CBS is jumping into the superhero TV game with Supergirl, based on the DC Comics character and from the same production team behind The CW’s hits Arrow and The Flash. At New York Comic Con, series executive producer Ali Adler spoke with LA Fan Cultures Examiner about having a show centered around a powerful woman – and if the show can also attract a sizeable male audience.
“I think we’re so inspired by things by things like Buffy and [Alias character] Sydney Bristow,” she explained, “and that was a while ago. Now we have not really superheroes, but we have a tremendous volume of powerful women, and I think women are just agreeing to not be quietly powerful anymore. So it’s perfect timing that she, Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, is here to put on a cape and show us all how it’s done.”
“I think there’s no shortage of powerful women on this show,” she continued. “Whether it’s the titan of media known as Cat Grant or her mother, her aunt, but I also think there’s no lack of powerful men too. What’s exciting for us with James Olsen, for example, is she really inspires her, but she also inspires him.”
Which brings the discussion to the big question. Not only is Supergirl a show with a strong female lead (literally), but its girl-power promos have left some critics wondering if this is a series that men might not tune into. Ali addressed that concern, saying, “I think that this is a powerful person and she can fight and fly and has the exact same powers as Superman…and it doesn’t really matter that she’s female.
“So it’s coincidental that she’s in a skirt,” she added. “It’s cool that she is.”
That gender discussion has extended to the promotional effort put forward by the network and the studio, which Ali praised for not putting restrictions on what the new Supergirl should or shouldn’t be.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this publicity campaign that CBS has done,” she told us. “You see a hero on a billboard or in the sky or in a banner or across my iPad, whatever it is and this powerful person with her fist outstretched – there’s nothing that objectifies her, there’s nothing that says she has to look a certain way.
“No one in the history of this casting process has ever given a note about how how someone looks and I’m so proud of Warner Brothers and CBS, it’s just powerful women and men and we’re just so excited that she gets to stand, flying with her cape blowing in the breeze.”
Supergirl premieres tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.