Supergirl ‘Pilot’

Melissa Benoit in CBS 'Supergirl'
Melissa Benoit in CBS 'Supergirl'
Melissa Benoit in CBS 'Supergirl'
Melissa Benoit in CBS ‘Supergirl’
  • Story by Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler & Andrew Kreisberg
  • Teleplay by Ali Adler
  • Directed by Glen Winter

Catch ‘Supergirl‘ on CBS Mondays @ 8/7 central and airing in the UK on Sky One Thursdays @ 8 and available on catchup.

After the success they had with ‘Arrow’ and being able to double down on that with ‘The Flash’ it was a bit unexpected to find out that Gerg Berlantia and Andrew Kreisberg were doubling down again to create ‘Supergirl’ and the upcoming ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’. Having witnessed their creative successes on the previous shows audience interest was at its peak in trying to decipher how they would be able to deal with the ‘Supergirl’ franchise.

Admittedly I, like so many others, were unconvinced by the below trailer and other promotional material for the series which really pushed the fact that its lead is a female and showed off some very hammy scenes featuring Kara Zor-El in her everyday human disguise.

After that I was lucky enough to be able to catch the pilot at San Diego Comic Con this year and yes I may also have seen the version which leaked online. Like none of you thought to check it out when it appeared on the net!

Luckily for all of us the actual pilot itself turned out to be a very solid entry in to the DC TV universe that reflected very little of what was scene in the trailers. Those scenes are still in the show itself but broken up between some solid action choreography and some well designed CGI sequences it all comes together to make an opening episode which doesn’t entirely suck.

Benoist makes for a great Kara Zor-El/Supergirl. In interviews she has come across as having a huge enthusiasm for the character that translates well in this episode. Kara has a similarly huge enthusiasm for using her powers for good and Benoist puts every effort in to making Kara equally as believable as Supergirl.

As with any pilot for a superhero show this is an origin story but given that it only runs for 40mins+ there isn’t a huge amount of room to allow for down time. Within minutes uninformed viewers have learnt about the fate of Krypton, Kara’s famous cousin Kal-El and we’re deep in to her time working for the oddly off-beat Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) at Cat Co as an assistant.

Melissa Benoit & Calista Flockhart in CBS 'Supergirl'
Melissa Benoit & Calista Flockhart in CBS ‘Supergirl’

The supporting cast for ‘Supergirl’ features a few familiar faces starting with Flockhart. Cat Grant is perhaps best known to fans of ‘Lois & Clark’ as the season one gossip girl for The Daily Planet. Here Grant has been ousted by Perry White and living in National City as the successful CEO of her own company. She doesn’t add much weight to the series at this point and her scenes all seem to be filmed in soft focus but hopefully given some development she can bring some great comic relief to the proceedings.

Mehcad Brooks plays the well established James (not Jimmy, he doesn’t like to be called Jimmy) Olsen. Yes THAT James Olsen. Having given up his career as a photojournalist for The Daily Planet he’s now working for Cat. He’s clearly meant to be the romantic interest for Kara but his connections to the Man of Steel will hopefully connect the show to the wider DC universe without crossing the boundaries that the heads of Warner Bros. won’t allow for. In the pilot he doesn’t get to do a huge amount other than provide some backstory and a bit of a shoulder for Kara to cry on but it’s clear the writers know his place in this franchise.

Similarly stuck as the perennial shoulder to cry on is Jeremy Jordan as Winslow “Winn” Schott. He’s the kind of Felicity or Cisco type character here. He has some tech knowledge and is also the first to learn of Kara’s secret. He provides the audience point of view on learning the secret in this episode but could easily become a little lost in the mix given that so many characters know her secret and also given that he is outside the D.E.O.

Melissa Benoit & Mehcad Brooks in CBS 'Supergirl'
Melissa Benoit & Mehcad Brooks in CBS ‘Supergirl’

Chyler Leigh plays big sis Alex Danvers who secretly works for the D.E.O. (Department of Extranormal Operations) whilst keeping an eye on her sister. Flashbacks set up a little of their relationship but most of the interaction comes from Kara outing herself whilst rescuing Alex who happens to be on a crashing plane. I was a fan of her work on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and like many was gutted when she was killed off, in a plane crash no less, so I’m excited to see if she can bring the action on ‘Supergirl’. She does spend much of the pilot pleading with Kara not to show herself to the world but it would seem that her arc for this initial crop of episodes will be about learning she can’t always be the protective sister… particularly when her sister has superpowers.

Highlights for me in this episode were the inevitable test versions of the costume, the sequence of Kara starting out small and trying out different costumes really cement the type of humour that Berlanti, Kreisberg and Adler are aiming to bring to ‘Supergirl’. It’s much more similar in feel to ‘The Flash’ than it is to ‘Arrow’ but once again they have been able to create a unique feeling to set ‘Supergirl’ apart from it’s two brothers.

The other highlight for me was the action sequences. Both ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ have great fight choreography and there was a concern that given her powers and also the lighter feel for ‘Supergirl’ that the fight sequences would be stepping down a gear but thankfully they are not. Her relative lack of experience means that Kara quite often gets beaten, thrown through walls or stand in the way of oncoming traffic and so the scale of fight scenes once again well worth tuning in for.

Melissa Benoit in CBS 'Supergirl'
Melissa Benoit in CBS ‘Supergirl’

Overall it’s a solid pilot, it might not grip you as much as the pilots for ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ but it’s not fair to compare all of these shows purely due to the creative powers behind them and the fact they are all DC properties. Where ‘Arrow’ brings the darkness and ‘The Flash’ brings the science fiction ‘Supergirl’ brings humanity and hope to the universe.

Given my low expectations I was impressed and I hope the series can gain some momentum very quickly over the next few weeks.

4 stars

 

 

4 stars

Here’s the trailer for ‘Pilot’:

 

About Neil Vagg 892 Articles

Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember.

Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men

Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice

Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG