Supergirl Series Premiere is Set to Take Off

Stronger Together CBS Melissa Benoist Supergirl Review

Supergirl Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot” Review (Minor Spoilers)

Supergirl series premiere packs an action filled, light-hearted punch into TV’s superhero landscape. The team behind Supergirl borrows much of the bright, breezy formula which makes The Flash a runaway hit.

As polished as the pilot episode is, it’s going to take a few more episodes to see if the writers can work out some of the kinks which is holding back Supergirl from truly taking off as a must see superhero TV show.

There’s an off-screen presence which looms over the pilot: namely Superman. In this version of Supergirl’s origin story, Kara Zor-El is thirteen years old when she is sent to Earth to look after her baby cousin. Due to an accident, by the time Kara’s pod arrives on Earth, Clark Kent has already grown up and become Superman.

A major challenge that the pilot acknowledges is that Kara’s story is tied into Superman’s mythology but Supergirl as both a character and a show must be able to stand on its own feet.

The reality of airing on a major TV network is that Supergirl’s origin story is retooled to appeal to a wide demographic.  Kara is not human but her struggle to be her true self and finding her mission in life is readily relateable.

On one hand, it could have been a fun approach to have a fish out of water story, where we see our humanity through Kara’s unique alien point of view. But that version of Kara could be challenging for some audiences to identify with, so instead she’s very much human, raised by an adoptive Earth family since the time her pod crashed down.

melissa benoist as supergirl-cbs TV

One of the strongest elements is lead actress Melissa Benoist, she is excellent as Kara aka Supergirl. It may be a bit too much for some viewers, but Kara has a cute, bubbly geek vibe going on. 

It’s understandable that since Kara has been hiding her powers for a long time, she starts off as meek and less confident. It’s pretty clear from the pilot that Kara isn’t a fully formed superhero from the start and she’s more compelling for that reason.

Not to worry, the pilot doesn’t waste any time in Supergirl asserting her powers. Supergirl takes her share of physical punishment but also kicks ass. The action sequences are visually well shot and the major network budget is going to hopefully help Supergirl pull off consistently solid special effects. 

james olsen and kara danvers

Supergirl’s supporting characters have potential, each of them offering a different dynamic with Kara. The best of the bunch is a self-assured James Olsen played by Mehcad Brooks. Olsen is Kara’s connection to her cousin Superman and functions like the watchful caring big brother/mentor. 

Kara’s relationship with her sister Alex Danvers, which starts off on a cold note, is quickly developed into something deeper and takes a much needed promising twist.

While Calista Flockhart as media mogul Cat Grant offers some comic relief, she’s isn’t written to be instantly likeable and will need to be developed into a multilayered character. Jeremy Jordan as co-worker Winn Schott has a fun chemistry with Kara but it could be too much if he’s crushing on her each week.

The other less than stellar aspect of the pilot is that even though the villain of the week makes for some great fight sequences, the personality is forgettable and the acting is exaggerated in places. It will also take more episodes to get a handle on the types of stories Supergirl will tell each week. There’s a tried and true blueprint for these types of comic book shows which the writers are likely going to follow. 

Supergirl series premiere delivers a solid, entertaining episode which introduced us to a lively and likeable Kara. The balance between character set up, origin story and action scenes are nicely done. The pacing is fast and there’s a lot of exposition to process but it doesn’t get too confusing to follow. So far, so good Supergirl!

Will you be watching Supergirl Season 1? Are you excited about a female superhero show?

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Posted on October 26, 2015, in Comics, Supergirl, Television, TV Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I really enjoyed the pilot, but Oh Boy did it have pilot problems. (So much talky explainy who everyone and what everything was). Benoist could very well carry the show on her own and the fact that she doesn’t have to makes it’s prospects even better.

    • Yeah, I think the first 5 minutes alone were almost all voice over narration lol. I guess that’s the function of a pilot to explain and set up, not that much story really. Totally agree about Benoist, she’s a great find and can definitely carry this series if she has to. Luckily there are other promising characters.

  2. Really looking forward to this series, it starts here in the UK on Thursday, can’t wait!

  3. I watched about 30 minutes of this and thought it was Okay. I thought Calista Flockhart was kinda bad. Seemed like she was trying really hard to act and that’s not good. I do like the idea of a female superhero but I’m strangely annoyed by the name Supergirl. I mean, Clark is called Superman, why does Kara get relegated to Supergirl? Admittedly, Superwoman sounds stupid, so I guess the “girl” moniker is better, but still, annoyed by it.

    I do like Benoist as the lead. She appears to be able to pull off the superhero role with ease. Agree about Winn and overkill if he’s the continued unrequited love. Given there’s not much else on Monday evening’s I think I’ll check out a few more episodes to see if it gets better.

    • Calista Flockhart’s acting stood out from the others but not in a good way. It also didn’t help that her character is basically one note so far. I guess they kept the same name as in the comics and Wonder Woman is already taken. I’ve only seen Benoist in a minor role before in Whiplash, here she showed she’s a great lead. I enjoyed it enough to keep watching but I’ve fallen behind on a lot of other shows, including Gotham also on Mondays. We’ll see if I can keep with this show.

  4. What I liked best was that they didn’t hold her identity as some kind of carrot for her friends to discover later. Everybody in her life already knows. She tells her best work friend on day one. That’s refreshing. Flash had to go a full year before everybody knew. It took Smallville a few seasons for everyone to catch up. Arrow too. But without that, I believe it opens up a whole other dynamic that I’m hoping is fresh and fun.

    • Totally agree, I find the whole secret identity to be played out and hurts the characters who are in the dark. That’s what frustrated me about Smallville. At the end they had, supposedly, a clear picture of Supergirl … wouldn’t Calista’s character notice Supergirl looks like Kara. Or does the glasses throw them off, like Clark Kent lol.

  5. It’s definitely cool to see a female superhero on TV, and it’s nice to have so many superhero shows in general to choose from. I haven’t caught the pilot yet, but it’s nice to know there’s some promising stuff here.

    • With all the guy superhero TV shows it’s only fair to have female superhero shows too. Supergirl premiere got huge ratings which is nice to see. Marvel’s Jessica Jones is another promising one I’m looking forward to. 🙂

  6. Great review, I thought the Supergirl pilot was pretty decent but there are some elements that could prove formulaic. Like Grant Gustin in The Flash, Melissa Benoist is a great lead and I look forward to seeing how the series unfolds.

    • I agree that some elements that could prove formulaic. I’m going to give Supergirl a chance, it’s from the same production company behind The Flash. A great lead to build the series around, yeah let’s see how things unfold. 🙂

  7. Hey man, great review as always, I dunno how you can cover so much and still keep your posts so concensed but dude you do it well! As you may have already seen from my mini review I’m liking this show so far, Melissa is great in the title role and I’m liking the origins of Kara so far. My only issues were with the villain, presentation when it came to the fighting and flying sequences and the whole “because I’m a girl” thing. Otherwise I’m down with this show and if it plays its cards right it could be the next Flash TV show.

    • Hello there! Thanks man, I tried to make this post mostly spoiler free so anyone could read it without having to watch the pilot. Origins of Kara are very similar to Clark Kent lol. Could be interesting to see more of her origins in Kryptonian flashbacks. It’s not the perfect show, there are flaws like you mentioned, hopefully the rest of the season can improve upon the pilot. I heard a lot of people liked the 2nd episode more, hope you do too. Cheers!

  8. Next to Gotham,this is my favorite new show. I like a lot of the action scenes and storyline. And Melissa is really hot! Which is a nice

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