Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Supergirl Show News - Greg Berlanti & Nina Tassler

The Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour occurred this last week and, as a result, a lot of news about the Supergirl show has been coming out fast and furious. While there was no news oncasting, we are hearing a lot about the spirit of the show. I'll be putting in snippets of all the news that I have come across but as always I recommend going to the primary sites and reading the posts in their entirety.

First up, while at the Flash and Arrow panel for CW, Greg Berlanti answered some questions about the Supergirl show. Here is the link: http://collider.com/supergirl-arrow-flash-crossover/

And some of the questions:

Collider:Where are you at with casting? Are we going to hear something soon?
GREG BERLANTI:  I hope you hear about casting soon or we’re not going to be able to make the pilot.
Collider:How is the casting process coming?  What are the challenges? 
BERLANTI:  As with all these things, there’s only one person. I can’t imagine someone other than a lot of our actors playing these roles so I feel you’re always just looking for that person.

Well, we first heard about Claire Holt and then Gemma Atkinson. But one thing that I have liked is that Berlanti has talked other times about how important cast chemistry is to the success of a show. And he points to the Flash as an example. So I think that he is taking this casting very seriously. It isn't just the look. It is the attitude and the interaction with the other actors.

So the question is ... who fits the bill?

Collider:What is the tone of the show? 
BERLANTI:  I would say it’s tonally closer to The Flash than Arrow.
Collider:Does that mean more romantic? 
BERLANTI:  Well the nature of thecharacter is a bit, and who we have in her life, who we’re surrounding her with. Also, tonally I thought of those kind of characters in the DC universe.

I am glad that this is more like the Flash than Arrow. You know how much I dislike a dark take on Supergirl. So hurrah for that.

But the follow-up question is pretty lousy. "Oh ... she's a girl ... does that mean romantic?" Yes, Barry's feeling towards Iris are part of the Flash show. But romance isn't the primary tone of that show. But I would think that high action and fun are words that spring to mind more quickly about the show.

Collider:Is there a possibility Supergirl crossing over with Arrow or The Flash? 
BERLANTI:  So much has to go right. We have to make a great show.  Again, I think of myself, if I were watching it I would want to see that, but we have to get so many things right to make a good show, and so much of it is luck unfortunately.

There have been a ton or rumors that a crossover was part of the Supergirl deal. But I like that a crossover will only happen, or only mean something, if the Supergirl show is a great show and a success. I wouldn't mind seeing one ... but this would require CBS and CW to work together. Is that possible?

Collider:People have clamoring for a female led superhero project. How are you guys approaching that element of it? 
BERLANTI:  That was really important to all of us when we set out to working on it and it was really important to DC and it was really important to the women I’m working on the show with, the women that work at the studio and the women that work on the network.  In a lot of ways I’m surrounded by more women on the project that can answer the question better.
Collider:Did you learn any lessons from Wonder Woman
BERLANTI:  I think for us it’s always about learning more from our own mistakes and our own successes.  So a show like Arrow and Flash without stuff I learned on Eli Stone and No Ordinary Family probably wouldn’t exist in terms of visual effects and stunts, things like that.  Story wise, what we’ve learned on these shows, the thing we’ve always learned is how important casting is.  If you’re right on the money and you have the kind of actors we have on these shows it just makes you look so much better.

There is no question that this being a female superhero show makes it different. So it is natural that people want to discuss that distinction. And I am glad that Berlanti is discussing it.

 I know he has to answer the questions asked of him but why bring up the Wonder Woman pilot. I think he is trying to non-answer it by shifting to casting as being key, but also discussing his own past shows that didn't make it. That's pretty savvy. I hope the casting comment isn't a swipe at Adrianne Palicki.

Of course Berlanti was there with the CW. Supergirl is going to be on CBS. CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler was also making the rounds at the TCA and talked about Supergirl a fair amount. I sort of needed to splice together comments from the interview from different sites so sorry to make you click crazy.

From the  The Hollywood Reporter
Before questions were fired, Tassler touted the array of female characters on her network’s schedule, be it those on The Good Wife, Extant or Madame Secretary. “It’s a real passion for us,” she said, suggesting that Supergirl would be a logical fit for this reason, among others. (Though the project is still in development, insiders suggest it's a near lock for a pilot pick-up.) Later in the session, Tassler said she fell in love with the Greg Berlanti pitch, and she loves the idea of adding another heroine who is at once powerful and relatable to her schedule. Plus, she noted: “I love the superhero drama.”

So much like the cast chemistry being important, so too is the environment in which the show is being made. So I like that Tassler brings up the strong female characters already shining on CBS. But for me, the key thing here is that Supergirl is relatable.

I have said time and time again here that the reason I love Supergirl is that she is more relatable than Superman. She is learning, on a journey, struggling and then striving to succeed. So seeing the word 'relatable' is, for me, fantastic.

