There was a special screening of the new CBS Supergirl tv show pilot on Saturday at Wizard World Chicago this year. I was there to watch it.
They had this cardboard cut out of Supergirl by the entrance supposedly so people could take pictures with it and put them on Twitter. However before the panel everyone was in line and after the cut out was moved and I never saw it again.
Once we were all inside and seated our host came out and said this was the first time anyone was ever seeing the pilot. Is that true? I know the highlight reel has been out for weeks now but was this really the first time they have screened the whole pilot to anyone? I will try to keep this as spoiler free as I can.
The pilot begins with the standard Superman origin story. Baby Kal-El gets rocketed away from Krypton by his parents before the planet blows up. But then we see that literally right behind them is his tween cousin Kara Zor-El and her parents sending her in another rocket. Kal-El goes to Earth and becomes Superman but Kara temporarily gets knocked into the Phantom Zone, where time stands still, and does not arrive on Earth until Superman is an adult and already an established superhero. Once she is on Earth Superman drops her off with the Danvers family and flies away.
We then jump ahead to Kara as a 24 year old working for Cat Grant and just all around dissatisfied with her ‘normal’ life. Then her adopted sister is in a plane that’s about to crash and Kara flies t the rescue and decides being a superhero would be awesome. Her sister however seems weirdly upset that Kara just saved an entire airplane full of people not to mention everyone the plane would have crashed on top of. At first it seems kind of dumb but soon after we learn why her sister was upset. Now Hank Henshaw and the DEO, who monitor and defend against aliens, know about Kara and those guys are dicks. Well Hank Henshaw is a dick, in fact he is such a dick that its kind of inexplicable. Maybe his family was killed by aliens or something and so he vowed to be a dick to any alien he meets for the rest of his life. Also it turns out that there are a bunch of alien criminals that escaped from the Phantom Zone hiding out on Earth and Kara ends up fighting one that has some kind of alien battleaxe. If I go into much more detail I might start getting into spoiler territory so I will stop here and take a moment to talk about some of the characters.
Melissa Benoit makes a great Supergirl and I think she is capable of carrying the show. Mehcad Brooks is pretty good as a more mature professional Jimmy Olsen who it seems will be helping to mentor Kara as Supergirl. I have never been a fan of Calista Flockhart but she seems to be a good fit for Cat Grant, I wonder how far they go with the terrible boss aspect of the character of if she has a more sympathetic side later on. The generic dude co worker that helps Kara design her costume is okay I guess, he is there and then he sort of fades into the background of the rest of the pilot.
Some of the action and emotional beats feel a bit rushed but that is to be expected from a pilot. Hopefully things will pace out better once the series gets going. I can already see one big potential flaw in the show, how it deals with Superman. Kara’s actual relationship with her cousin is left really vague. After he dropped her off with her foster family did he ever talk to her again? Is Kara ever going to go to him for advice on how to superhero? It seems like they are hinting that if the world finds out that Supergirl is an alien they would turn against her. Does that mean the world does not know that Superman is an alien? That would just be dumb. And if Supergirl has to fight something the threatens the whole world will Superman show up to help? At some point they are going to have to better define Superman’s relationship to Kara and his role in her world or it could lead to some pretty big plot holes.
Overall I liked the Supergirl pilot and I recommend that people watch it. A lot of the episodes big moments are in the highlight reel that most people have seen but there are still a few bits they held back that should surprise and be fun for people.