MARCH 6, 2015 | 01:00PM PT
Elizabeth Wagmeister

“Supergirl” has finally arrived.

The first photos of Melissa Benoist as Supergirl were released Friday, just as production begins on the CBS pilot, which is based on characters from DC Comics.

The costume (pictured) was designed by three-time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood, who also designed the suits for two other DC Comics television properties, “The Flash” and “Arrow” of the CW.

Atwood, who’s been nominated for Academy Awards an additional eight times, was also the costume designer behind “Into the Woods,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Chicago,” among others.

“Supergirl,” in contention for the 2015-16 season, follows Kara Danvers/Kara Zor-El (Benoist, “Glee,” “Whiplash”), Superman’s cousin, at age 24, when she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be, after leaving Krypton and hiding her powers.

Other series regulars include Calista Flockhart (“Ally McBeal,” “Brothers & Sisters”), who will play Kara’s tough boss at CatCo, Cat Grant; Mehcad Brooks (“Desparate Housewives,” “True Blood”), who will co-star as Kara’s love interest, Jimmy Olsen; Chyler Leigh (“Grey’s Anatomy”), who’s been cast as Kara’s doctor sister, Alex Danvers; and David Harewood (“Homeland”), as supervillain Hank Henshaw, better known as Cyborg Superman in the DC Comics world.

Laura Benanti will appear in a major recurring arc, playing Kara’s birth mother, Alura Zor-El.

Helen Slater, who starred in the 1984 “Supergirl” feature, and Superman vet Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”) are set for secret roles.

The project hails from exec producers and writers Greg Berlanti (“The Flash,” “Arrow”), Ali Adler and Andrew Kreisberg. Sarah Schechter will also serve as an exec producer, and Glen Winter will direct the pilot. Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television will produce.

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"I don't date older men, and besides, he's married."

I laughed at that too. I also laughed when they said Superman was off on a "space mission." Of course he was.

I didn't understand why they bothered to bring him back and come up with that wacky "nuture vs. nature" explanation. Plus, if you've got Supergirl's super-powerful cousin (and your own nephew) available at your command, why bother suiting up her sorta-sister in a big kryptonite-fueled exoskeleton (?) to kill her?

I also was struck by her impassioned speech at the end. It seemed a bit overdone given how arrogant and clueless she is at other times, but it came across as heartfelt. Sadly, I envisioned the movie guys rolling on the floor laughing at it. 

-- MSA

I completely agree with Washington Post TV critic Hank Steuver (with a spoiler photo spoiler.gif here for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, if you care):

Well, at least Jimmy Olsen is still alive in "Supergirl's" world. I heard the character gets killed off right away in that new Batman/Superman movie that looks so dreadful.

Speaking of, my brilliant thought about all this (which I'm sure a million others have had and probably even written about; the Internet is very big, you know) is that DC should just stick to its television success. In trying to out-franchise Marvel on the big-screen, it seems capable of only making grim, pretentious turds. But on TV it seems to find itself, the essence of the DC worldview and sensibility. It's more fun, too.

It's apparent that WB/DC has less control or at least lets the director/showrunner lead things. So when they get it (like Berlanti), it's received favorably for the most part. And when they give it to someone who doesn't understand the characters so much, they get something else. 

I don't know if it's a matter that they take their movies "seriously" and TV is just throwaway culture (which would be a laughable approach), but it's amazing that the same company can be licensing BvS and Supergirl.

It's interesting that Marvel not only occasionally brings in movie actors to cameo on Agents of SHIELD, like Fury or Sif (although there's been less of that this year), but they even coordinated the events, so the TV show changed right after the movie came out revealing new information on Hydra that impacted the show. That was amazing coordination.

Meanwhile, TV's Supergirl is saying, "Superman doesn't kill!" Uh, yeah, okay. It's apparent WB/DC's movies and TV are completely different things.

BTW, Civil War apparently has been previewed for critics, and the initial tweets are saying that it's the best Marvel movie yet. And since at its core is a similar premise to BvS, a number are taking the opportunity to criticize BvS again. You've gotta really hate a movie to mention how much it sucks in a later, unrelated review.

-- MSA

TV's Supergirl also has a Jimmy -- excuse me, James -- Olsen who is alive and well, because the TV people thought it was fun to have him be a link to Superman and a possible love interest for Supergirl, where the movie people thought there was no place for him and it was "fun" to kill him dead.

Part of it, I think, is that superhero adventures were always created to be episodic, so by nature they're better suited to TV than movies. I was listening to a movie podcast where Batman Returns came up. They mentioned the moment at the end where Bruce takes off his cowl to Selina -- a moment I remember recoilng from as a kid, because Batman would never do that. But the podcast guest's point was, comic-book Batman would never do it, because he needed to start the next issue in basically the same place as he started this issue. But movie Batman pretty much HAS to show some lasting character growth in order for it to be a satisfying movie. 

Marvel seems to have figured out how to achieve that growth without betraying the character. Warner Brothers is much less successful at it.

Season Finale:

If this episode would have stopped just short of the cliffhanger, it would have made a pretty decent series finale (if it doesn’t come back).

Who’s in the pod? My guess: Glenn! :P

We were guessing Krypto. Glenn who?

I was riffing on the Walking Dead season cliffhanger. :)

I was (seriously) thinking Krypto, too, except I read somewhere the season cliffhanger would set up next season. Will season two center on Krypto...?

A Kryptonian super-dog sounds good in theory (and maybe on the comics page), but...

I thought it was interesting how much they played up the notion that the Super-Family offers hope to everyone--which ties in with the emblem not being an S, which even the movie uses. But boy, those scenes are certainly not ones we'll ever see in a movie.

I"m still surprised they brought Superman back from his "space mission" just to show his boots in the ER. It seemed extra effort to no benefit. I'm really impressed by how much they show JJ in his Martian form, and how recognizable he is. That's devotion to the cause!

I loved the talk about how in outer space she won't be able to do things like "generate thrust." Let's not think about that too long.

It did seem like a wrap-up, but they've seemed to indicate it's being renewed, even if they haven't done it yet. I don't know why they'd hold off unless they really think they might have something better. Maybe they're waiting to see the season-ending ratings.

-- MSA

I have a question. If Supergirl can't fly in space, then how could Superman be on a space mission?

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