When Supergirl swoops onto the scene on October 26, she will in fact be the singular superheroine headlining a television series. She has lots of “Super” counterparts on the other networks — Netflix’s “Daredevil” and The CW’s “Arrow” and “The Flash,” to name a few — but the ever-increasing numbers of caped crusaders entering the fold are, with the exception of Supergirl, all Superdudes. (Though let’s not forget Hayley Atwell is kicking ass as secret agent Peggy Carter in “Agent Carter”on ABC.)
The spot for “Supergirl” plays on the mythology of her better-known cousin, Superman. Kara tells us that, 24 years go, when her planet was in peril, Kal-El was sent to Earth for his own safety and protection. “You may know his story,” Kara says with a wink. The story of Superman is inescapable. But the story of Supergirl? Not so much. “The story you don’t know is that I was sent to protect him,” she reveals.
An accident delays Kara’s arrival on Planet Earth by 24 years — her pod gets shot into the Phantom Zone where time doesn’t pass — but she eventually makes her way here. Fanfare does not await, but the exigencies of life on earth do (being put on hold on the phone, taking orders from a frighteningly selfish boss).
When Kara singlehandedly prevents a plane from crashing and saves all of its passengers using her super-strength, she’s rebuked by her foster sister, who asks, “What were you thinking? Everyone will know about you, and you can’t take that back.” But Kara doesn’t want to take it back. She’s ready to be Supergirl. Whether or not the world is ready to see her assume that role is another matter entirely.
“Just because you wear that symbol on your chest doesn’t mean you’re him,” we hear one character taunt. Another male character says, “She’s not strong enough” — a clear response to potential critics who might bristle against the idea of female strength.
“Supergirl” was the first drama to be confirmed by the network for its 2015-16 season, which suggests that CBS is confident about the strength of the show and its ability to attract an audience.
Starring alongside Benoist will be Calista Flockhart as Kara’s boss Cat Grant, Mehcad Brooks as love interest Jimmy Olsen, Chyler Leigh as Kara’s sister Alex Danvers and Laura Benanti as Kara’s mother.
Helen Slater, the actress who played Supergirl in the 1984 film, will also make an appearance on the show.