Supergirl Mondays, 8 p.m. (premieres Oct-ober 26, 8:30 p.m.), CBS.
With Arrow and The Flash and the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow, producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg have carved out a mini-empire of superhero shows on the CW, and now they’ve branched out to corporate sibling CBS with Supergirl, their latest series based on DC Comics characters. Although there aren’t any plans for it to cross over with the CW shows (at least not yet), Supergirl has the same bright, geek-friendly tone that has worked so well for The Flash, embracing its comic-book roots for all their wonder and silliness. Supergirl won’t win over anyone who’s weary of the proliferation of superheroes in movies and TV in recent years, but for fans of Berlanti and Kreisberg’s other DC shows, it should be a welcome addition.
Star Melissa Benoist (Glee) is charming and vulnerable as Kara Zor-El, the cousin of Kal-El (aka Superman), who was also sent to Earth just before her home planet of Krypton was destroyed. Unlike her cousin, Kara was already a teenager when she came to Earth, and she spent the next decade living a normal life without using any of her powers (which are the same as her cousin’s). Consequently, she lives in Superman’s shadow, and the show plays that up, with characters referring to Superman simply as “him,” his presence constantly felt from afar.
But Kara asserts herself with enthusiasm in the pilot, breaking out from her job as the put-upon assistant to media mogul Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart, doing a riff on Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada) and taking on her own superhero identity, albeit one informed by her cousin’s. She also develops a crush on Jimmy—make that James—Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), who’s transferred from Metropolis to keep an eye on her. The show sometimes goes too far with Kara’s rom-com-style personal life, but it never undermines her superheroics, and she holds her own against a nasty villain in the first episode. The episode’s ending mirrors the ending of the first Flash episode, with the reveal of a surprising villain. It’s a promising—if a bit overly familiar—start.