It’s no surprise that CBS just didn't know what to make of the superhero genre. It had a chance in the 90s to break the mold of primetime television and introduced into its mainstream line-up The Flash which starred John Wesley Shipp. Following the theatrical blockbuster Batman in tone and texture, the series would only last a single season, but it left an indelible impact on its audience. Cut to a generation later and The Flash returned, spinning out of the Arrow on The CW it reignited an entirely new fandom and fascination with the superhero genre.
CBS wanted to get in on the action and requested that the production team that created both Arrow and The Flash give them their own DC Comics adaptation for primetime. That series was Supergirl which borrowed heavily from the standard set by The Flash including a lead actor, Melissa Benoist, that won an audience appearing on the FOX musical comedy Glee. The rest — as they say — is history, and in this case — history repeating itself. It appeared that CBS truly didn't know what to make of the series (befuddled perhaps by the genre) and cast it off.
Cast off after one season, just like it had The Flash in 1990, CBS released Supergirl from the confines of mainstream network television and give the series a new home. In a move that surprised no one, the series was added onto the already DC Comics heavy-ladened line-up on The CW, back on its regular Monday night time slot (competing against another DC Comics television series FOX’s Gotham) — and the fit couldn’t be any more perfect!
The series production itself has also been moved to Vancouver, shooting on the same sound stages as the rest of the DC TV shows produced by Greg Berlanti and his production team. It all makes perfect sense and it shows! The premiere episode of Supergirl even takes its title from the successful relaunch of the comic from the The episode entitled “The Adventures of Supergirl” even goes the distance to expand the universe of Kara Zor-El by teaming her up with her famous cousin Superman/Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) for the first time!
Having successfully navigated the curve of embracing her super powers, Kara now struggles to balance her life as both National City’s defender Supergirl, and her earthly alter-ego Kara Danvers. With the help of her famous red caped cousin who flies in just in time to help land a space plane with engine trouble, the two uncover a dangerous plot to kill Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) Lex Luthor’s adopted sister who is now running the company while Lex rots in prison. The mastermind has unleashed the mercenary John Corben (guest star Frederick Schmidt) to do his dirty work.
Meanwhile the D.E.O. has another mystery on their hands when a Kryptonian space craft crashes in National City and a young man (Chris Wood) from Krypton is found unconscious inside!
This first episode truly re-inaugurates the entire season! Almost immediately the tone feels very different, and although the series has ditched its LA sets for Vancouver, it still has a vibrancy that sets it uniquely and wonderfully alongside the rest of The CW/DC TV line-up. With a teleplay by Jessica Queller and directed by Glen Winter (who also worked on Smallville) this first episode of Supergirl feels like a brand new show — perhaps the show that fans were waiting for all along. Benoist is far more comfortable in her characters skin and skin-tight suit, but the heart of her hero is the most powerful aspect that shines right through.
When it was announced that Berlanti Productions had been commissioned to produce another superhero series based on a DC Comics character for CBS, Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg has said they never flinched! Everyone agreed that the time had come for a female character to move into the lead — that heroine would be “Supergirl”. The cousin of arguably the most famous hero in the world is a genuine favorite among fans, and has been for a long time, and especially after the Silver Age version of the character sacrifices herself to save the multiverse during the epic Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Supergirl appeared as a supporting character on the highly successful television series Smallville which chronicled the ascension of Clark Kent into the Man of Steel. The resonance and appeal of the Last of Daughter of Krypton has always been apparent. Supergirl the series premiered to great anticipation on CBS and mirrored the adoration that comic book fans always had for the Girl of Steel. The creatives behind the show kept faith to the style of storytelling established with its CW counterparts and chronicled adventures taken right from the comic books.
Perhaps that’s why the action adventure series didn’t rate very high with the CBS audience which is married to its CSI investigations and court room style dramas. Now that Supergirl has landed on The CW and aligns with a weeklong of primetime leads based on the DC Comics heroes the show feels revitalized — showing its true muscle! Immediately the show runners went to work on one of the most spectacular stunts to open the new season: the return to television of Kara’s famous cousin Superman!
Proving once and for all the the cinematic and television properties are their own entities, and that there’s more than enough room in this multiverse for everybody. Adding Tyler Hoechlin to the guest star line-up as the Man of Steel was an exceptional; one that paid off as brilliantly as the crossover episode from Season One that brought Grant Gustin over into National City as his CW counterpart The Flash! Supergirl is such a huge part of a great comic book legacy, it should be no surprise to the viewer that attention is being paid to keeping the show as connected to the source as possible — and it’s paying off!
The supporting cast are also very much more relaxed into this new world. Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) is now working full-time at the D.E.O. alongside Kara’s sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) under the tutelage of J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood) protecting the planet from foreign incursions on all fronts. We learn right away that Superman and J’onn have met before, and have a tenuous relationship especially because the organization harbors the very element that can stop both Superman and Supergirl in their tracks, but they are able to work side by side for the greater good, and what’s that — an hour of super powered action!
Supergirl is right where she is supposed to be and we now believe that this girl can fly!