With the debut of Supergirl, CBS becomes the last of the broadcast networks to fly its own superhero show. It’s a strange fit since the story of a strong young woman seems to be a better match with CBS’s little sister network, The CW, but CBS needed a little super on the schedule to help freshen up its demographic. I went to a screening of the premiere episode which has the making of a fun show, if the storytelling doesn’t get in the way.
The premiere begins with an abbreviated origin story for Kara Zor-El, branching off of the Man of Steel movie (if the visuals of Krypton are any indication). She’s cousin to the man we know as Superman, even if they avoid calling him by name as much as possible. (He’s referred to as her cousin, the big blue guy, etc). Her parents want to send her to Earth to watch over the young boy, but her journey through space gets tangled up and she lands on Earth after he does. Since he doesn’t need her help, she’s free to have her own journey.
Similar to the guy in the cape, she grows up in the country (love the actors playing her parents!) and then heads to the big city to work at a newspaper. She has a great relationship with her adopted sister Alex (Chyler Leigh), but she’s kept her super talent under wraps even as she sees her coz come out to the world.
From the creators of Arrow and The Flash, the tone is closer to The Flash where there is joy and fun in being a superhero. Superpowers are not the burden that it is in Arrow nor does the show we have the dour tone of Man of Steel.
Melissa Benoist is great as Supergirl with enough spunk and earnestness to have fun with the role and charm audiences. Likewise, Calista Flockhart is fun as her boss at the newspaper. It’s nice that the female characters are nicely drawn in the first episode.
The second half of the premiere is problematic with several characters flip flopping each commercial break. [SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT] She should reveal herself to the world! No, she shouldn’t! She’s not strong enough to do this! Yes she is! Maybe the pilot was originally supposed to be two hours instead of one which would allow for more explanation of the switches. (Or why she suddenly reveals her super powers to a certain person for no reason.)
As the show stands, my head was spinning with some of the switches. I’m hoping it really is a time issue and not a sign of inconsistent story telling. The rest of the ensemble seems fine, but it’ll take more time to really see Mehcad Brooks, Jeremy Jordan and Peter Facinelli in action to see how their characters fare.
This is a promising start so let’s hope that future episodes have more consistency with the characters or it’s a deal breaker for me.
Supergirl premieres on CBS tonight at 8:30 pm/7:30 C, right after The Big Bang Theory.
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