Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Guest Who! Quite Cape-able

While watching NFL football on CBS, I kept seeing promo blurbs for Supergirl (2015-), "the hero America's been waiting for," a new TV series spurred on by the relative successes of Arrow (2012-), The Flash (2014-) and others. I generally watch almost no scripted network series, but finally curiosity got the best of me and I looked at the pilot to see who was in it. The titular character is played by Melissa Benoist (a former cast member of Glee who was the first auditionee for the part and got it, but not before a thousand other young ladies were considered!)

Benoist's antagonist on the series (her secret identity's domineering boss at a publishing conglo- merate, lending a The Devil Wears Prada feel) is played by Calista Flockhart, a performer I have successfully avoided from 1989 till now, but even she didn't bother me as her character is meant to be loathsome. (That character being Cat Grant, created in the comics in 1987 and portrayed for one season, 1993-1994, on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman by Tracy Scoggins.)

What made me decide to watch the pilot episode was the stunt casting of Supergirl's adoptive parents on earth. Arriving years after her more famous cousin Superman, thanks to an unexpected detour to a zone in which time was frozen for her, she is greeted by the hero (shown only in silhouette) who now older than her instead of younger as he was back on Krypton!

He takes her to live with a couple of married scientists who had proven helpful to him in his own youth, The Danvers. We see the couple walking from their oceanfront home to greet Superman and his young cousin.

Upon closer inspection, we see that the mother, Eliza Danvers, is being played by Helen Slater and the father, Jeremiah Danvers, is portrayed by Dean Cain!

This is fun because Slater is best known for her cinematic debut as Supergirl (1984), in which she was a beautiful and appealing young actress caught in something of a messy movie. She's only given a line or two in this pilot episode as the story wants to chug along and get to the heroine's adulthood.

Cain (who fares even worse since he is given no lines and is barely seen!) is also an entertaining bit of casting since he was the star of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997.) Despite the fact that he was vastly underutilized, it was neat to see him on the show. (Slater, at least, has another guest spot in the can which will be seen on November 23rd.)

When Slater was Supergirl and Cain was Superman, we had not yet decided that it was abhorrent to wear saturated primary colors when portraying a superhero.
Now, all live-action projects centered around comic book heroes feature darkened, dulled renditions of the costumes that made the characters famous in the first place.
Thus, Supergirl's outfit is in line with this new trend. (Even her hair is far less blonde.) I wasn't sure what to expect out of this show, but I must say the pilot, and Benoist's considerable charm, won me over. For the moment, it's in my DVR as a series to record. Can we get a guest spot from Faye Dunaway as Selena?  Ha!


Gingerguy said...

Poseidon, you and I are on the same (comic book) page on a lot of this. Like your aversion to Calista, I have avoided any superhero tv shows like the plague. There has been a lot of buzz about the feminism of this show (always welcome) but now I don't have to even watch a little thanks to this post. First of all, Tracy Scoggins is the true immortal to me, not only for "The Colby's" but even recently for "Dante's Cove" where her Witch really stood out among the naked men and crazy plots. That's not easy if you have ever seen that show. I love the picture of Faye Dunaway, she was a scream in "Supergirl". The casting of Helen Slater is really nice, she looks so pretty, and Dean can play Daddy anytime if you ask me!

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

I am one of those poor unfortunates who watched Glee pretty much until the bitter end. The first 13 episodes (the original order) were magical, and everything else that followed mostly was awful. Poor Melissa was stuck in the bad years with a bad storyline, nevertheless, she can clearly sing and often had a big number to show off her voice and charm. I'm happy that she got this role, but I think Smallville burned me out on all things Super.

Anonymous said...

I saw Supergirl the year it opened and I'm still waiting for my money back. Not even Peter O'Toole or Brenda Vaccaro's sassy performance could save it.
I don't watch much TV, but I do hope the show fares better.
I wonder why the superhero movies are still so popular. I mean, there's new releases and new franchises and reboots every year for the last 15 years or so and there's always seem to be a willing audience. I keep thinking of Tina Turner singing "We Don't Need Another Hero", but apparently we do.

Poseidon3 said...

Gingerguy, when I was young I LOVED superheroes. I always tuned in to "Super Friends" on Saturday mornings and enjoyed other similar cartoons as well. And "Wonder Woman" with Lynda Carter? I adored her. I even liked "The Flash" with John Wesley Shipp, but was never into "The Incredible Hulk" much. There was a one-shot (well, two if you count a "roast" that followed later) called "Legends of the Superheroes" and I was crazy about it! But so many shitty movies were made, some that never saw the light of day like "Fantastic Four" by Roger Corman and "Justice League." By the time this most recent craze took hold I was beyond fully grown and never got on board with it (and, anyway, few of the heroes are anything like the ones I loved as a kid.) I've never seen any "Dante's Cove" but will try to sometime.

Dave, I've never seen any "Glee" nor any "Smallville." Regarding the latter, I saw not long ago where both Dean Cain and Helen Slater appeared on that show, too, so my post about them on "Supergirl" is rather anticlimactic! Slater played Lara-El, Superboy's real mother, on three occasions, in fact.

Armando, before I began blogging, I was a prolific imdb.com reviewer (I guess user commentor would be more apt) and I wrote about "Supergirl," giving it a negative assessment for the most part (even though I've always enjoyed it on a good/bad, tacky level.) Immediately, fans of the film descended like rabid wolves on my post and, to this day, more than six years later, that ranks as 801 out of 801 in terms of my lowest rated review ("least useful") there. It was at the bottom days after I wrote it and never left! So someone out there really loves it!! I have the movie on DVD and there are two or three versions of it included!! Also a very hooty promo with Faye Dunaway acting as if she's about to give the world another "Star Wars" or even more. (It's worth watching simply to hear her say the word, "Suuupergarrrl.")

Gingerguy said...

I saw "Legends Of The Superheroes"! the roast one, OMG forgot all about that. It was a grainy dvd but enough to see that, Adam West and Frank Gorshin should have fired their agents.