On Monday night, CBS finally debuted the pilot of their new (and first) comic franchise Supergirl. After having some success with their joint venture with Warner Bros. on the CW with Arrow and The Flash. Even though many people saw it on Monday night, many people saw it online when it was leaked just before the San Diego Comic-Con back in July. Judging by the rating, it seemed that a lot of people tuned in to see how a Supergirl series would do without mentioning her cousin.
The trailers for the series managed to give everyone the feeling that it was more of a romantic-comedy than a super hero series. Given that it is CBS, they most likely wanted to peak people’s interest as it being a new take on a major network to use a DC property. You can never judge a series by its pilot and I will not make a “love it or hate it” review based on a pilot.
Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, who are the driving forces behind Arrow and The Flash, have their methodology of storytelling from their previous two series on this one, as well. We can see that from the opening voiceover, which talks about how Kara came to Earth and her mission. This is the same hook that is used for the other CW series. Along on this ride is Ali Adler, who is responsible for series like Glee and Chuck.
Obviously, the story focuses on Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) and her struggle to be a human on this planet as her original mission to guard Kal-El fumbled. Unlike Arrow, we are not bogged down with the original two story episodes. Usually, we have to deal with the present storyline and the flashback of their experiences to the future. Flash seemed to have done away with that method in its second season and there does not seem to be a sign of it in Supergirl.
Kara struggles to be who she is but her sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), wants her to be safe and stay normal. Like in the other two incarnations, we have a Team Supergirl coming up with the addition of James Olson (Mehcad Brooks) and Winn Scott (Jeremy Jordan). The addition of James Olson seems a bit of a reach for the storyline just to bring someone from the “cousin” universe into the fold since they are not allowed to bring Superman into the TV universe.
Similar to The Flash storylines, we are forced to focus on the personal relationship rather than the villain of the week. It is a minor tweaking of the traditional formula and works well on the other series. However, The Flash suffers from this issue given that the villain storyline is rushed and seems a bit week which you could see in the second season premiere. Beast, which could have played a good piece in setting up our hero, was wasted as a bad villain in a couple of key scenes which reminded me of the lackluster premiere of The Flash and Arrow.
Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) is very one dimensional character. She has a long way to go to become the Perry White of the series but her speech about what is wrong calling her “Supergirl” was a classy one. There were a few moments in the pilot that felt like lifts or homages to the original Superman movie. The speech using a high frequency and someone doing a bad Gene Hackman impression.
The series itself has some potential but they will have to work it out in the process. Arrow was not a smooth show from the start, but The Flash seemed to have a personality of its own. A stark contrast to its darker counterpart. However, I don’t know how much longer I can take the phases “your cousin” or “him”. You need to either mention his name or stop mentioning him completely. Also, they need to show more of her parents. The original Supergirl and the last TV Superman was a nice touch. I will watch next week and see where it goes from there.