Everything You Need to Know about the New Supergirl TV Series

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When will Supergirl air?

The series will air Mondays on CBS in the USA and on Global in Canada starting October 26, 2015. The first episode will air at 8:30 EST/7:30 CST before moving to its regular time-slot at 8 EST/7 CST on Nov 2.

Attendees at San Diego Comic Con will get to see the pilot early when it debuts at the convention on July 8th and 11th (details at TV Line). That’s after the pilot was leaked to torrent sites in May by someone who received an early press copy.

How many episodes will there be?

The series has been picked up for an initial 13 episode season order. The expectation is that CBS will order an additional “back 9” episodes if the show does well. For comparison, The Flash received its back 9 order before the first episode even aired, although that was on The CW.

What is the show about?

Per 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. [Ed. note: Kara says in the pilot that she was 13 when she arrived on Earth.] 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.

Per Global TV:

Born Kara Zor-El on the doomed planet Krypton, the preteen Kara escaped at the same time as the infant Kal-El, but didn’t arrive on Earth until many years later after being lost in the Phantom Zone. Protected and raised by her adopted family, the Danvers, Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex, and learned to hide the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin. Years later, at age 24, living in National City and working as an assistant for Catco Worldwide Media mogul Cat Grant, Kara has spent so many years trying to fit in that she forgot to ever stand out. All that changes when she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and become the hero she was always destined to be.

Who’s in the show?

Kara Zor-El aka Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) – Kara was sent from her dying home planet of Krypton to Earth as a preteen, where she was taken in by the Danvers, scientists who taught her to be careful with her extraordinary powers. After repressing those powers for more than a decade, Kara reveals herself to the public when she saves a plane carrying her sister. Energized by her heroism for the first time in her life, she realizes that embracing her abilities and using them to help people is her true calling.

Alexandra “Alex” Danvers (Chyler Leigh) – Kara’s brilliant, science-minded adoptive sister. Alex was sometimes jealous of her Kara growing up, but she loves her very much. Meeting Kara prompted Alex to learn as much as she could about aliens and eventually join the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations), a secret government organization that monitors and captures hostile aliens.

Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) – ex-CIA agent and head of the DEO. Henshaw distrusts aliens and is initially hostile towards Supergirl because he fears that her appearance will draw out the Phantom Zone prisoners. In the comics Hank Henshaw is the human identity of the evil Cyborg Superman, but the show does not appear to be going in that direction.

Winslow “Wynn” Schott (Jeremy Jordan) – Kara’s best friend at CatCo. and the first person she reveals her secret to. Wynn supports Kara in becoming Supergirl and helps sew her costume. In the comics Winslow Schott is the civilian identity of the villainous Toyman, but like Henshaw and The Flash’s Caitlyn Snow, he appears to be a benign version of his comic book counterpart.

Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) – Kara’s boss and owner of CatCo Worldwide Media. A Perry White type, Cat doesn’t recognize Kara’s abilities due to her youth and unassuming demeanor. In classic superhero irony, she sees Supergirl as an inspiring figure who can help her boost sales in the same way the Daily Planet benefits from its Superman stories.

James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) – an older and more confident Jimmy Olsen. James recently left the Daily Planet and joined CatCo. as the new art director. Charming and not at all intimidated by Cat, James provides Kara with moral support at work.

Alura (Laura Bernanti) – Kara’s birth mother. Plays an important role in Kara’s life. Bernanti will appear in flashbacks, as a hologram, and in another exciting way as revealed at the end of the pilot. Alura held an elite role in Kryptonian society.

Zor-El (Robert Gant) – Kara’s birth father. Appears on Krypton during her escape. Not much is known about him, but he is presumably a scientist who helped construct Kara’s spacecraft.

Sylvia Danvers (Helen Slater) and Fred Danvers (Dean Cain) – Kara’s adoptive parents. Scientists who previously helped Superman understand his powers (maybe at S.T.A.R. Labs?). Alex clearly takes after them. They appear only briefly in the pilot, but Slater has a guest star contact so she could appear again in flashbacks.

Will Superman appear?

Supergirl is continuing the DC/Warner Bros. trend of establishing its own independent continuity. DC have long maintained that their movies and TV series are their own separate universes, and Superman and Batman are both off-limits to the TV-verse. Superman is seen briefly in the pilot (and it’s awesome) but we don’t hear him speak or see his face as an adult. This cleverly avoids tying Superman down to any particular actor.

Will Supergirl cross over with ArrowThe Flash / Legends of Tomorrow?

These shows are all produced by Berlanti Productions, and CBS co-owns The CW, so many fans assume that crossovers between the Arrow/Flash-verse and Supergirl are a given.

However the president of CBS, Nina Tassler, stated at the TCA press tour in Jan 2015, “I think we’ll keep Supergirl to ourselves for awhile.” This makes sense for CBS because it allows them to create a self-encapsulated world for Supergirl that isn’t affected by events on the other DC shows. That could change in the future, but for now there are only two known superheroes in the Supergirl universe.

The biggest barrier to a crossover may be the fact that Supergirl films at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California while Arrow and Flash film at the same studio lot in Vancouver, BC.

Why isn’t Supergirl a teenager?

Probably because the show’s creators wanted to do something different from Smallville, and the young adult Supergirl from the Bronze Age comics is a much beloved version of the character.

By tapping into that classic superhero setting, the workplace sitcom, Supergirl can appeal to a much larger audience of Superfamily fans.

Isn’t Kara too old to be called Supergirl?

Good question. The show uses “Supergirl” and not “Superwoman” because the comic book character is named Supergirl. It’s a matter of branding.

Calling a 24-year-old woman Supergirl is unquestionably a feminist issue. The writers appear to recognize there is an issue, but they seem to have mistaken what the problem is. Cat Grant’s “girl” speech attempts to reclaim a word that is too often used as a pejorative in our sexist culture. But that’s missing the point. Kara is protesting being called a girl as a title. The show doesn’t acknowledge this as a valid feminist issue, and Cat’s speech ends up sounding very victim-blamey. That probably wasn’t what the writers intended…

How closely does the show follow the comics?

The series uses the origin story from the 2004 and 2011 comic book series: Kara and Kal-El’s spaceships left Krypton at the same time, but Kara’s ship took much longer to reach Earth and she did not age during her journey.

In the show, Kara’s ship was knocked into the Phantom Zone, where she remained in suspended animation for 24 years. Kal’s ship continued directly to Earth where he grew up and became Superman. Kara was still 13 when she awoke on Earth. This would make Clark between 24 and 25 when he found Kara’s ship, meaning he became Superman at a younger age than he’s usually portrayed.

The show’s setting has similarities to the Supergirl comics of the early 1970s, when Kara graduated from college and moved to San Francisco to work as a camera operator and part-time journalist at a TV station.

Kara’s personality is closest to her pre-Crisis incarnation, although she starts out as much less confident due to choosing to hide her superpowers from a young age.

Her look as Kara Danvers is based on her “Linda Lang” identity from the 2004 Supergirl series, issues #34-67 (2008-2011).

Michelle Bacon

Michelle loves comics and code. A lifelong Superfamily fan, she's been collecting comics for 20 years, and running Supergirl: Maid of Might since 2000.

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