While the superhero genre is taking over both film and television, one of the issues that has been noted is that it’s a very male-focused genre. Marvel has Black Widow (though not necessarily in toy stores) and DC is getting ready to introduce Wonder Woman, but the small screen is about to beat the films to the punch with CBS' Supergirl. While the show's producers certainly see the opportunities to separate their character from the pack because she’s a woman, they want her to be a hero first.
Executive producer Ali Adler believes there’s much more for people to notice about Supergirl before they notice she’s a woman. Here's how he put it to THR.
But what is exciting about Supergirl, in particular, is you come in and you forget immediately the whole aspect of, 'This is a girl.' All you see from Melissa Benoist's character is strength and power and a true hero. That doesn't have a gender.
It can be a difficult tightrope to walk. They don’t want the series to be about the fact that their lead character is female, while the fact that she is female is the thing that separates her from the rest of the superhero world and makes her different and interesting. This is part of why the series' initial trailer was somewhat divisive. While it did show Supergirl the hero, it also had Kara the coffee jockey secretary. One of those things may not have a gender, but the other is argutably unfortunately associated with one all too often. The series is, however, promising to “twist” traditional superhero tropes, and Supergirl is going to handle her various obstacles differently than Superman would, because she's a different character who was raised both on Krypton, and Earth, differently from her cousin.
Still, it’s difficult to say that viewers will “forget” that she’s a woman. In addition to the fighting of super villains, there will also be romantic subplots including a potential love triangle. The creative team is promising to twist that trope as well, because Kara’s romantic rival, the character of Lucy Lane, won’t really be a rival. Instead, she’ll be a friend that the audience will like as much as our lead. It’s difficult to see how a love triangle isn’t going to break down into two women fighting over a man, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, as we’d love to see them make it work.
Supergirl is a woman. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Finding success in her series will not come from forgetting or ignoring who she is, but rather in showing that she is strong and heroic. We’re excited to see a new fresh face in the superhero landscape when Supergirl premieres on CBS on Monday, October 26.