Supergirl Season 1 Episode 1 Review: “Pilot”


After many months of waiting, the series premiere of the highly anticipated CBS series Supergirl arrived tonight, as one of the most iconic female heroes from DC Comics kicked off her new adventures on our television screens with a big bang.

The pilot does a great job of setting up Kara’s own world without having it feel that it’s too reliant on the Man of Steel. While we know that Superman exists in this world, the writers succeed in making you want to watch this show for Kara, not for the last son of Krypton. I liked that by the end of this pilot, you just want to follow her character and her story, because at the end of the day, this is the story of Supergirl. Just like Christopher Reeve made you believe that a man can fly as Superman, Melissa Benoist makes you believe (in more than one way) that a woman can fly in the role of Supergirl.

But not only does the pilot feature a great leading actress in an iconic role, we also get a strong supporting cast that matters just as much. Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers is the member of the cast that surprised me the most when I first saw the Supergirl pilot at san Diego Comic-Con this summer. She wasn’t what I expected; she was better, and it made me appreciate the character of Alex a lot more. She acknowledges right away that she is somewhat jealous of Kara, but that her love for her sister is greater than any type of envy. Right away, you fall in love with Alex as much as you fall in love with Kara.

Mehcad Brooks and Jeremy Jordan both bring a lot of charm to their roles as James Olsen and Winn Schott, two of Kara’s male allies that almost immediately discover her secret. Each actor offers a refreshing take on his respective character, and Brooks in particular provides instills a uniqueness in his version of Jimmy Olsen that separates him from other actors who have played the role on both the big and small screen.

Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant was just a lot of fun, she kicks butt and you love to love her as well as love to hate her. You get a sense that Cat will be a bit of a fangirl towards Supergirl and that is only a plus because it will be fun to see this very shielded character actually just relax every once in a while and enjoy this new hero that she has helped create.

David Harewood gives a solid and enjoyable performance as Hank Henshaw was solid; however, Hank’s resentment towards Kara became very old very quickly throughout this first hour. I especially didn’t appreciate the “Why don’t you go back to fetching someone’s coffee?” line from him, but he made up for it at the end by showing some respect for Supergirl, as well as assuring Alex that while she may have initially gotten into the D.E.O. because of her sister, the reason she’s stayed around is because of her own skills and nothing else.

There have been a lot of comments/speculations that because Supergirl is on CBS, it automatically has to be a procedural, but the pilot makes it very clear that the series will certainly be serialized. The basic story of Kara suiting up and having her first adventure was very solid, from her costume tryouts with Winn to her having a go at Vartox who was one aggressive baddie to say the least. We’ll be seeing several villains and obstacles week to week on this show, but it all ties back into Fort Rozz, which held a group of prisoners that came with Kara when she arrived on Earth after having been trapped in the Phantom Zone. It sort of acts like the particle accelerator from The Flash, where the meta-humans get their powers from that incident, which I like quite a lot. The ending to the pilot also allows this first episode to come full circle, as we see that the general in charge of this is none other than Alura Zor-El’s twin sister and Kara’s aunt. I’m not sure yet how this will work, but it’s definitely a mystery that I appreciate and want to learn more about. Plus, it was quite the surprise that Laura Benanti was tapped to not just play Kara’s mother but now also as her main antagonist as well.

As someone who has been a big fan of Glen Winter since Smallville and who has continued to love his work on Arrow and The Flash, it was terrific to see his first directed pilot, as he did a super (no pun intended) job with it and made the entire feel cinematic. Visually, this show does feel like a movie with the great special effects and just the tone of the series as a whole.

Overall, the Supergirl pilot was great from start to finish as it carries a lot of heart and inspiration that we can always use more of on our screens. Benoist isn’t just playing the character of Supergirl; she IS Supergirl, and we can look forward to seeing more of this promising series that is already showing that it will have great adventures while also giving us a strong superhero to follow. Hopefully, Supergirl will just be the beginning of many female DC superhero shows to come in the very near future.

Supergirl airs on Monday nights at 8 p.m. on CBS.

[Photo credit: Darren Michaels/CBS]

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