“Supergirl” takes flight on the CBS schedule Monday night boosted by strong reviews and social media buzz. This new addition to the fabled DC Comics “Superman” franchise could be one to watch at next year’s Emmys, particularly for Melissa Benoist who takes on the title role.
With an jaw-dropping 96% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, “Supergirl” is not just another entertaining but empty popcorn fantasy for the younger crowd. As the rave reviews excerpted below repeatedly mention, there’s more to this show than meets the eye. That has a lot to do with the star quality of Benoist. She lights up the screen as the show’s rookie superhero. It’s a timely female-centric fantasy drama that gives girls someone strong and independent to root for. What’s not to like?
Robert Bianco (USA Today): “The show could not work if the blend of joy, shyness and hesitant self-assertion Benoist brings to her role did not seem just about perfect.”
Verne Gay (Newsday): “The former ‘Glee’ star eschews mystery and melancholy — done to death by Spidey — and instead embraces wonder and innocence.”
Matt Roush (TV Insider): “Benoist rises to the occasion, cloaked in an endearing dorkiness and earnest gumption that compares well with Christopher Reeve‘s classic interpretation of Kara’s better-known Man-of-Steel cousin.”
Matt Zoller Seitz (Vulture): “It’s a very sweet, likable series, temperamentally opposed to the preferred superhero template of pumped-up guys with T-square jaws brooding in the rain. But it would be wrong to describe it as fluff or light entertainment.”
There’s no shortage of superheroes on film and TV these days: “Arrow” and “The Flash” on the CW, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter” on ABC and “Marvel’s Daredevil” on Netflix. Apart from a couple of below-the-line nominations, these shows have not broken through with Emmy voters
For “Supergirl,” nominations in numerous creative arts categories (including for legendary Oscar-winning costumer Colleen Atwood) are most likely. And there is an outside chance for Benoist, who might follow in the footsteps of Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) in the Best Drama Actress category.
Various incarnations of the “Superman” franchise featured at past Emmys. “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (starring a much younger Dean Cain, who perhaps not so coincidentally also feratures in “Supergirl”) garnered five Emmy nominations over its run, including a Best Drama Directing nod for Robert Butler‘s helming of the pilot); he lost to one of four “NYPD Blue” episodes in 1994. “Smallville,” the WB’s take on the franchise also garnered seven Emmy nods over its run, all in creative arts categories, and won three for Best Sound Editing).
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Photo: Melissa Benoist in “Supergirl” Credit: CBS.