmy Olsen, who’s miles removed from the comic book portrayal. There are even appearances by Helen Slater (the original live-action Supergirl) and Dean Cain (Superman from Lois & Clark), who play Kara’s adoptive parents.

    The standout episode of this season is “Worlds Finest,” which guest stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, crossing over with arguably the best DC show currently on television. Supergirl does take does place in an alternate universe as previously mentioned, but the writers manage to create a believable conceit to justify the guest appearance, and the result is pure joy. Of course Gustin remains an utter delight as Barry, but Benoist and Gustin share such a lovely, easy-going chemistry as well, and there’s a certain kick to be had in watching this character cross over to another universe.

    Supergirl starts getting into an agreeable groove at around the midpoint of this first season, but it’s difficult to outright love the show due to its various problems. And since there are so many superhero adaptations being produced on a yearly basis, merely decent is not good enough. The potential is certainly here for a great show, and one can only hope that it truly finds its footing in Season 2. With Supergirl transitioning to the CW Network alongside other DC shows, it does have a promising future.

    Roadshow presents the twenty episodes of this first season across three Blu-ray discs, with the configuration as follows:

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Whereas most major television shows with a comparable number of episodes are spread across five or six discs, Roadshow have crammed Supergirl’s twenty-episode first season onto three BD-50s. As to be expected from such severe compression, this 1080p transfer is merely watchable rather than truly remarkable - it’s riddled with noticeable artefacts, and it’s apparent that shoving so much content onto each disc has affected the overall video quality, which is a shame.

    This HD presentation does look better than a DVD at least, but detail is strictly mediocre. Facial texturing never rises above average for a Blu-ray, though clothing and environments do look nicely detailed for the most part. Indeed, the intricacies of Kara’s suit are easy to admire. Sharpness is about average, though this usually depends on lighting conditions. Since Supergirl was shot digitally, it does carry a digital appearance, which makes it look a tad flat on the whole. The transfer is a tad on the soft side, and there’s a certain amount of ugly pixilation in backgrounds which can make it look like a DVD at times. Especially under low light, the transfer is muddy to the extreme. Many of the shonky digital effects shots look do very soft and undefined as well, which is probably due to the source, though the mediocre transfer does such moments no favours.

    I detected a fair amount of macroblocking throughout the series. When Kara takes to the sky, shots are very fast-moving to track her as she flies, but these speedy shots always give way to distracting macroblocking when it should be smooth. Even though these issues are fleeting, these beats of action are part of the show’s bread and butter. Furthermore, some banding, particularly at night or under low light when flashlights or spotlights are used. Colours are often strong, but they do look a tad muted on the whole, which is likely traceable to the compression - the show looked brighter and more vibrant when broadcast on television.

    Supergirl is watchable for its Blu-ray debut at least, but could undeniably look better with more breathing room. Compared to shows like Orphan Black and Doctor Who which look close to flawless on disc, this particular superhero show comes up short. The presentation looks more in line with an iTunes digital download, rather than a pristine Blu-ray disc. We won’t get anything better than this, so I guess we’ll just have to accept it.

    A selection of subtitle options are available. I found the English track to be free of issues.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Luckily, things are far better on the audio front. Roadshow provide a very impressive DTS-HD MA 5.1 track for all twenty episodes, which may not be cinema-grade but remains solid all the same. Supergirl does have action scenes, and particularly during these moments, the audio mix is aggressive, with subwoofer activity to accentuate each punch and kick. The plane sequence in the pilot episode provides some noticeable separation and channel panning, though the mix is not overly layered on the whole.

    Dialogue is consistently clear, never becoming overpowered by the sound effects or Blake Neely’s original music. There isn’t a great deal in the way of atmospherics, which comes down to the way the show was produced. There are no encoding anomalies or dropouts - it’s smooth sailing. Supergirl is a winner from an audio perspective.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A small collection of extras, especially compared to the other DC shows.

Disc 1:

Deleted Scenes (HD; 1:41)

    Two deleted scenes from Episode 6 are available to view here, which don’t add a great deal and were probably better left out of the show. These two scenes play in a single chunk and can’t be selected individually.

Disc 2:

Deleted Scenes (HD)

    A selection of deleted scenes, which are grouped into the episodes they were excised from. These are all extended dialogue scenes with no extra action or anything else worthwhile. I can’t say these will be missed too much. Here’s what we have:

Disc 3:

Deleted Scenes (HD)

    More deleted scenes from the series, again grouped into the episodes they were removed from. There are actually some worthwhile snippets here which provide additional gags or nice little character moments, but, heartbreakingly, the deleted scene from “Worlds Finest” only involves the two villains and doesn’t contain anything extra with Barry.

Supergirl: 2015 Comic-Con Panel (HD; 14:51)

    As the title implies, this is a (presumably abridged) video of the Comic-Con Panel in 2015, before the show had started to air. This is mostly promo fluff and joking around, as to be expected.

The Man From Mars (HD; 9:37)

    This brief behind-the-scenes featurette is solely focused on J’onn J’onzz, also known as the Martian Manhunter. The cast and crew discuss the character and his comic book history, as well as his place in the show. Alas, the digital effects used to create the character aren’t covered, but there’s some nice B-roll footage here nevertheless.

A World Left Behind (HD; 10:41)

    The second featurette in the set is concerned with Kara’s home planet of Krypton. The creators discuss its portrayal in the Christopher Reeve Superman movie back in 1978, and their thought process behind its design in this season of the show, as well as some of the story developments.

Gag Reel (HD; 4:05)

    And last of all, we have a gag reel. This isn’t as funny as I had hoped, but there are some amusing flubs and on-set tomfoolery.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    All editions worldwide appear to be identical. Buy local.

Summary

    Supergirl falls short in some departments, but it does have its charms. Fingers crossed that Season 2 is better with its shift to the CW Network alongside other DC shows.

    Roadshow's Blu-ray is mediocre on the whole. Compressing twenty episodes onto three discs has taken its toll on the video quality, but it's still watchable. Audio is excellent, though the selection of extras is mildly disappointing.

    I'm giving this one a mild recommendation, but definitely try before you buy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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