The superhero movie trend has been dominant for what seems like an awfully long time now, but that heroic presence hasn’t been as strongly felt on television. Lately, that’s been changing with shows like Arrow, The Flash and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Aside from the latter, those shows have been on the CW—cracking the big four networks has been a little tougher, but from these early looks, Supergirl might be the one to change all that.
Supergirl will debut on CBS this fall, giving DC Comics another high-profile live-action superhero to help fight Marvel’s undeniable pop culture dominance. Melissa Benoist of Glee was introduced in January as the title character, and the first shots of her in costume were released by Warner Bros. late last week. She looks pretty good, and even though she’s not on the CW, it looks like that outfit came from the same color palette as Green Arrow or the Flash (or the current DC film version of Superman, for that matter).
That’s for good reason—Colleen Atwood, the costume designer for Arrow and The Flash, also created Supergirl’s. Her involvement in the new show, along with Andrew Kreisberg (writer and executive producer for those other two shows) being brought on as executive producer, has fueled speculation that a crossover between the three superheroes could be in the offing, although being on different networks would complicate that. It probably wouldn’t happen until the second or third season anyway, as Supergirl, like any superhero, needs a little space to establish herself before mixing it up with other superheroes.
Speaking of mixing it up with other superheroes, it’ll be interesting to see this show’s take on Supergirl. We know that they’ll be using the Kara Zor-El Supergirl, Superman’s cousin and a fellow survivor of the destruction of Krypton. The flip side of that is that it’s a little hard to do Kara Zor-El without at least acknowledging her more famous cousin. Very little has been confirmed about the contents of the show, or if Superman will play any sort of a role in the story. That said, Dean Cain, who played Superman in the ’90s television show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, has been cast in an undisclosed role for the pilot. He’ll join Helen Slater, who played Supergirl in the ’80s film version, two casting decisions that were probably (and successfully) made to generate hype for the new show. Still, it hasn’t been confirmed that their roles are limited to the pilot, so Dean Cain might just be reprising his old role, after all.
If Superman is in the new show, it could generate some quality drama, with Supergirl trying to carve out her own path without getting upstaged by Superman. It wouldn’t be a bad idea—one of the biggest knocks on Superman is that he’s so powerful that it’s difficult to create compelling drama outside of his struggle with being an outsider and trying desperately to fit in. While that’s compelling, it can also become a little tired. With Superman as an ally and a foil, along with the same role as outsider, Supergirl could prove to be a much more compelling television character, and knowing that people from Arrow and The Flash are involved suggests that she’s in good hands from the outset—should be a fun show to check out this fall.