Warning: This article contains spoilers from the premiere episode of Supergirl.
When Supergirl star Melissa Benoist appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she told the host of the eponymous show that she felt she was ready for the extreme fandom that might come with being Supergirl.
If the early reviews for Supergirl are any indication, Benoist had better hope that signing autographs and posing for selfies is one of her own super powers.
As with any good superhero story, Supergirl begins with the origin story. Everyone knows Superman’s origin story. He was sent in a flying pod from Krypton as a baby and landed on Earth. What you didn’t know is that his older cousin — named Kara Zorel on Krypton, Kara Danvers on Earth — was sent in a separate flying pod, instructed to watch over her cousin on Earth. Her pod accidentally got stuck in the Phantom Zone — like a black hole where time doesn’t pass — for 24 years (all while Supergirl-to-be slept) before mysteriously escaping and landing on Earth. Her little cousin was now her big cousin, and he clearly didn’t need any help from a twelve-year-old. He found a family that would raise her much like the Kents did for him.
Only her older cousin and her new adopted family — parents Jeremiah (Dean Cain) and Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater) and sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) — know of Kara’s extraterrestrial home and super-powered abilities. Kara keeps her identity a secret and lives a relatively normal life. Like her Kryptonian cousin (who is rarely referenced by the name “Superman” on Supergirl), Kara works for a company that reports the news (enter Calista Flockhart as her boss, “Cat”). As we learn in the first episode, she is still a lowly intern and feels as though she is meant to do so much more with her life.
Then, as Alex is headed overseas, Kara learns that her plane is about to crash. She saves the plane and her cousin, “Supergirl,” is born. We also find out that Alex is secretly working for the DEO (Department of Extra-Normal Operations), a branch of the government that was designed specifically to track things like Superman and Supergirl — and anyone else who has come to Earth. We learn that a large ship full of space criminals crashed on Earth at the same time as Supergirl, and most of them want to kill Supergirl because her Kryptonian mother was the one that put them away back on Krypton.
And so the backstory is set for the newest superhero television series.
And the general consensus is that Supergirl is a show worth checking out! In an era when superheroes are often portrayed as dark characters on television, USA Today picked up on Supergirl‘s “optimism, it’s sense of fun.” Benoist plays the role of Supergirl in a manner that exudes “pure joy.” Her awkward attempts at online dating and her efforts to please her boss make Kara/Supergirl a protagonist you really feel for.
Another thing that Colbert asked Melissa about was how feminism played into the show and the main character. Indeed, that is what a lot of people seem to be interested in. USA Today praised Supergirl and noted that the show “is not going to be shy about its feminism… There is nothing subtle about this feminism.” Entertainment Weekly reiterated Benoist’s answer on the Late Show that Supergirl is feminist in that it’s a show for everyone. The LA Times noted that Supergirl just adds one more strong female to the CBS line-up, which already includes The Good Wife and Madame Secretary.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find any strong criticism of Supergirl thus far.
If you missed it, you could still watch the premiere episode of Supergirl in full at CBS.com. The second episode of Supergirl will air next Monday night at 8/7 CST on CBS.
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