Thursday, June 4, 2015

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! No, Wait! It's a... Blonde Lady in a Business Suit?

Since the success of the CW's Smallville (2001-2011), the idea of placing a big hero on the smaller screen has grown in popularity over the past few years. DC and Marvel both have a number of shows to capture their fans. For DC, The CW's Arrow and The Flash have rocked the TV world with the intense story arcs, familiar characters, and the ability to provide more back story, more insight, and a wider range of other characters to the live-action comic book world. TV shows provide a larger scope to bring the beloved comic books to life. DC Comics has knocked it out of the park with their various shows, spanning multiple TV networks.

However, what they lack is a lead female superhero (unlike Marvel who has both Agent Carter and a number of lead females on Agents of Shield). Until now...

Introducing, Kara Zor-El, or better known as SUPERGIRL.

Who Is Supergirl?
Supergirl is the alias of a number of superheroes who have taken up the mantle to be Superman's female counterpart. Most often, it refers to Kara Zor-El, the cousin of Superman. She--like Superman--possesses a wide range of superpowers and a weakness to Kryptonite.
She was first introduced in 1959 but didn't get her own comic book until 1972. However, her initial appearance had  a tremendous positive response.
In 1985, she was initially killed off and Superman was rebooted as the only survivor of Krytpon. This opened up the opportunity for other female characters to take up the mantle of Supergirl.
Today, Kara stars as Supergirl once more in her own comic series as well as a supporting character in other comics.

Previously, Kara appeared in a live-action film from 1984 called (you guessed it): Supergirl. This film was an obvious spin-off of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. In season seven of Smallville, Kara makes her debut (played by Laura Vandervoot). In the show, she's Clark's cousin, but the same age as him now because her ship was trapped beneath a dam, which left her in a state of stasis. Supergirl has also appeared in a number of animated shows and movies. Now CBS has picked up Supergirl to air this fall.

The CBS Show

The Premise:
Twelve years ago, Kara Zor-El left Krypton to follow her baby cousin, Kal-El (aka Clark Kent/Superman) to Earth in order to escape Krypton's destruction. Now, age twenty-four, Kara lives a pretty normal life as an assistant to a powerful media presence, Cat Grant. Until a disaster provokes her to use her powers, which exposes her to the world. Now, she must learn to embrace her previously hidden powers--as she was taught by her adopted parents, the Danvers--and become a hero to the world.

The Cast:
Melissa Benoist plays Supergirl aka Kara Zor-El aka Kara Danvers (a direct reference to the character of Linda Danvers who was Supergirl in the comics for a time). Since the show is expected to reveal parts of Kara's journey from Krypton to Earth as well as her growing up with the Danvers, actress Malina Weissman will portray the younger Kara.

Mehcad Brooks is Jimmy Olsen--yes, the one and only, photographer of the Daily Planet. Also the person who took the first real photo of Superman, as well as someone who might be friends with Superman himself. He now works as the new art director for Cat Grant (Kara's boss). Supposedly, he might be a love interest for Kara.

Calista Flockhart plays Cat Grant, Kara's boss and founder of a media conglomerate, CatCo.

David Harewwood plays Hank Henshaw, a CIA agent tasked with dealing with Extra Normal Operations (aka the DC version of SHIELD?)

Chyler Leigh plays  Alex Danvers, Kara's adopted sister.

And many more: the cast list goes on with recurring and guests, but these are the main ones. The Danvers, Syvia and Fred, are played by Helen Slater and Dean Cain. Slater portrayed Supergirl in the 1984 film and Cain was Superman in the Lois and Clark: The New Adventures (this is so exciting. Crossing my fingers for more cool cameos like this).

The Promo
Three weeks ago, CBS released a six minute long promo "first look" at the show. I watched, both anxious and excited. I loved Smallville, I love Arrow and The Flash, but would another DC super hero show on a different network live up to my expectations, especially when it involves a close connection to my favorite DC hero, Superman?

Well, it did. Actually, it far exceeded my expectations and by the end of those six minutes, I wanted to grab a cape and try to fly myself.

Watch below, and then continue reading as I highlight aspects of the promo and give my hopes for what this show will do to not only change the comic book world but superheroes for TV!

The Highlights

-We get to see Krypton. While every Superman-related movie or show is bound to reveal something of the super hero's home world, this is centered around a different scene than we're used to seeing: Kara's home, parents, and why she is sent to Earth. She's not a baby when she leaves. She's twelve years old, she can remember life on Krypton; she has to say goodbye and leave everything behind. This will definitely add a different dimension to her character and back story I'm excited to see unfold.

-Superman isn't forgotten. For some reason, I feared this show would lose the idea of Superman being out in the world as a hero. I thought the story line would change or they would do the Superman part in a very trite way. But he's involved--maybe only a little--in Kara becoming a hero. And that's exciting. While I don't imagine he'll show up (though I am crossing my fingers for maybe a cameo at some point), his presence is there and it's shaped the world Kara lives in. (Though, if he does get a cameo they should totally see if Tom Welling is available, whether it's supposed to be set in the same universe as Smaville or not.)
-We get her back story, her life from Krypton to Earth, her growing up with the Danvers--being adopted and learning about her powers--which means we get flashbacks!

-Kara is a clumsy, smart relatable girl who wears glasses when she obviously doesn't need them (as seen from her walk to work, her response to the news brief on her saving the plane, how she reveals her abilities to Winn, how she acts when the bullets don't hurt her, etc.) I think I'm definitely going to like her character. :)
-Winslow "Winn" Schott. Yes. Him. The cute, dark haired guy who tries to go to a movie with Kara and helps her design her costume (after she reveals her abilities by jumping off the building). He's adorable and I already ship them so much. (so cute) Plus, he has the same name as the comic character Toyman. Now, Toyman is a villain, but since this is an all new show, it could mean anything. Fingers crossed that my potential favorite character does not turn evil (or he does in a very awesome story arc).

-James Olsen. I'm super pumped for his character and the obvious change in race for his character. He seems like he's going to be a cool guy, plus he's connected to Superman--hopefully more than just his personal photographer. Until I read the character descriptions on wikipedia, I thought he'd make a good mentor-type character for Kara. Unfortunately, he's pegged as possible love interest material for her instead. I feel very conflicted.
-Alex Danvers. Kara has a sister. Adopted, sure. But still!!! There will be, from the looks of it, a strong sister relationship in this show (*jumps up and down*). Plus, Kara reveals herself and tests out her flying ability in order to save her sister (I get chills every time I watch that part of the promo). Her sister is definitely going to be a pivotal point of this show, and I'm psyched to see their dynamics.
-Kara can fly. We won't get the agonizingly long wait to watch this super heroine fly. She's flying, she's running, she's dodging bullets and kicking butts all at once. The action, special effects, and exciting thrills are definitely high quality for the show. Finally.

-Explaining "Girl." I wondered how they would go about making Supergirl work without getting people angry. How they revealed it in the promo was absolutely p e r f e c t. It doesn't diminish twenty-four year old Kara as a person nor does it poke fun at the original comic book name. It balances it, which brings a whole new connotation to "girl."
-The evolution of her super suit. I loved the nod to the various suits Kara has been dressed in over the years through comics and live-action depictions that was included in the promo. I love how it changes based on her time in the field, adapting it to suit (no pun intended) her better. And Winn (he's soooo adorable) helping her with it (*sigh*). Plus, I like the final look. It embodies the recognizable "Supergirl" image without being too revealing or sexualized. She's definitely wearing a suit younger girls could mimic. How she gets her cape is a personal favorite reference.

-Aliens, meta-humans, the DEO (Department of Extra-Normal Operations): This promises a good story arc and plenty of exciting baddies for Kara to fight.

High Hopes
-Lots of Superman references. Obviously, Supergirl can't be separated from her cousin when she lives in a world where he's already an established hero. But they can do a lot with this, which makes this Superman girl happy. Plus, they need to explain how she's younger than him since she was twelve when she left Krypton. Unless Clark is only a twelve year-old boy himself, they've got something good cooked up. If they're smart like Marvel, they could connect Supergirl to the Man of Steel movies--or at least establish it's the same universe. Her suit looks pretty similar to Henry Cavill's suit in the movies. (A girl can dream, right?)
-Strong sister relationships. I can definitely see the bond Kara and Alex share. I've compared their relationship with my own sister relationship. I would hope to be as brave as Kara to save my sister from a disaster. I hope this show will reveal the strength of a sister bond, especially in a positive light. More heroes need good siblings to support them.
-Good special effects. Originally, the writers/producers wanted to add this show to the growing list of CW super hero shows, but they soon realized the CW didn't have the budget to create what they were imagining. They needed a bigger network to do all they were planning. Thus, CBS was given the go for Supergirl. I hope it was worth it.

-Just like Arrow and The Flash, this show will provide a lot of opportunities to bring in other characters, villains, and plots from the comics we don't get to see in the big movies. There's a lot of material they can work with. They've got James Olsen and Winn Schott, but might we see Lois Lane? Hear about Lex Luthor running for president? There's so many possibilities for references, cameos, and introductions of familiar and new characters.
-Strong female lead. This show has so much potential to create a solid, strong female character that girls, ladies, fangirls, women of all ages can look up to and admire. There's certainly a lack of female heroes across all live-action portrays; this show has the potential to change that. If this show is successful, maybe more will join Supergirl. You're looking at potential shows of Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, maybe even Black Canary. Or perhaps, a combined female show. Now that would be wild.

-Potential crossover. The writers/producers of Supergirl are the same (or mostly the same) as Arrow and The Flash. They've discussed and are open to the possibility of doing not only series crossovers but network crossovers. It might not happen right away, as the CBS people have stated they'd like to keep Supergirl to themselves for a while, but it could happen someday. As far as I know, they plan to set it in the same universe or at least in a way that could be explained that way (wondering how a network crossover could happen? The executive producer of Supergirl also produces Arrow and The Flash and the CW is co-owned by CBS. I see great potential for a crossover).

Supergirl airs this fall on CBS, promising fun, humor, and kick-butt action. Ladies, Fangirls, this show is for you.

What do you think of the Supergirl promo? Are you going to watch the show this fall?

1 comment:

  1. I'm insanely grateful for this post. I haven't seen the promo yet, but now I'm off to check it out. I've definitely got some high hopes for this show now--hopefully it pays off and the network gives the show enough time to breathe and develop and really come into its own. It looks like it has loads of potential.