Television Review: Supergirl: Pilot

Melissa Benoist Supergirl 1Coming this fall to CBS is Supergirl, based on the classic DC Comics character. Starring Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers/Supergirl, the series is an empowering fresh take on the superhero genre, and it also so happens to star a female lead, something that’s been lacking from the television comic adaptations other than DC’s iZombie.

I’ll just straight up say, I loved the pilot. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had when it comes to a live adaptation of a comic character since The Flash reboot.

The show quickly takes us through Kara’s trip to Earth, even getting the elephant in the room out of the way, how it compares to her cousin Superman. The age issues are dispelled really easily, and the show moves on.

The first episode plays out like a pretty standard origin tale, but it all feels natural and progresses nicely. That’s partially due to Benoist’s take that makes her a more socially awkward character than her cousin. She plays it off really well, especially when she meets a familiar face, Jimmy Olsen called James Olsen here. Played by Mehcad Brooks, I’m sure too many folks will be focused on the fact the character’s race has been switched from the traditional comics. The use of the character is important as it gives us a known quantity to help guide Kara in her adventures. When you see the first episode, it all makes sense as to why he’s there.

But Olsen isn’t the only familiar face to pop up. Kara’s boss is Cat Grant played by Calista Flockhart. But, there’s even more for the geeks. Hank Henshaw is a part of the show, he too race switched but you don’t hear people complaining about that (a post for another time), but even more fun Dean Cain and Helen Slater play Kara’s parents. Cain played Superman in Lois & Clark, while Slater played Supergirl in the movie adaptation.

The first episode beyond exceeded my expectations, giving us a show that takes on misogyny in superhero comics in a cheeky way, and gives women a hero to really enjoy and look up to. The episode exudes positivity, and left me wanting more immediately. It was the one television show I was most nervous about, but after this first episode has me wanting to see more, and if it’s consistent it could be one of my favorites on television right now (currently The Walking Dead and The Flash).

This show might seem like it’s about girl power, but in reality, it’s fun for everyone. It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s not a man. It’s Supergirl.

Overall rating: 9

5 comments

  • Great to hear sir! Good stuff!

  • Ok, I’ll admit that I got a sneak preview of the pilot and loved it as well. As a comic book artist and writer I must agree that the handling of the characters reminded me of the treatment done by the creators of the new Flash series (no coincidence since they are one and the same). Although I find it strange that CBS picked it up (not what I would call their wheelhouse demographically), I hope that audiences love it as much as I did. The cast seem to work well together.

  • Even though I’m glad we’re seeing more female superheroes on the small and big screen, I’m not convinced by Supergirl. I haven’t seen the pilot, and I don’t want to pre-judge, but it looks like it might come off as slightly cheesy or sentimental. I’ve always found Superman and Supergirl slightly too clean cut for my tastes anyway, and the trailers don’t fill me with any sort of confidence that they’ve created a more tangible and complex character in Supergirl. It looks like it would appeal to a younger audience, and perhaps that’s what they’re going for, but I don’t think they’ve created anything groundbreaking here. Still, it’s great that she’s landed her own show, we need more female heroes. I hope I’m wrong, and from your review it looks like I may be, fingers crossed that I stand corrected when the pilot airs.

    • The pilot for me is what I expected, and what I had hoped for. Can’t judge a show by one episode, but the first is a good sign.