CBS has joined forces with writer/producer Ali Adler (Chuck), as well as Arrow and The Flash CW TV series co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, to make a DC superhero TV show the network can call its own. The series in question is Supergirl, headlined by Melissa Benoist (Glee) as Kara Zor-El/Danvers, Superman's cousin who's been living on Earth in secret for many years when (as a twenty-something woman) she decides to embrace her true heritage and use her super-human abilities to help and protect humankind.
The Supergirl pilot leaked online before it was screened at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con (read our review), but since then production has commenced on the rest of the show's debut season. Additional details about the show - ranging from which villains will be making an appearance in season one to the likelihood of an Arrow/Flash crossover ever happening - have now been revealed, thanks to the 2015 Television Critics Association press tour.
A newly-released Supergirl trailer (see above) contains much of the same footage and plot beats as previously-released previews for the show. However, the clip also touches on a key story point from the show's pilot, where Kara joins forces with Department of Extra-Normal Operations head Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), in order to protect the people of Earth from "the worst criminals in the galaxy." It was previously reported that Reactron (Chris Browning) will be one of said baddies who appears on the show during its first batch of episodes.
- General Sam Lane, the father of Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) - the younger sister of Lois Lane - who will arrive in National City (where Kara resides) within the show's first nine episodes. General Lane, who was played by Michael Ironside on Smallville, will presumably view Supergirl as a potential threat (like her cousin) who needs to be kept in check.
- The Red Tornado, who is typically portrayed as a very intelligent android that possesses super strength and can create cyclone-esque forces of wind (which also allow him to fly). The DC Comics character has appeared on animated TV shows like Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice in the past, but Supergirl will mark his live-action small screen debut.
- Non, the hulking, silent, Kryptonian villain that was played by Jack O-Halloran in Superman I & II and technically appeared on Smallville (portrayed by John DeSantis). Kreisberg simply noted that the Supergirl TV show will feature a "slightly different take" on the character.
CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler, speaking at the 2015 TCA press tour, also clarified why Supergirl won't be crossing over with Arrow/Flash in the foreseeable future (while still leaving the door slightly open for a meeting of the DC TV superheroes at some point):
“I’m a little bit of a superhero geek and I have a lot of respect for what characters inhabit certain universes. You can’t just] just pick up one character and let them fly over and appear in another setting. You really have to be respectful and mindful of what each universe says you can and can’t do. Obviously working very closely with DC and our producers, Greg Berlanti is the poster child for this field. Right now we’re not doing it. We’re doing it promotionally, but we’ll always stay open. They’re very inventive about what they can and will do.”
Additional Supergirl season one details were confirmed during the 2015 TCA press tour:
- DC Entertainment head Geoff Johns said that Superman "will be a factor in [Kara's] life, but you won't see him onscreen" in the show.
- Kreisberg noted that Kara will continually be put in situations "where she's not all powerful" on the show, though Kryptonite won't always be the culprit responsible.
- Tassler says that although Supergirl will air at the same time as Fox's Gotham, the former is "more family entertainment" and should be able to hold its own against the Batman prequel series. She also referred to Supergirl as having elements of "a great workplace comedy" that will be "very appealing to our CBS fans" and bring in newcomers at the same time.
Supergirl premieres on CBS at 8:30pm EST on October 26th, 2015. It will air at 8pm EST on Mondays thereafter.