This year’s Television Critics’ Association press tour revealed some interesting tidbits about Greg Berlanti’s Supergirl prequel series. For one, since it’s airing on CBS, it will indeed match a lot of the networks’ dramas in being a crime procedural. But lest you think this is CSI: Metropolis, CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler stressed the serialized arcs they’re planning, as well as the emphasis on making Kara Zor-El a compelling primetime female character.
…A compelling primetime female character who they haven’t cast yet. The network has been searching for weeks for their lead, Tassler said, and they’re looking for an unknown. All the better to play the twenty-something Kryptonian who, after a lifetime of hiding her powers, embraces her extraordinary abilities and her superhero destiny.
We now know that this will include a crime-of-the-week setup, so that in every episode we get to see Kara bring justice to Metropolis. However, Tassler compared Supergirl to CBS’ current primetime dramas in terms of the overarching plot (referring, we’re assuming, to characters’ more personal dramas):
The beauty of it is now with shows like Good Wife and Madam Secretary, you can have serialized story elements woven into a case of the week. She’s a crime solver, so she’s going to have to solve a crime. She’s going to get a bad guy.
Tassler also emphasized that the show isn’t just about Kara’s powers, but that it’s also a coming-of-age tale for a woman in early adulthood:
[She’s] a very strong, independent young woman. She’s coming into her own. She’s dealing with family issues. She’s dealing with work issues. It’s a female empowerment story. If you look at the strong female characters we have on the air, it really is resonant of that … We’re big feminists. It’s her intellect, it’s her skill, it’s her smarts. It’s all of those elements. It’s not just her strength, which she does have.
And who can play this kind of woman?
She’s got to be an every woman. She’s got to be specific. She’s got to be a terrific actor. I think back to having had the good fortune of being at Warner Bros. when we were doing Lois & Clark, the chemistry between Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher was really wonderful. So I think in this case, it’s looking for someone who embodies both the freshness and the exuberance of being a young woman in today’s challenging climate and being someone who can carry this kind of series on her shoulders. It’s a big, big show.
“Freshness and exuberance of being a young woman” sounds more like the tagline for a feminine hygiene product commercial, but it’s early days. At any rate, this certainly clarifies what CBS is looking at Supergirl to be.
Oh, and apparently her costume is “awesome,” so she’s got that going for her.
Image: DC Comics