However dominant Marvel might be at the movie theater, DC Entertainment is poised to become equally strong when it comes to the small screen, and that dominance may continue to grow beyond the upcoming 2014-15 season. As “Arrow” enters season three and “The Flash” set to kick off in a few weeks, executive producer Greg Berlanti recently confirmed that if he has his way, another DC Comics superhero may soon get their own show — Superman’s often overlooked cousin, Supergirl.
“We’re just starting to work on it,” Berlanti told CBR News. “We haven’t gone to the networks yet, so. I’ll be happy, very excited to talk about it once we know where its home will be and that kind of stuff, but not at this moment.”
Unlike Wonder Woman, the DC heroine most often mislabeled as “tricky,” Supergirl actually is a tough character to adapt. A half-dozen different characters have taken on the name since she debuted back in 1958, and countless reboots and retcons have only complicated the character’s identity even more. With that said, here are some takes on Supergirl we think could make for some fine television.
You can’t mess with the original Supergirl — except, of course, when you can. Kara Zor-El was the last survivor of a Krypton’s Argo City, and made her way to Earth following the planet’s destruction. On Earth, the teenager disguised herself as a human orphan named Linda Lee Danvers, using her Superman-esque powers to help those in need. The original Kara was even allowed to age. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, she was adopted, graduated from high school, attended college and went through all the standard alter-ego careers (actress, reporter, etc.). That trajectory could map beautifully onto an ongoing television series pretty well, or, if the producers prefer, any one of those status quos — teenage orphan, independent college student, young career woman — could easily support a television show. Most importantly, none of them depend on a version of Superman hanging around.
NEW 52 KARA
The modern iteration of Supergirl remains both Superman’s cousin and a survivor of Krypton’s explosion, but now, she’s been in suspended animation in her escape pod for a much longer time. Her baby cousin, Kal-El, grew up while she was traveling to Earth, and is now older than she is. She wakes up in modern day Russia, overwhelmed by her new super powers and unsure of where she fits in on the strange new planet. This run has been defined by its mix of teen angst, drama and slow burn pacing — which actually sound like buzzwords used to describe a lot of CW shows. If that network gets involved in “Supergirl’s” development, the show may very well look a lot like this.
This take on the character was just as awesomely convoluted as you’d expect from a ’90s version of Supergirl. Peter David and Gary Frank introduced this Post-Crisis version of the character in 1996, merging the newly created Linda Danvers — not to be confused with the original Supergirl’s alter-ego — with another Post-Crisis Supergirl that had been introduced by John Byrne eight years earlier. You still following this? Okay — Byrne’s shapeshifting artificial lifeform from an alternate reality merged with a troubled teenager (Linda) from the main DCU right as the girl was being sacrificed to a demon by her no good boyfriend. Yeah, that is a rather crazy backstory, but it could easily be streamlined into something that works on television. A cop’s daughter gets involved with the wrong crowd and left for dead, and an alien entity saves her life by merging with her, thus empowering her with super powers. Simple! And if the series had even a fraction of the inventiveness and heart of PAD’s scripts, there’s no reason it couldn’t be a winner.
POWER GIRL (KARA ZOR-L)
One of the rumored details about the show involves the possibility that the series may not even be called “Supergirl” — after all, there probably won’t be a small screen version of Superman while Henry Cavill’s flying around in feature films. That’s why Power Girl, essentially the Supergirl of Earth-2, makes so much more sense as both a protagonist and a series title. “Power Girl” could use all the bits that work from Kara Zor-El’s origin, and mix it with all of Power Girl’s best attributes, specifically the fan-favorite run done by Amanda Conner, Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti. A series taking this approach would star a vivacious superhero, saving lives and soaring through the New York City skyline without the shadow of her more famous cousin always threatening to encroach upon her story.
Of course, Berlanti and company could simply continue the adventures of the Supergirl we already met in “Smallville.” Laura Vandervoort played the character in the show’s seventh season and guest-starred several times later on in the show’s run. This version of the character combines aspects of a number of Karas we’ve seen before; she was sent to watch over Clark, but remained trapped in suspended animation for eighteen years, thus allowing her cousin to meet her in age. “Smallville” ended with the character traveling to the 31st century, which could serve as the jumping off point for a series starring Kara and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Or, the new show could feature the character’s return to and adventures in the present day. Either way, there’s still a strong “Smallville” fanbase, and returning to that universe might not be a bad idea.
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