'Supergirl': How superheroine shows changed the TV landscape

The cast and crew of 'Supergirl' recently discussed the program at PaleyFest. Actress Chyler Leigh says her husband told her of joining the show, 'Look at our little girls and if you don’t have a resounding yes, then you’re crazy.'

Darren Michaels/CBS Entertainment/AP
'Supergirl' stars Melissa Benoist.

The cast and crew of the superhero program “Supergirl” were part of a panel recently at the TV event PaleyFest, and the discussion was dominated by the show's status as one of a few female-led superhero projects at the moment. 

“Supergirl” stars Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin who comes to Earth. The program co-stars Jeremy Jordan, Calista Flockhart, Chyler Leigh, and David Harewood.

The program debuted this past fall, and there is no official word on whether the show will get a second season. Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, recently stated that “We have about five new shows on this year. Of those five, I believe all five of them will be renewed.” If “Supergirl” is counted in that group – and it was a new show – then one could assume it will come back next year. 

There are several shows centering on superheroes on TV right now, and “Supergirl” is one of a few that has a female lead. Three recently debuted with ABC’s “Agent Carter” coming on the air in January 2015, “Supergirl” having arrived last September, and Netflix’s “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” debuting this past November. This was a big surge for female-led superhero stories. 

Ms. Leigh, who portrays Kara’s sister, said during PaleyFest that she was encouraged to take the part because of her daughters. 

“Right before taking this job, my husband was really challenging me in the sense of … ‘Think about what this opportunity is and think about what it means to you and look at our little girls and if you don’t have a resounding yes, then you’re crazy,'” the actress said, according to Variety. “For little girls, there’s so much on TV that is influential, especially towards the younger ages. To be a part of something that’s telling a very powerful story in many different ways from many different perspectives, especially from a women’s standpoint but also from [a] little girl’s standpoint, is rewarding.” 

Meanwhile, according to Deadline, co-creator Ali Adler said, “And that’s not just confined to little girls or women. I think the most exciting thing for me is the feeling that everyone [is] feeling the strength of Supergirl regardless of gender.”

“Agent Carter” network ABC recently renewed many shows but “Carter” was not one of them. It has not yet been canceled, either. However, the Netflix show “Jessica” has already been renewed for a second season, although an air date has not yet been set.

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