Happiness is a Warm TV

Fall TV: ‘Supergirl’ should fly high for CBS

Melissa Benoist (left) and Chyler Leigh in “Supergirl.”
Melissa Benoist (left) and Chyler Leigh in “Supergirl.” CBS

New show: Supergirl

When: 8:30 p.m. Monday on CBS

Cast: Melissa Benoist, Calista Flockhart, Chyler Leigh, Mehcad Brooks, Jeremy Jordan, Dean Cain, Helen Slater

Premise: This exciting new superhero drama doesn’t feel like a CBS show at all.

The strong pilot introduces Kara Zor-El (Benoist) as the cousin of Superman, who has his same powers but uses none of them. Instead, she has embraced a “normal” life, working as the beleaguered assistant to a media mogul (Flockhart). Kara’s powers are unknown to everyone in her life except her adopted sister (Leigh), until a crashing airplane forces her into hero mode and she – though not her actual identity – is revealed to the world.

The plot mirrors the Superman story quite a bit; like Clark Kent, Kara works at a media company (called CatCo) and when she wears glasses, no one can tell she’s the second-most famous hero in the world, even though her face isn’t obscured while in her costume. She even has a Jimmy Olsen. In fact, she has THE Jimmy Olsen (Brooks), only now he goes by James and works with Kara at CatCo. Her work pal Winn (Jordan) is also in on her secret.

I’m not usually a homer for any ol’ superhero show, but “Supergirl” feels like a winner. It has a nostalgic vibe but also feels fresh and fun. Kudos to CBS for stepping outside its crime procedural comfort zone.