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DC Comics has had more success transferring its characters to the small screen than the big in the 21st-century. As Marvel has built a huge cinematic universe, DC has concentrated on developing its characters for TV shows based largely on The CW network.
One of the most successful transfers from comic books to the small screen is "Supergirl," also known as Kara Danvers. At the start of the first of five commissioned seasons, we find Kara as a young 12-year-old girl who is sent by her parents to ensure her cousin, Kal-El is safe following his escape from Krypton to Earth. Kara is loaded into a spacecraft and launched into space where it is hoped she will reach Earth in time to protect the future "Superman."
As she is launched into space, Krypton explodes and Kara is thrown far off course with her craft making its way into the uncharted Phantom Zone. Kara is frozen in time for 24 years before her craft makes its way out of the uncharted zone and finally arrives on Earth. After crashing into the Earth, "Superman" arrives and rescues his young cousin before taking her to scientists, Eliza, and Jeremiah Danvers to care for her. "Superman" understands the scientists can assist Kara with understanding the powers she will develop while living on Earth and their daughter, Alex can help her blend into the human community.
Twelve years later, the life of Kara has yet to fully embrace her role as "Supergirl" as she has kept her powers largely hidden from view. Alex Danvers is the person largely responsible for convincing the young woman to keep her powers a secret and has helped her become a regular person working as the personal assistant to a magazine editor, Cat Grant.
Things change for Alex and Kara when a plane carrying Alex is about to crash with the story being followed in real-time by a major news channel. Kara sees the plane is the one her sister is traveling on and finally embraces her powers as she sets out to rescue Alex and the other passengers on the plane. Returning to her work at CatCo, Kara is shocked to discover she is being featured on news channels but nobody knows her true identity. Cat Grant gives Kara the task of finding the true identity of the mysterious new superhero.
The difficulties encountered by Kara are outweighed by the power to help those in need which drives Kara to embrace her powers and become "Supergirl." Working with her work friend, Winn Schott, Kara designs a uniform and begins to explore her powers. Soon after her first appearance as "Supergirl," Kara is shot wth a dart of kryptonite and taken to a secret military base where aliens moving into the planet can be tracked. Kara is shocked to discover Alex is a member of the team known as the Department of Extra-Normal Operations and she had been trying to make sure Kara was ready before setting out on her life as a superhero.
The Director of the DEO explains Kara was not the only alien to make their way to Earth when the planet Krypton exploded. Almost the entire population of the Kryptonian prison, Fort Rozz were also ejected into space and crashed into the planet scattering the occupants across the planet. It is also revealed the plane crash averted by Kara was no accident, with the alien crime boss, Vortex suspected of being responsible. Vortex is a formidable foe and has a range of abilities far more developed than those of Kara, which gives the newly discovered superhero many doubts about her own abilities.
DC Comics has found a great deal of success by sticking to a tried and trusted formula for launching its range of superhero TV shows. Included in the creative process is the use of "Arrow" co-creators and writers, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg who have worked diligently to create what has become known as the "Arrowverse." For the "Supergirl" TV show, the experienced TV writer and producer, Allison Adler worked with Berlandi and Kreisberg to develop the show following her work on other shows, such as "Chuck" and "Family Guy."
Texas-born actress, Melissa Benoist has been one of the leading figures on U.S. TV and film over the course of the 21st-century following her first film role in the Mariah Carey drama, "Tennessee." After spending the early part of her career in supporting roles in TV shows such as "Law and Order" and a number of high-profile musicals, Benoist won a role in the comedy-drama "Glee." Alongside her work as Kara and "Supergirl," Benoist has become one of the most impressive actresses of her generation after appearing in movies such as Peter Berg's, "Patriot's Day."
Chyler Leigh plays Alex in "Supergirl" and continues her history of taking on prominent roles in various U.S. TVshows. Leigh began her career as a key member of the cast of the comedy, "Not Another Teen Movie" before winning the role of Lexie Grey in the popular ABC drama, "Grey's Anatomy."
"Supergirl" is a co=production between Berlanti Productions, DC Comics Productions, and Warner Bros. Television for the CW network. The show originally aired on CBS with its debut episode attracting almost 13 million viewers before switching to The CW for its second and subsequent seasons. The links between "Supergirl" and the "Arrowverse" are many with the pilot episode of "Supergirl" directed by veteran director Glen Winter who made his name working on "Smallville," "Arrow," and "The Flash." The desire to push "Supergirl" into the homes of as many viewers as possible saw it given one of the largest budgets ever for a new show with over $3 million spent on each episode of the first season.
The broadcast of the first season of "Supergirl" on the CBS network gave the show a great deal of success with over 12.9 million viewers watching the pilot. Over the course of the first season, "Supergirl" maintained its impressive viewing figures with an average audience share of just under 10 million. The critics were also kind to the first season of the show with the performance of Melissa Benoist praised for her ability to portray the mixed feelings of Kara. Season one received a rating from Rotten Tomatoes of 92 percent, a score maintained over season two. Season three is seen as the most problematic as the character shifts to being comfortable in her superhero role with Rotten Tomatoes giving a score of 77 percent and season four jumps again to 87 percent.
Melissa Benoist is not the only member of the "Glee" family to make their way to The CW and DC Comics universe. Fellow former "Glee" member, Grant Gustin has also joined the "Arrowverse" playing Barry Allen, "The Flash" in his own spinoff from "Arrow." The show is set in a world where "Superman" has already been revealed to the world and is now an aging superhero at the age of 36. Tyler Hoechlin plays the aging "Superman" in "Supergirl" despite only being 28.