CBS has unveiled an extended first look at “Supergirl,” starring Melissa Benoist as the highflying DC Comics heroine.
The one-hour drama, which was picked up by CBS last week, centers on Superman’s similarly super-powered cousin Kara Zor-El, who also escaped Krypton before it was destroyed. “Glee” and “Whiplash” actress Benoist plays a 24-year-old Kara who works as an assistant to a media mogul but who is ready to stop hiding her powers and become a hero.
The trailer, released Wednesday, opens with an emotional goodbye on Krypton as Kara’s mother, Alura Zor-El (Laura Benanti), tells her young daughter, “On Earth, you will do extraordinary things.”
Viewers are introduced to grown-up Kara via the standard rom-com setup, with Kara toting coffee and making calls for her high-powered boss, self-made media magnate Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), whose icy sashay into the office calls to mind Meryl Streep’s magazine queen in “The Devil Wears Prada.” (The scene is not unlike Scarlett Johansson’s recent “Saturday Night Live” spoof of a trailer for a stand-alone Black Widow movie.)
Enter Jimmy Olsen (“James Olsen,” he corrects in the trailer), a former Daily Planet photographer and Superman ally who now works with Kara at CatCo, presumably to guide her at Superman’s request. The character is played by “True Blood” alumnus
“Supergirl” also features “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Chyler Leigh as Supergirl’s foster sister, Alexandra “Alex” Danvers, a doctor whose fascination with her sister’s powers inspired her lifelong obsession with science. The name Danvers is a nod to Linda Danvers — the name of several alternative versions of Supergirl throughout comics history.
“I feel like I’m not living up to my potential. I just fetch layouts and coffee,” Kara tells Alex in the trailer. “I’m not normal. I can lift a bus. I can stop a bullet. … I can fly! At least I think I can.”
It’s an engine failure on Alex’s plane that serves as the catalyst for Kara’s first flight and step into the spotlight. Cat Grant dubs the heroine “Supergirl” — a moniker Kara takes issue with.
“Shouldn’t she be called ‘Superwoman’?” she asks.
“What do you think is so bad about girl?” Cat challenges Kara, and, it would seem, TV viewers who might be questioning the show’s more traditionally feminine take on a superhero series. “I’m a girl and your boss and powerful and rich and hot and smart. So if you perceive ‘Supergirl’ as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?'”
The cast also includes Dean Cain, who famously starred on the 1990s series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” and Helen Slater, who played the superheroine in the critically panned 1984 film “Supergirl,” which also featured Faye Dunaway.
David Harewood (“Homeland”) plays Hank Henshaw. In the comics, Henshaw is a supervillain also known as the Cyborg or Cyborg Superman. In the series, Henshaw is a former CIA agent who now runs the Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO), which tracks extraterrestrial threats.
“Supergirl” is helmed by “No Ordinary Family” team Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash”) and Ali Adler (“Chuck,” “Glee”), with Sarah Schechter (“Pan”) also executive producing.