CBS entered the comic book-based TV show fray this past week with the premiere of Supergirl, created by Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg (The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow) and Ali Adler (The Tomorrow People). Starring Melissa Benoist as Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers, Supergirl premiered to strong ratings and overall positive reviews (read ours here), which could mean this attempt at superhero counter-programming might just be a hit.
Despite being Superman’s cousin — as in, an alien from the planet Krypton endowed with god-like superpowers thanks to Earth’s yellow sun — the Supergirl pilot presented a superhero who is remarkably relatable in that she has spent her years among humans trying only to blend in with the crowd. By the end of her first adventure, Supergirl discovers how easily her persona can be distorted and agrees to work with a government organization to track down extraterrestrial evildoers.
The biggest question leading up to the show’s premiere was just how convincingly the network could pull off the necessary special effects. Berlanti and Kreisberg’s Arrow relies mainly on practical effects, and while The Flash is effects-heavy (and well done), the Flash doesn’t have to fly. Now, a new clip from Supergirl‘s second episode illustrates that despite how far Kara has come in the space of the pilot, her handlers at the Department of Extranormal Operations seem to think she still has a ways to go. Watch the clip above.
Supergirl is immediately unique among the male-driven superhero shows on TV for reasons spelled out in the title alone, and with that comes a strong undercurrent of sexism, as evidenced in the exchange between Kara and Hank Henshaw (Homeland‘s David Harewood). When challenged about how much “control” she has of her powers, Supergirl breaks the sound barrier and evades a couple of missiles.
This clip is an effective showcase of Supergirl‘s impressive effects budget, and seems to underline what may end up being one of the main ongoing themes of the show: are the expectations lower for a Supergirl than a Superman, or is the question itself a product of Kara’s insecurities? The answer will probably end up being a little of both, and while a partnership between a superhero and a government agency has historically proven to be a bad idea in the long run, some kind of oversight might be what Kara needs — if only to prove that she really doesn’t need any at all.
Supergirl continues Monday, November 2nd @8pm with ‘Stronger Together’ on CBS.