"The Flash" set a precedent for superheroes on TV. The CW series proved that superheroes don't have to be surly to get the job done, and that super-shows could embrace their whimsy without losing their edge. Now, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg's next super-drama "Supergirl" is following in Barry Allen's footsteps.
Having seen the pilot episode -- that was distributed to press by CBS in the wake of its unfortunate leak -- we're happy to report that visually and tonally, "Supergirl" feels a lot like its speedy cousin on The CW. (And it has the opening and closing voice-overs to prove it.) It's fun, emotional and fantastically super. However, it being a CBS series, there is something about it that feels inarguably older -- which won't stop you from grinning like a goof when Kara Danvers soars into action for the very first time.
No pilot is perfect, and "Supergirl" definitely falters in one key area (we're looking at you, Department of Extranormal Operations), but it has a whole lot of heart. You can't help but root for Kara as she embraces her heroic potential.
Now, we still have six more months until "Supergirl" officially premieres on Monday nights, but because we love you, here are a few non-spoilery observations from the pilot.
The exposition works.CBS
"Supergirl" manages to encapsulate Kara's entire origin story into its opening sequence. Thanks to a handy-dandy voice-over we learn that Kara was sent to Earth to protect her cousin Kal-El, but she veered off-course into the Phantom Zone, where she remained for 12 years. Without giving too much away, the story of how Kara came to Earth -- and how it relates to her super-cousin -- is fascinating.
Melissa Benoist is so charming as Kara Zor-El.CBS
We didn't think anyone could rival our love for Grant Gustin, but Benoist comes pretty damn close. Kara is incredibly endearing, even in her moments of weakness. Plus, seeing her literally stop a semi-trailer truck with her body is pretty bad-ass. (For the record, that's not even our favorite visual affect in the pilot. See below.)
It's very direct about feminism.CBS
Why do we need Supergirl in a world that already has Superman? That's the question the pilot aims to answer -- and it knocks it out of the park. In its inaugural hour, Kara establishes herself as a superhero force to be reckoned with. At times, it does feel like "Supergirl" is talking directly to its audience, explaining how girls can be superheroes too. While it might be too direct for some, we like the fact that this superhero openly talks about feminism in the workplace.
The series made its brand of superhero feminism known in its trailer, and the frank conversation between Kara and her hell-in-heels boss Cat Grant (played by the incomparable Calista Flockhart) is more extensive in the pilot. Tbh, "Supergirl" shines when they let Kara kick butt without contextualizing it.
The visual effects are spectacular.DC Comics
Coming from the dream team behind "Arrow" and "The Flash," we never had any doubts about the visual effects. Still, it's pretty effing cool to see Kara fly through the air -- for the first time, NBD -- holding an airplane. The fight choreography is also pretty stellar, and Kara kick major ass.