It's nice to see that live-action superhero shows, possibly taking their cue from the successful superhero movies, are being more serious and more fun than their horrible predecessors from the 1960s-1980s.  Supergirl is the latest superhero to be featured on the small screen -- and it works very well as action,with a nice dose of comedy.

The story stars with the destruction of Krpyton -- only after Kal-El is launched to Earth in a ship, the young girl Kara is sent after to him, to watch over and protect him on Earth.  But due to a space event, Kara's ship lands on Earth years after Kal-El's -- and by that time Kal-El has grown up and become Superman.  Kara is adopted the Danvers (a nod to earlier comic adaptions: The parents are played by Dean Cain and Helen Slater, who played Superman in The New Adventures of Lois and Clark and Supergirl in the movie Supergirl) and gets a stepsister Alex.

Jump ahead, and Kara (Melissa Benoist) is 24, has decided not to use her powers and live a normal, uneventful life in National City.  She works as an executive assistant at Catco Media, a newspaper and online news site run by Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), an unstoppable and self-serving executive who doesn't seem to listen to anyone or remember their names.  Kara is friends with Winn Schott Jr. (Jeremy Jordan), who has an unrequited crush on Kara.  She also has an instant crush on James Olsen (Mechad Brooks), the paper's art director and photographer.

In a fortituous turn of events, Cat is going to fire a lot of people because the paper isn't selling well due to a lack of a Superman-type hero to sell papers.  About the same time, a plane is going down over National City -- and Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) is on board.  Kara saves the plane, gets photographed, and becomes the unknown hero of the town.  After telling Winn her secret (he amusingly assumes her big secret is that she's a lesbian) and a quick superhero costume montage, Supergirl is ready to protect the city!

But there's a lot more going on.  A secret organization, led by Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), is focused on tracking and defeating alien menaces; and Alex is a member of this organization.  In addition, some Kryptonian prisoners survived the destruction of Krypton and have come to Earth with a sinister plan.  And these Kryptonians are commanded by Astra (Laura Benati) -- Kara's aunt.  And Kara has to deal with dangers and challenges that her powers can't always handle.

I've only seen the first episode, but Supergirl is extremely promising.  Melissa Benoist does very well in the title role: nervous trying to fit in, thrilled to really cut loose with her powers, scared that others are stronger than her, and resolved to be a hero.  The rest of the cast is quite good, especially Calista Flockhart as an executive whose arrogance seems matched with her skills and success.  The show blends action and humor very well together, and the special effects make this world of super-powered beings very plausible.  (You'll believe a girl can fly!  Ahem...)  The show lays the seeds for a few possible romances and also gives a reason why so many super-powered beings are showing up in National City.  Supergirl is, simply, super.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

No comments: