[SPOILERS for the Supergirl premiere episode ahead.]
The Supergirl live-action TV series, starring Melissa Benoist as Kryptonian survivor turned superhero Kara Danvers/Zor-El, has now debuted on CBS. Already, the series is on its way to becoming another successful DC Comics adaptation for co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg (after Arrow and The Flash), as well as the first hit comic book-based TV show for co-creator Ali Adler (Chuck).
Reviews for the Supergirl premiere (like ours) have been by and large positive on the whole; meaning, the series ought to benefit from good word of mouth, now that it has begun its run on the right foot in terms of ratings (more on that shortly). The show’s producers have also offered some insight on what lies ahead for Kara, in terms of her enemies – including, one unexpected antagonist who was unveiled in the premiere episode and another one that will be familiar to fans of Superman movies past.
The Supergirl TV show premiere (as reported by sites like EW) set a Fall 2015 record high, drawing in 14 million viewers and a 3.2 rating among adults from ages 18-49. Moreover, as reported by other sources, the premiere episode did better in terms of the male teen demographic (1.7) than the female teen demographic (1.4); however, Supergirl‘s debut also did better among women aged 18-34 (2.0) than men (1.7), yet overall the number for men aged 18-49 (3.3) was higher than women (3.0). Make of those numbers what you will, but overall it seems the superhero TV show did, in fact, appeal to the wide range in viewership that it was aiming for, as far as age and gender is concerned.
An episode of The Big Bang Theory served as the lead-in to the Supergirl premiere on CBS, but that will not continue to be the case over the forthcoming weeks; meaning, it remains to be seen how Supergirl‘s rating are affected without having the long-running sitcom (and big ratings draw) airing before it, hereon out. For now, though, it’s pretty much all good news on the Supergirl front, as the premiere also laid the foundation for some intriguing developments to unfold over the course of the show’s freshman season.
Perhaps the big reveal in the Supergirl premiere was the tease of an important future opponent for Kara: her Kryptonian aunt Astra, who is identical to Kara’s biological mother, Alura (as both characters are played by Laura Benanti). Series head honchos Adler, Berlanti, and Kreisberg explained the logic behind this storyline, during an interview with THR:
Kreisberg: “When we were writing the pilot, we thought about that a lot. For us, we love when you have the hero and villain being linked, and what you can do to make what’s happening between them personal. Nothing is more personal than family, but to then go one step further and have the villain be an exact replica of her mother is going to be really cool.”
Berlanti: “There is also the tie to her home, it just makes it that much more emotional for Kara to deal with. Every time she punches her aunt, she’s really punching her mother. And how much of her mother might still be inside her aunt is something we’re going to be looking at as the series progresses.”
Adler: “In looking ahead at the next batch of episodes, that was really important for us, to not do what’s expected.”
It remains to be seen how the Kara/Astra conflict plays out on Supergirl. However, Berlanti and Kreisberg have incorporated similar over-arching plot conflicts with personal stakes for the protagonists of their previous DC Comics TV shows – see Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) versus Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) during Arrow season 1 and Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) versus Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) in The Flash season 1 – and the results have turned out pretty well, to date.
Hence, in that regard, the impending conflict between Kara and Astra on Suprgirl is more “expected” than at first glance – which is not to say the eventual payoff will not be satisfying and/or deliver any surprises, this time around.
Of course, Astra isn’t the only Kryptonian who Kara will face-off against, over the course of Supergirl season 1. Chris Vance (Transporter: The Series) will also be making an appearance as the villainous Non – a former scientist who’s in league with the House of El. The most famous screen iteration of Non to date was the Jack O’Halloran version featured in Richard Donner’s Superman movies, but Kreisberg has explained that Supergirl‘s Non will be very different than O’Halloran’s silent brute:
“The Non in the comic books is not what you saw in Superman II. That Non in Superman II had been lobotomized. When we meet him, he will not have been lobotomized yet so our take on this character is sort of a prequel to the Superman II mythos.”
This isn’t the only “connection” between the Donner Superman films and the Supergirl TV series, either; previously, the show’s creators indicated that Kara’s adventures will carry over the same tone established in Donner’s two movies about the Man of Steel. Which is to say: if you appreciated the light-hearted and optimistic perspective offered by the Supergirl premiere, then you should be glad to hear that won’t be going away over the episodes ahead.
Supergirl continues next Monday @8pm with “Stronger Together” on CBS.