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TV Review: Supergirl 1.1 “Pilot”
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Supergirl Melissa Benoist

Episode 1.1 “Pilot”
Directed by Glen Winter
Written by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Ali Adler
Starring Melissa Benoist, Calista Flockhart, Chyler Leigh, Mehcad Brooks, David Harewood, Jeremy Jordan, Helen Slater, Dean Cain, Peter Facinelli, Chris Vance
Air date: Monday, October 26, 2015, 8:30pm ET

Supergirl, the new and highly anticipated show from Arrow creators Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, and Ali Adler, flies in tonight on CBS. The pilot episode quickly tells the origin story of Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist), cousin of you-know-who. She’s the older cousin, tasked with watching over Kal-El, but got caught up in The Phantom Zone. By the time her ship crashed to Earth, she reverted to younger cousin. There’s a lot of “Him” floating around. They never really say his name, and we only catch a silhouetted glimpse of “Him.” Much like her now older cousin, she kept her powers hidden. Only her sister Alex (Chyler Leigh), and her parents (Super-Geek alert! Dean Cain and Helen Slater) know (we think). The rest of the pilot is about her “coming out.”

So how is it? Spoilers ahead!

Benoist plays the bright-eyed assistant, eager to please and eager to break out of her shell. And she does that well. Forced to come out when her sister’s plane is in danger of crashing, she plays that wonder of being the hero for the first time, believably. She also gives off the “girl power” cheerleading vibe great, too. I worry about when she has to have chemistry with others. Her interactions with pal Winn (Jeremy Jordan) are adorable, but no sparks. And Mechad Brooks is the sexiest Jimmy Olsen, excuse me, James, I have ever seen. I suppose since he was sent by “Him” to watch over Kara, he probably should not be messing with her. I also may be too hard on Benoist, as it is a pilot and those are usually not the best episodes of a series, having to rush through some backstory.

Surprising to me was Chyler Leigh. Benoist may be about the “girl power,” but Leigh is all woman. Surprised I say because Leigh was one of my favorites on Grey’s Anatomy, but there she acted more like vulnerable girl than strong woman. I like this version, and I see her more as Supergirl than Benoist. But we will see. Even though Kara has the superpowers, Alex seems the stronger sister. They are going to need to fight together, as the world is populated by “metas” – escaped prisoners of The Phantom Zone, all gunning for the daughter of their jailer, Kara’s mother. Alex is on a covert government team formed to track and contain the escapees.

Calista Flockhart is a standout as Kara’s demanding boss, Cat Grant, playing it very Meryl Streep’s Devil Wears Prada as Miranda Priestly. She’s going to be a lot of fun. Like Perry White, she is demanding, and what she demands is exclusives on this mysterious flying girl.

The pilot is pretty good. When I watched it, I got the growing sense of hope that I felt when watching the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve. In that, this episode was successful. It made me happy. I’m still a little skeptical about how it will do on CBS, as it feels like it would be more appreciated by The CW audience. But it might do okay following up The Big Bang Theory on Monday nights. After all, geeks never really grow out of their “phase.” I should know.

Supergirl airs Monday nights on CBS.

From CBS:

SUPERGIRL is an action-adventure drama based on the DC Comics character Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist), Superman’s (Kal-El) cousin who, after 12 years of keeping her powers a secret on Earth, decides to finally embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be. Twelve-year-old Kara escaped the doomed planet Krypton with her parents’ help at the same time as the infant Kal-El. Protected and raised on Earth by her foster family, the Danvers, Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), and learned to conceal the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin in order to keep her identity a secret. Years later at 24, Kara lives in National City assisting media mogul and fierce taskmaster Cat Grant (Golden Globe Award winner Calista Flockhart), who just hired the Daily Planet’s former photographer, James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), as her new art director. However, Kara’s days of keeping her talents a secret are over when Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), head of a super-secret agency where her sister also works, enlists her to help them protect the citizens of National City from sinister threats. Though Kara will need to find a way to manage her newfound empowerment with her very human relationships, her heart soars as she takes to the skies as Supergirl to fight crime. Greg Berlanti (“The Flash,” “Arrow”), Ali Adler, Sarah Schecter and Andrew Kreisberg are executive producers for Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. The pilot was directed by Glen Winter (“Arrow”).


Supergirl – First Look

It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s not a man. It’s Supergirl. In the new drama from the world of DC Comics, Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, embraces her superhuman abilities and becomes the hero she was always meant to be. This Fall on CBS.

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