Keeping the SUPERGIRL TV News in Perspective

Supergirl #1
Credit: DC Comics

Although fans are excited by the news last week that there's a Supergirl TV show in development, it's important to keep the information in perspective.

Why It's Exciting

One of the main reasons that comic fans are showing so much excitement over a Supergirl TV show is that it would fulfill the recent call for more female characters being adapted to television and film.

Although DC already has the female-led I, Zombie coming out at The CW later this year, and Marvel has Agent Carter at ABC and a Jessica Jones series in pre-production at Netflix, there's room for more (especially for a lead character in costume – something even the movies haven't achieved).

Statistics show that there's a significant audience of female fans in the world of comics and genre-focused media — for example, 47 percent of all video game players are women, as are 40 percent of attendees at Comic-Con International. (And when networks are being asked to invest in a Supergirl TV show, another important figure to mention is that women account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases.)

As compelling as it might be to tout these statistics as motivation to bring female-focused heroes to television, we all know a Supergirl TV show would not be watched exclusively by women.

Let's give the guys some credit here. Supergirl has potential across both genders.

Yes, there's an equality-centered argument about how we need more female superheroes on the big and small screens, and Supergirl would not only achieve that objective, but would probably pass the Bechdel test in its first episode.

But the strength of the "Super" properties (evidenced most recently by the whopping 10 seasons of Smallville, a show where Supergirl was a recurring character) should carry just about as much weight as any gender arguments.

So let's face it — Supergirl on TV has fans excited for several reasons.

That said...

Keeping Perspective

According to reports, the Supergirl TV show is not only still in development, but it hasn't even landed at a network yet. So we probably shouldn't bet the farm on its airing.

And even if it does land at a network, anyone who has tracked announcements about TV shows in development over the last decade knows — even a network commitment doesn't guarantee the show will ever see the light of day. Consider Amazon, the "teen Wonder Woman" TV project that died after The CW jumped on board, put together an initial script, and even reworked the script yet again. Other "in-development" projects like adaptations of Deadman, Raven and Booster Gold seem to have resulted in a similar ending.

Fans should also keep in mind that the perceived Hollywood "excitement" over DC properties on television right now — with a lot of them either in development or coming to screen soon — that "sudden" rise in interest is almost certainly something that's been built over the last few years since DC Entertainment was formed in late 2009.

When Geoff Johns was appointed chief creative officer of the restructured DC Entertainment, he was specifically tasked with "bringing it all to film, toys, television, video games, animation and beyond."

"My job [as chief creative officer] is everything outside of the comics," Johns explained to Newsarama soon after he was named CCO. "My day-to-day is in film, television, animation and interactive with the studio.

"The real goal for me now is getting DC, Vertigo, WildStorm and MAD to the big and small screen while staying true to the source material we all love."

Although fans aren't privy to the development meetings at DC Entertainment offices in Burbank, there's been public evidence from time to time that Johns' office was instrumental in getting all these DC properties into development and shopped out to networks — like the admission by one producer that he didn't even know about the character he was developing until he was "introduced" to the property by Johns, and the very public tweets from Johns that he was pitching a Blue Beetle live action series — and that DC had even put together test footage to entice a network to pick up the property (although none did).

Or as EW put it this week, Johns 'has a hand in every project based on one of [DC's] comics."

So the news that a DC comics character like Supergirl is in development at Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment doesn't exactly carry a lot of weight.

However, there are a couple things going for Supergirl. First, there's a lot of buzz about Fox's Gotham and CW's The Flash right now, and they were developed with WBTV and DCE (and if we had to guess, references to Supergirl being "taken out to networks soon" might be related to the timing of those series' premieres).

Also, CW's Arrow and ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are recent, proven hits. And with the Supergirl project being co-helmed by Greg Berlanti, who's also behind Arrow, there's an obvious association with his superhero success.

As EW put it, "the project has not yet been pitched to networks, but considering the recent popularity of comic book shows, it seems like a no-brainer to make its way to the airwaves."

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