Flying onto our screens in 2015, Supergirl was the third take on a DC Comics character by executive producer Greg Berlanti. Met with skepticism initially due to its “flick chick” styled trailer, the series found its niche pretty quickly with a likeable lead character and family friendly heroics that marked it as very different to the increasingly dark and brooding Superman on the big screen.
With two seasons under its belt and with a third on the way, we choose five of the best episodes which are indicative of how great Kara Zor-El and her adventures are…
Pilot (S1, E1)
With a trailer that was met with a somewhat hostile reaction, Supergirl arrived with a lot to prove, and prove it she did. With a teleplay by Ali Adler, and a story by Adler, Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, right from its opening moments, Supergirl sets out its stall as a series that promises action, adventure and humour, with a touch of angst. Setting up its characters and stories with aplomb, this is a gloriously fun pilot episode.
Filmed in Los Angeles as opposed to Vancouver (although the show would move there for its second season), the series immediately looks sunny in comparison to Arrow and The Flash. Melissa Benoist owns the role of Kara immediately and brings a wealth of charm and layer to the character, but the show is nearly stolen wholesale by Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant, and best of all, the chemistry between her and Benoist, so winning here, will prove to be a winning foundation on which to rest the show, more so than the “romances” offered by any of the male characters (I’m looking at you Jimmy Olsen and Mon-El).
Top marks for casting Helen Slater and Dean Cain as the Danvers’, the family who adopt young Kara, one of many lovely pieces of casting dotted throughout the Berlanti-DC television universe.
Falling (S1, E16)
You can never go wrong with Red Kryptonite, unless you’re from the House of El of course. Smallville was always a blast whenever it let Tom Welling act like a complete jerk and Supergirl is no exception with ‘Falling’, which sees Kara exposed to the red stuff. Featuring great performances from everyone, Benoist is superb as a darker, meaner Kara, whilst Chyler Leigh pretty much confirmed her place as one of Supergirl’s MVP’s with a brilliantly anguished performance as Alex. Best of all there is a lovely little reference to Superman III’s evil Superman sequence involving a bar and some nuts that is an undeniable highlight of the season.
Best of all, the series doesn’t shy away from the negative impact of “evil” Kara’s actions, as her increasingly dangerous behaviour causes Hank Henshaw to out himself as Martian Manhunter. Both this and the next episode, ‘Manhunter’, show David Harewood to be one of many brilliant additions to the cast. Make no mistakes, however, this is truly Benoist’s episode, and she does such a great job of playing a more antagonistic version of her beloved and sweet-natured Kara that it’s sometimes disturbing to see her lash out at those she loves, especially Alex.
World’s Finest (S1, E18)
Premiering on the CBS network, the prospect of crossovers with the other Berlanti DC shows weren’t outside the realm of possibilities since CBS part owned The CW, but the show’s filming in Los Angeles meant it was a difficult possibility, but the stars aligned to allow Grant Gustin to come in for ‘World’s Finest’. The chemistry between Gustin and Benoist, who had previously appeared in Glee together, is such a winning combination, and being released the same week as Batman v Superman, the episode was a lovely chance to see a teaming up of famed DC characters that was actually fun, with a promising sense of adventure, instead of darkness and somewhat murky complexity.
Better yet, there is even a reference to the show and its cast being like that of a CW series by Cat Grant, with Flockhart once again showing that she was the show’s most scene stealing best character.