With three episodes down, Naomi has made its mark on the landscape of The CW. Joining the likes of Batwoman, Legends of Tomorrow, Stargirl, and The Flash , the series has a lot to live up to and a lot to do better than, but it has managed to carve out a space for itself that will hopefully lead to it becoming a permanent fixture in the DCTV lineup.
Based on the Naomi comic that was published by DC Comics in 2019, the show follows Naomi McDuffie (Kaci Walfall) as she uncovers the mysterious circumstances surrounding her adoption following a supernatural event happening in her town. While there are some key differences in the television adaptation of the comic, none of the changes have been detrimental so far, and will likely serve the series well due to the minimal amount of source material surrounding Naomi’s character.
Naomi is easy proof that superhero narratives thrive when the person getting powers is already in the middle of their own coming of age story. Not only do stories like this work well as parallels to the trials of teenagedom and trying to figure out who you are, but simply going to school with all of the other characters that matter in the story makes everything so much more connected plot-wise and in their development, because they all actually see each other every day.
Naomi herself is a refreshing protagonist in this environment as well. Not only is it wonderful to see another black teenage girl be a superhero protagonist, she’s not a social outcast, either. In fact, she’s the cool, popular girl who everyone loves, as is clearly established in the pilot, and (so far) her gaining powers hasn’t taken this status away from her. Just like in the comics, Naomi’s best friend Annabelle (Mary-Charles Jones) is nothing but supportive of her while she tries to figure out what’s going on, and that is expanded out to the rest of Naomi’s friend group. Her classmates Lourdes (Camila Moreno), Anthony (Will Meyers), and Nathan (Daniel Puig) have all joined her for her late-night break-ins to try and find information about her past, and Annabelle even drags her boyfriend Jacob (Aiden Gemme) with them, too.
The large support system that Naomi has is really nice to see—even if over half of it is made up of potential love interests. That works, however, because so far Anthony, Nathan, and Lourdes haven’t held the fact that they’re into her over Naomi’s head, and whatever romantic subplot the show will choose to go down isn’t being made overly important to the main storyline. That could always change, of course, but at least for now the drama is more focused on who in the town knows who and what Naomi really is and who doesn’t.
The major story changes surrounding Zumbado seem to be working in Naomi’s favor as well. While he doesn’t appear until the final two issues of the comic, he’s already present in the town of Port Oswego in the show’s pilot, and it seems like they may try to tie his backstory closer to Naomi than it is in the comics. There is also the change to Naomi being set in a world without superheroes. With the multiverse being integral to her origin story in the comics, it makes sense that Naomi is set in a universe separate from the already established DCTV shows. Is the very-much-real Superman we see in Naomi the same Superman we know from Superman and Lois? Is he someone else we’ve seen before? Or is he completely different? Fortunately for Naomi, there are plenty of viable explanations.
Overall, the start of Naomi was a joy to experience, and we can only hope that there is more good to come from the series. Kaci Walfall shines as the titular character, and regardless of how the superhero aspect of Naomi’s story plays out, the show is strongest when focused on her relationships with her friends. As long as the interpersonal relationships between these characters continue to receive solid storytelling, Naomi will continue to thrive.
Naomi airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
Kathryn Porter is the TV Intern for Paste Magazine. You can find her @kaechops on Twitter
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