NYCC '15: TV's New Supergirl Defines New Characters And Redefines Classics

By Rich Epstein

2015-10-11 14.56.25Some New York Comic Con fans, myself included, were lucky enough to see the full pilot for Supergirl Sunday morning. The show was good, and the fans in the crowd really seemed to enjoy it. This was a pilot, so there was a lot of time spent introducing us to the characters and the world, but it never got boring. For the spoiler-phobic, some brief spoliers from the first fifteen minutes or so follow.

The pilot opens on Krypton, with young Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) being given the task of protecting her baby cousin on Earth. Unfortunately, her ship goes off course and ends up in the Phantom Zone, where she sleeps without aging for 24 years.  When she finally makes it to Earth, she finds that her cousin no longer needs her help. The world is already aware of the hero living in Metropolis. In fact, he finds her when she lands, her cousin places her with her foster family, the Danvers.

We skip to a grown-up Kara Danvers, working as an assistant for Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), the owner of a media corporation. She hasn't used her powers in a very long time, choosing instead to try and be a normal person. Needless to say, Kara will soon be forced to make a choice, and she will choose to use her powers to help people. Good thing, or there wouldn't be much of a show.

The pilot does a good job of jumping ahead into the action, with a couple of really good action scenes. It also directly addresses her being called "Supergirl" rather than "Superwoman."

After the pilot, there was a brief Q&A with Ali Adler, the executive producer and showrunner, Mehcad Brooks (James "Don't Call Me Jimmy" Olsen) and Peter Facinelli (Maxwell Lord). Facinelli wasn't in the pilot, but will be in the second episode of the season.

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Adler opened by commenting on how much she enjoyed being able to use a character that hasn't appeared much in recent years. It gave them a lot of freedom to go their own way and create new characters, like Kara's sister, that will be a big part of the story.

Brooks plays a very different James Olsen than we have seen. He's older, more self-confident, and already friends with Superman. One thing we were emphatically told by Adler was that there will be no Elastic Lad … at least not this season.

Brooks told the audience that he spent every day wondering if he was going to be fired. The African-American actor knows that he doesn't look like any Jimmy Olsen we've seen before, but Adler assured everyone that Brooks was the only Olsen they wanted.

Facinelli told us that his character will have good intentions. He will be a billionaire who firmly believes that mankind has to save itself without any alien help.

Adler told the crowd that the show would definitely address why Superman is not around to help his cousin. She also said we would see a few of his classic villains, including Reactron, Red Tornado and Toyman.

Supergirl will premier on October 29th.

Rich Epstein writes for Bleeding Cool.  He can be found on Twitter at @kaspe_r11.