From   TVLine

As for how a fanciful superhero drama will “fit” on CBS’ procedural-filled line-up. “We’re watching an evolution with regard to the way superhero characters are portrayed. There’s a humanity, they’re flawed, there’s a relatability. These are all things that made [Supergirl] imminently relatable and made the story exciting, made it an adventure.”

Flawed can be a loaded word, but saying a character has some humanity is great. And there is that word relatable again.

Some of this makes me think that CBS feels like it needs to convince people that it isn't a kids' show or a cartoon, that 'adults' can watch this. The CW skews younger. Tassler probably feels the need to convince the viewers of CSI that they won't be embarrassed to watch Supergirl.

From Entertainment Weekly

First, since Supergirl is on CBS, you can definitely expect the show to be a crime procedural. Yet Tassler emphasized the show will have serialized elements as well. “There will be [crime] cases, but what [executive producers] Ali Adler and Greg Berlanti pitched was a real series arc for her,” she said. “The beauty of it is now with shows like Good Wife and Madam Secretary, you can have serialized story elements woven into a case of the week. She’s a crime solver, so she’s going to have to solve a crime. She’s going to get a bad guy.”

So what is the definition of 'crime procedural'? Could you label the Flash that? Each week, Flash tracks down a criminal. I can't imagine Supergirl being like Law and Order but maybe there will be more behind the scenes crime solving before a super strong punch ends things. I think the bigger question is are you wrong in trying to market Supergirl to the crowd that watches Good Wife. Those viewers might not watch regardless. And younger viewers might be turned off by the association.

I am a big Law and Order fan ... but I think you either embrace the superhero genre or reject it. CBS better decide what this show is going to be and not try to satisfy every demographic.

Tassler described the CBS version of the DC Comics icon as “a very strong, independent young woman. She’s coming into her own. She’s dealing with family issues. She’s dealing with work issues. It’s a female empowerment story. If you look at the strong female characters we have on the air, it really is resonant of that … We’re big feminists. It’s her intellect, it’s her skill, it’s her smarts. It’s all of those elements. It’s not just her strength, which she does have.”

Wow! Awesome!

This sounds like Supergirl. Trying to be the best Linda Danvers. Trying to be the best Supergirl. Using her smarts, solving problems with more than just heat vision.

And no shying away from female empowerment or the word feminist here. 

I don't think this is the just the CBS version of Supergirl ... I think this is the true version of Supergirl!

 “She’s got to be an every woman,” she said. “She’s got to be specific. She’s got to be a terrific actor. I think back to having had the good fortune of being at Warner Bros. when we were doing Lois & Clark, the chemistry between Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher was really wonderful. So I think in this case, it’s looking for someone who embodies both the freshness and the exuberance of being a young woman in today’s challenging climate and being someone who can carry this kind of series on her shoulders. It’s a big, big show.” Though there’s no actress announced yet, CBS has a costume design ready to go — one that Tassler was most definitely excited about.  “We have seen the costume,” she said. “Awesome costume.”

An "every woman" who can carry a show and be a great actor. Sounds like they are looking for someone more in the vein of Helen Slater than Gemma Atkinson. Can I plug Molly Quinn again? I expect a casting announcement relatively soon!

And please please please ... show us the costume!!!!

All of this is great news. It makes me confident that the right people are in charge of putting this show together.


elknight20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elknight20 said...

Really enjoying all of this wonderful Supergirl tv show news!

Super-stoked to hear more of a crime drama/Lois & Clark feel to the show.

Glad to hear Lois & Clark be a stepping stone for how to work with the genres presented.

Really looking forward to watching this!

Can't wait to see what they have planned in store for us.


LJ-90 said...

Well, they're right aboust casting, look at Agent Carter, it wouldn't work without the actors that play Peggy, Jarvis or any of the guys in the office.
Speaking of that, I love that producers don't shy away from the word feminist for this kind of shows, and Agent Carter is certainly an awesome period piece, feminist, awesome show, I would point it to anybody (And they will be people) that don't think a female lead show can work, and in the case of Kara, she does have powers, that it's just a bonus.
Let's hope they make it work, I don't like Arrow at all (the dark tone just don't go with the cw-ism, for me at least) and I much prefer Flash. It's a cheesy show of course, but it doesn't feel like it's embarrased of it and it's just having fun being a cute little comic book show, so I'm happy they're using that tone for this.
Let's hope we can see the costume soon (and that it's better than the Flash one...wouldn't it be cool that it could be based in the Smallville S11 costume? Just saying!)

Gene said...

"I can't imagine Supergirl being like Law and Order..."

You gave me an idea for a funny parody video "Law and Order: Supergirl" where each episode is rarely more than two minutes long because of Kara's super speed and quick intellect. :P

Looking forward to seeing the costume!


Bartiemus said...

I want to see the costume announced with who will play Kara. It just being on some manikin wont be enough.

Anj said...

Thanks for great comments!

