It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a hit!! The much ballyhooed pilot of SUPERGIRL exceeds expectations during its premiere.
For those unfamiliar with the SUPERGIRL canon, fear not. This is not about a superhero who is a woman. It is about a woman who just happens to be a superhero.
Fans and not-yet-fans will be able to connect and invest emotionally, even if they never have read a comic book. For those not familiar with the backstory, it is explained fully tonight so everyone will be up-to-speed without having to browse the graphic novel store.
Below are a few things that viewers may already know about SUPERGIRL and here are few burning questions about what may be on the horizon.
When her baby cousin Kal-El, aka Superman, was sent to Earth to save him from his exploding home planet of Krypton, his 12-year-old cousin, Kara Zor-El was sent to keep him safe.
Her spaceship was thrown off-course by the planet’s explosion and hurled into the Phantom Zone where Kara remained asleep while her cousin grew up on Earth. When the spacecraft was dislodged from the Phantom Zone and finally made its way to Earth, 12-year-old Kara was placed in an adoptive home by Superman.
If all of this sounds a bit sci-fi, worry not. Kara has a “normal life” with which all viewers can identify. She has a great family here on Earth…foster parents, Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers and their daughter, Alex, who watch over Kara and help her assimilate as a “regular person” on her new planet.
In a nice hat-tip to previous forays into the genre, the producers cast Dean Cain (Clark Kent/Superman of LOIS AND CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN) and Helen Slater (the 1984 feature film, SUPERGIRL) as the Danvers parents. Series regular, Chyler Leigh of GREY’S ANATOMY plays Alex, and Malina Weissman plays 12-year-old Kara.
For 24-year-old Kara (played winningly by GLEE’s Melissa Benoist), a “normal life” consists of what most people live. She has failed dates, wardrobe issues and sibling rivalry, just like everyone else.
And even a superhero has problems at work. As the put-upon assistant to media mogul, Cat Grant, head of CatCo Worldwide Media, Kara gets the brunt of insults and grunt work.
Played to the hilt by Calista Flockhart (ALLY MCBEAL), Cat Grant is everyone’s nightmare boss in Devil-Wears-Prada style.
Also working at CatCo are IT guy/online writer, Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan, SMASH) and a very-grown-up, Jimmy Olsen, now “James Olsen,” whom CatCo has hired away from the Daily Planet. Played with maximum charisma by Mehcad Brooks of NECESSARY ROUGHNESS, these two charmers may be vying for Kara’s affections.
Protecting National City may not be easy for the newbie superhero. Besides the usual string of crimes and disasters, there is a cadre of supervillains on scene to make SUPERGIRL’s reveal to the world dangerous to Kara and her loved ones.
An unrecognizable Owain Yeoman (CBI Agent Wayne Rigsby from THE MENTALIST) plays Vartox, a killer who also made his way to Earth from Krypton, and he is not the only Kryptonian criminal in the mix.
Also not exactly on Kara’s side is Hank Henshaw (David Harewood, HOMELAND) who runs an agency dedicated to the containment of alien beings. But the real family drama comes when Kara finds out that her adoptive sister, Alex, works for Henshaw.
The family drama does not stop there. Not only is NASHVILLE’s Laura Benanti billed as Kara’s birth mother, Alura Zor-El, she also is listed as playing characters, “Astra” and “General,” implying that more machinations from the House of El loom as a dangerous question mark.
Guest stars on SUPERGIRL tonight are Derek Mio, Ben Begley, Faran Tahir, Jordan Mazarati, Rick Garcia, Leyna Nguyen, Robert Gant, Paul Stuart, Nick Jaine, Sheila Collins, Chriss Anglin, Kinna Mcinroe, Briana Venskus, Julien Yuen, Zayne Emory, Mackenzie Brooke Smith, Jaidan Jiron and Tara Macken.
Written by Executive Producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg (ARROW and THE FLASH) and Ali Adler (GLEE), tonight’s pilot episode was directed by Glen Winter (THE FLASH, ARROW, SMALLVILLE).
SUPERGIRL debuts tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT after THE BIG BANG THEORY before moving to its regular timeslot of 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 2 on CBS.