TV Review: CBS’ Supergirl Is Ready To Fly

Here’s the true test of CBS’ new fall superhero series, Supergirl: after watching the pilot, my thirteen year old daughter was hooked.

When it comes to our superhero entertainment, lately the atmosphere and casts are overcrowded with broody men and their issues. Not that that doesn’t work, but far and few between do we get a female character’s point of view and domination of the screen. Enter Melissa Benoist and Supergirl.

Benoist comes out strong and swinging in the Supergirl pilot, not just giving us her strength, but also supplying a warm, human side (for an alien). Supergirl is Kara Zor-El, another refugee from the dying Krypton, sent to Earth to assist her cousin Kal-El. Along the way her ship was sidetracked, sucked into the Phantom Zone, delaying her arrival and supplying series with antagonists galore. As Kara grows up with her adoptive parents, familiar faces to Supes fans, she learns to hide her powers.

All grown up now, Kara is stuck in a job going nowhere, an assistant to Cat Grant, Calista Flockhart channelling Streep’s The Devil Wears Prada mogul. She cannot see that her office buddy Winslow is on love with her and she seems smitten with the gorgeous new hire, James Olsen. It’s a lot to take in and this is only halfway through all the pilot drops in our laps.

The pilot drops all the familiar origin story tropes, which is fine because it’s familiar. Kara must reveal her powers early on to save someone important, and that reveal catches the eye of both a secret government agency and a super-enemy. All these elements make the pilot feel a bit rushed, as if the storytelling is running on superhuman speed.

Still, it’s Ms. Benoist whom the series will rest on, whether that is fair or not. And she is more than up to the task. Her performance strikes just the right chord between sweet/cute and tough hero. She’s learning to walk in her own shoes and we can see the thrills and concern that this new life brings to the character. Again, it’s just so exciting to see some fun in these types of stories again.

With all the exposition elements stuffed into the pilot, I think we can expect more of the same focus and drive we’ve come to expect from show creators Greg Berlanti, Ali Alder, and Andrew Kreisberg. I know I’m ready to watch this Supergirl soar.

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