Is the Naomi pilot episode intriguing enough to get viewers to return? TV REVIEW




The series poster is a nice homage to the cover of Naomi #1

In 2019, writers Michael Brian Bendis and David F. Walker created the first new DC superhero character in many years: Naomi. In a very unusual move, Naomi made her first appearance in her own self-named series. While it only lasted 6 issues, afterwards every effort was made to immediately incorporate Naomi into the DC universe, even making the inexperienced teenager an unlikely member of the Justice League. The whole Naomi thing just felt…rushed and forced.

So it feels just as unlikely and even more rushed and forced that The CW has taken a big chance on a Naomi tv series.

Like the comic, the tv series is set up as a mystery, revolving around the identity of Naomi herself. Naomi may seem to be a normal 14yo highschooler, but we will discover alongside Naomi that she is more than she thinks she is, as referred to in the title of the first episode “Don’t Believe Everything You Think”.

The plot follows pretty closely to the comic series, which is both good and bad, but more on that later. Naomi is a major Superman fan, and runs a highly-viewed Superman blog/vlog. A major reason why she likes Superman so much is because they are both adopted. And, like many adopted kids do, she begins to wonder where she came from and who her birth parents are. Her investigations lead her to question a very colorful character in town, the local tattoo artist who doesn’t like conflict (a towering bruiser of an auto repair garage owner in the comics, who doesn’t mind conflict in the least).


Naomi's adopted parents are loving and supportive

Visually, the casting is comic book accurate. Naomi is an attractive African-American girl with long braids. Her adoptive parents are a mixed race couple. Her best friend is Annabelle, portrayed both in the comics and on the tv series as a plus-size girl. Glad to see that Annabelle’s body positive representation was kept.


Naomi has her own Scooby Gang to help in her investigations

The bad part about the Naomi pilot episode following the comic plot so closely is that as in most early phases of a mystery, the story is all set-up and exposition, and not much happens. The only unusual things are the headaches/blackouts that Naomi suffers– something that didn’t happen in the comic–and the reveal in the final scene. A least in the comic, we had Jamal Campbell’s dynamic art to make even the most mundane scenes seem interesting. Not so much on tv, which is a shame, considering what a Big Deal it was for respected movie director Ava DuVernay to create and take on this series. I expected more than what I saw.

We learn very little about Naomi in this unexciting pilot episode; not nearly enough to intrigue the viewers who may not have read the Naomi comic to return for the next episodes. Here’s hoping they stick around long enough to see the end of the mystery, and that it’s worth their time.

Watch Naomi, airing Thursdays on The CW, and streaming the next day on cwtv.com


RECOMMENDED READING:

Naomi (2019)


 



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