As you surely know by now, ‘Supergirl’ created by Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, the same minds behind The CW’s hits ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ as well as upcoming ‘Legends of Tomorrow,’ is soaring her way onto CBS this fall. Does appearing on one of the BIG networks change the approach to the character? In fact, it does.
The ratings of bigger network shows ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and ‘Agent Carter‘ (both on ABC) and ‘Gotham‘ (on Fox) are on par with those of The CW’s shows, but whereas ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ are certified hits on their smaller network and have amassed devoted followings, the three comic book shows on the bigger networks are considered to be on the bubble. The similarly rated ‘Constantine‘ on NBC has already been axed and the common belief is that the other three survive just because they are owned by the companies that own their networks, Disney/ABC and Warner Brothers/Fox.
Being on a bigger network has its perks, mainly a larger budget, but it could also mean more scrutiny and greater pressure to perform.
But Kreisberg isn’t feeling the crush. “Thus far, we’ve been doing our same process and CBS have been great partners in helping us bring our vision of the character to life,” the producer stated, ‘” I know behind the scenes there are probably some financial considerations. I’m not sure we could pull this show off on the CW, although we’ve gotten pretty good at doing a lot with very little. But it’s still the same. I think the big difference is when I’m watching football on Sundays, I’m now going to see commercials for ‘Supergirl’.”
Producers have already nixed crossovers with The CW shows, but that doesn’t mean that ‘Supergirl’ will be flying completely solo. Kreisberg continued, “Just like how on those shows we bring in other DC characters and other DC heroes, we have plans to do the same things on ‘Supergirl’. ‘Supergirl’ won’t feel like just Supergirl. There are going to be some great iconic DC characters coming onto the show. Some of them not even associated necessarily with Superman.” Hmmmm, intriguing!
But one character viewers shouldn’t expect to see much of is the one that’s most closely affiliated with Supergirl, her iconic cousin Superman. Executive producer Sarah Schechter clarifies, “It’s not that DC said ‘Oh – you can’t use Superman’. This show is about Supergirl. It’s not about the man; it’s about the woman. And the woman is the one we don’t know enough about. This is [Kara’s] story. It’s about her becoming a superhero. I remember Greg calling me and saying ‘I figured [Supergirl] out. It’s like Ginger Rogers. She has to do everything Fred Astaire does but backwards and in heels.’ That’s what Supergirl has to do.”
Star Melissa Benoist also doesn’t seem phased by any additional pressure. “I love that Kara is still in a process of discovering herself. It’s really a coming of age story. I love when she finds her strength and when she owns it, when she has no fear. Kara is constantly messing up. She’s flying by the seat of her pants half the time. I love that there’s room to go. It shows that no one has it all figured out no matter what powers you have.”
She continued, “I look at it as such a privilege and an honor and a responsibility. To show people that you can be a strong woman without… so often these days, it’s assumed that if you’re strong and powerful, you’re not really the nicest person… But I want to show girls that you can spread positivity and hope through your strength.”
In preparation, check out these new character posters:
Melissa Benoist as Supergirl
Calista Flockhart as Catherine “Cat” Grant
Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen
Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers
David Harewood as Hank Henshaw
Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott
As for the threats that Supergirl will face week after week? Hopefully we won’t see the alien threat of the week, a problem that plagued ‘Smallville’ in its earlier episodes. Kresiberg states, “In addition to the alien threats, there will be normal human villains — Lex Luthor types who don’t have any superpowers. There will also be human beings who have incredible tech. The villains will be coming from all different sorts of areas… The more personal the conflict though the better. Just like on ‘The Flash’: Harrison Wells was a father [figure] to Barry so the fact that he was also a villain made it that much more exciting. As opposed to Superman, Kara remembers growing up on [Krypton]. She remembers her aunt. She remembers her parents. She remembers her family. For Kara, [the villains] are people that she knew growing up. We believe that’s going to lead to some incredible drama.”
Also, Krypton isn’t totally dead, as Kara will have some flashbacks to her homeworld, which she still remembers unlike her cousin who was just a baby when he was sent away. “What’s so great about ‘Supergirl’ as opposed to Superman is that Kara grew up the first thirteen years of her life with no powers. Then she comes to a planet that tells teenage girls to suppress their power. So for Kara becoming an adult woman is getting back in touch with that.”
“Kara has memories of Krypton and we’re going to continue to see and play into that. There’s so much story to tell both in the present and in the past. We’ll continue to explore all the aspects of who Kara is – her family and her life which means we’ll be seeing more of everything.”
Hopefully, that won’t be too heavy a focus as the heavy flashbacks are my least favorite part of ‘Arrow’.
And don’t expect ‘Batman V Superman’ levels of heaviness. Schechter points to Richard Donner’s ‘Superman’ movies as inspiration, saying “The world can be a really dark place. A lot of people have hard lives. We hope to deliver an hour of fun and hopefulness. Hope is the cornerstone for Superman and Supergirl. The hope that they offer is essential for these characters.”
Are you ready to fly with ‘Supergirl’? The series debuts on October 26, 2015.