CBS wasted no time at the TV critics’ summer press tour Monday getting to its buzziest new primetime series of the fall, “Supergirl.”
Producers and stars packed the panel, where a new trailer for the show was unveiled.
Here are seven things to know about the Girl of Steel and her small-screen debut:
1. Supergirl is pretty pumped about being able to fly, kick ass and exercise all of those muscles she’d spent the last dozen years keeping under wraps. “One of the great joys of Supergirl is that she really loves being Supergirl,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said.
A lot of superheroes come off as blase or ambivalent when it comes to their powers. The look of unfettered happiness on star Melissa Benoist’s face when she flies in the pilot is exactly the vibe they were going for. “She’s such a beacon of hope,” Benoist said about her character. “I knew that her bravery and strength was so intrinsic and important to who she is and that I really needed to feel [that] in myself in order to play it.”
2. As soon as Benoist auditioned for Supergirl, producers wanted to put a ring on it. “But we still needed to date the nation,” executive producer Ali Adler (“The New Normal”) said, referring to a long list of actresses who read for the role. The “Glee” star said she was all in as soon as she saw the Supergirl email in her inbox. “I just knew automatically that it was something important and it was something exciting and rare and that I wanted to be a part of,” Benoist said. She tried out for the role last year, the day after Halloween. Producers said Benoist was the first and, by far, the best. For the record, so were Stephen Amell in “Arrow” and Grant Gustin in “The Flash.”
3. The first batch of nine episodes will see the roll out of some colorful characters, including Lucy Lane. Lois Lane’s baby sister will be introduced in the third episode and played by “Witches of East End” star Jenna Dewan-Tatum. She has a romantic history with Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks). And Lucy’s dad, General Sam Lane, “will be coming to town with an agenda,” Kreisberg said. “We’re also going to have the Red Tornado, who’s another DC Comics iconic character. And then we’re also going to be introducing Non, a Kryptonian villain who was memorably played in [Richard] Donner’s ‘Superman II.’ We’re going to be having a slightly different take on the character.”
4. No character crossovers are planned as of right now with Arrow and the Flash, two other Greg Berlanti-produced DC Comics shows on CBS’s sister network, The CW. All three superheroes will come together for promotional purposes but not on their respective shows, CBS Entertainment Chief Nina Tassler told reporters. Of course, that’s subject to change. And my guess is it will. Just not right away. As Entertainment Weekly points out, there’s already a big “Arrow” and “The Flash” crossover event in the works this season to launch the upcoming spinoff “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.”
5. Don’t hold your breath for a Superman sighting. Supergirl, aka Kara Zor-El, was sent to Earth to watch over her cousin and fellow Krypton native, Superman. Her trip took an unexpected detour and by the time she arrived, Superman didn’t need much hand-holding. “He will be a factor in her life but you won’t see him exactly on screen,” said Geoff Johns, chief creative office DC Entertainment. That’s too bad for Calista Flockhart, who plays Kara’s ice queen boss, editor Cat Grant. Flockhart told producers on the panel that she’d like a romantic storyline between her character and Superman, prompting one reporter to ask how Han Solo and Indiana Jones might feel about that. (Flockhart laughed and said he’d have to ask her husband, Harrison Ford.)
6. Kryptonite isn’t her only weakness. Sure, Supergirl can fly and she’s crazy strong and impervious to bullets. But this is a TV series and there needs to be a sense of jeopardy to keep the dramatic tension going. “Week in and out, you want to feel like Supergirl might not survive,” Kreisberg said. Nonetheless, she’s got a lot of proverbial arrows in her quiver. Among them: X-ray, heat, microscopic and telescopic vision. “She might even grow to become more powerful than Superman,” according to CBS press materials, “if she can learn to control her new abilities.”
7. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s “The Big Bang!” CBS’s top-rated comedy will give “Supergirl” quite a lift off as the lead-in to the series premiere at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern) Oct. 26. “Supergirl” will then have to learn to fly on her own in the show’s regular timeslot at 8 p.m. (Eastern) Mondays starting Nov. 2.
CBS on Monday released a new trailer for the show: