As comic book TV shows have spread throughout just about every television network that there is, the variety and stylings of each has grown as well. Just look the DC comic branded shows for an example: The Flash is fairly appropriate for all ages, Gotham is NOT and Arrow lies somewhere in between. CBS’s new entry into the genre lies closest to The Flash, which is good news for parents of little girls who have been pining for a show just for them.
Supergirl is pretty much what you would think it is: a female version of Superman. The backstory is that Kara Zor-El is Superman’s older cousin who was sent from her planet Krypton to look after the infant. However, because of some sort sci fi mumbo jumbo, Kara got stuck in time and didn’t arrive on Earth until many years later where she is now actually younger than Clark Kent.
The show follows a similar look to the Man of Steel movie and Superman makes a brief appearance in the beginning of the show, but we never get a good look at his face. Unlike the movie though, the backstory is told in about three minutes and the tone is much lighter. Kara (Melissa Benoist) is delightfully refreshing as the would-be superhero who at the age of 24 decides that it is time to stop hiding and use her powers for good. She’s good, innocent and is easily offended being called a “girl” instead of a woman, a point that is squashed pretty quick by her boss, Cat Grant. But I am getting ahead of myself.
In so many ways, Supergirl is just a carbon copy of her cousin’s story changing out National City for Metropolis. Like Clark, Kara was raised by the Danver family out in the boonies. As an adult, she too works in the publishing field, wears glasses and works for a taskmaster. (Calista Flockhart may seem like an unlikely choice for the Devil Wears Prada-like boss, Cat Grant, but she is perfect for the role and it is great to see her on TV once again.)
Now, here is where the show veers off from the movie: Kara’s new co-worker is Jimmy “James” Olsen who Grant hired from The Daily Planet. If you remember from the movie, there was no Jimmy Olsen, but there was a Jenny Olsen. Jenny did not Clark’s secret identity, but in this universe, James does. He’s not the only either. There is Kara’s adopted sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), her parents (whom we only meet briefly in the pilot), Winn Schott, (her IT co-worker who has a crush on her) and others. This is much different from any other version of the Superman story.
Is Supergirl worth watching? While you may not go out of your way to see it, the show (at least the pilot anyway) is perfect family fare which is so rare these days and may be worth supporting for that reason alone. Supergirl is and should continue to be a good role model for both boys and girls. The show isn’t all “girl power” of “anything you can do, I can do better” either, which is nice. However, the show is lopsided with female characters.
The story isn’t too complex and unlike the Man of Steel movie, everyone appears to be having fun. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously. The show is a good one, but I’m getting a little worn out of the superhero genre. It’s hard to create a show that is faithful to the story’s origins and yet has its own personality as well.
Finally, the pilot features a fun cameo (blink and you’ll miss it) by Dean Cain who also sported the blue suit in the former TV show, Lois and Clark. It is not clear if he will be featured in future episodes, but he would be a welcomed addition.
Tonight Supergirl airs at 8:30 p.m. but from here on out it will air on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.