I think the Flash's tone is perfect. Bright and sunny but with some depth and evil there. Well's character, the villains, etc there is some darkness. Just usually overpowered by the light. The crossover contrasting Arrow and him was great to showcase that.

My guess is it will be a long time before we see the star in the costume. That is a big promo best saved nearer the first airing (I think).

Anonymous said...

As for costume, there have been so many costumes from the comic books, animated series, and movie, that the producers should take their time to see what fits the series.

Manu said...

Adrianne Palicki is a good actress, a beautiful woman, who seems to be also a delicious person in her personal life. Humble, smart, well-raised, I could'nt find anything wrong to say about her. She would have made the perfect Wonder Woman if the project had been in good hands. I have watched a copy (without sound) of the pilot, and she looked very well, despite the violence and these ridiculous costumes they gave her.

Gemma is more Power Girl for me, I keep on voting for Molly !

Anonymous said...

A Police Procedural? That just tells me that CBS (as usual) doesn't quite grasp the potential of the character? Them again this is CBS historically stony ground for fantasy shows their two most successful examples being "The Twilight Zone" (which was never a ratings success) and "Wonder Woman" (which lasted two years).
I want this is work...a successful TV show has a powerful ripple effect for a comic book hero just remember ye olde Adam West Batman series took the Caped Crusader's comic off the Critical List FOR GOOD!
Similarly a successful show that respects the character could be Supergirl's deliverance & acceptance into the mainstream making future Supergirl projects all the easier...


AndNowInStereo said...

It's a shame that in the time between Palicki played a 'fake' Kara in Smallville and this show coming along Palicki has reached her 30s. She'd probably jump at the chance to play her favourite superhero!

I think she would have been a great Wonder Woman given the right material to work with. I watched that pilot, and man... it's absolutely terrible from start to finish. No wonder Berlanti doesn't even want to think about it. It's like mentioning Catwoman or (alas) Supergirl when talking about superhero films, it's the comparison everyone wants to avoid!

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with what we got from Berlanti and Tassler this week, even if it is a bit vague and producer-y. Thanks for covering it all here Anj, most other websites are just cherry-picking statements out of context and extrapolating as far as they can go.

I wouldn't be surprised if we don't actually see the costume until we start seeing set shots and promo still from the pilot - that was the case with The Flash, I recall. I hope the design lives up to Tassler's spiel. So the real news we're waiting for is the casting announcements...

Anj said...

I also am a huge fan of Palicki and love her as Mockingbird on SHIELD.

And I am still putting air quotes around 'crime procedural'. Scooby Doo could be called a crime procedural by some.

AndNowInStereo said...

Indeed, it could also cover The Flash, Arrow, Lois & Clark, Batman '66 and basically every other superhero show ever made, so I think people who are expecting it to be CSI are stretching a relatively offhand remark by Tassler a bit much.

Comicbookrehab said...

Well, DC Comics stands for "Detective Comics", so I'm sure there have been silver age Supergirl tales in which she had to display some Sherlockian investigative prowess. I think she, like Batgirl, also has an eidietic memory.

Anonymous said...

As as for the costume, anyone wanna take action that at the end of the day she'll be wearing SuperPants?

Oh Kara functioned well as a super-detective in the silver-bronze age (she even teamed up with Batman twice....) but the whole She-Sherlock thing is only one fun aspect of a larger more diverse character.

Thats all I am saying


Uncle Screensaver said...

First, a bit unrelated but I thought I'd mention it, I had met Laura Vandervoot, who shares her birthday with Kara Zor-El. She hadn't known that until I told her, and she was amazed, especially since the character she plays in "Bitten" has that same birthday; also, she's apart of The Danvers family in that.

She was very gracious and at one point referred to Supergirl as being her, and also mentioned she felt it was meant to be that she had had that role.

It was awesome to meet her, and I hope the new actor to play her will be as wonderful as Ms. Vandervoort.

As for this TV series, I'm both stoked but also very anxious about it. Supergirl too often gets the short end of the stick, and while those behind the show certainly are describing the character of Supergirl with honour and respect, we are still getting ALEXa Danvers, who is described so much like Smallville's Lex. So Kara might go against her sister, a gender bent Lex Luthor, who is also having a supporting cast of SuperMAN characters.

Yes, Kara was a supporting character herself at one point, but has long since been that, and while she hasn't had a stable supporting cast, it's a shame we can't have Dick Malverne at the very least. But, I suppose having Superman associated characters might bring in some extra viewers, but I just hope that the myth of her being a carbon copy of her cousin doesn't come into play and retract from viewership.

While it was cool that "they're still on different networks, and for the first year we want her all to herself" has been given in response to the crossover with Arrow and Flash, I think having those crossovers might benefit the ratings.

Oh, while I don't like the Flash TV show, I do think it's awesome that 30 years after being killed off in comics, both Kara Zor-El and Barry Allen will now be on television!