How Supergirl changed the game for live-action female superheroes

Supergirl -- "Changing" -- Image SPG206a_0286 -- Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl -- Photo: Liane Hentscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
Supergirl -- "Changing" -- Image SPG206a_0286 -- Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl -- Photo: Liane Hentscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved /

Supergirl deserves far more credit for paving the way for live-action female superhero projects.

It’s been nearly half a year since Supergirl flew off into the sunset with its super-packed series finale.

A staple of television for over five years, the Melissa Benoist-led series initially debuted on CBS back in 2015, serving as the network’s big-budget slice of the revived superhero TV genre. But a number of factors, including the fact that it was produced by Arrowverse mastermind Greg Berlanti, resulted in it joining its fellow DC shows on The CW for its sophomore outing, and it would go on to produce another five seasons on the network before bowing out.

We all remember the fanfare around Supergirl’s debut, but not enough people talk about the show’s incredible run or the movement that it started. With that in mind, as we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, allow us to give the Girl of Steel the credit she deserves and reflect on Supergirl’s legacy.

Supergirl paved the way for more female-led superhero projects

It’s an incredible time for women superheroes. We have more female-fronted properties in the genre on the horizon than ever before, with the likes of Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk arriving this year from Marvel Studios and DC’s Batwoman, Naomi and Superman and Lois continuing to air on TV screens on The CW.

A lot of people tend to look to the heroes of the big screen for starting successful movements, and it’s particularly understandable in this case, given that uber-successful blockbusters like Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and Black Widow all quickly proved that female superheroes do draw audiences to movie theaters just as much as their male counterparts. But let’s not forget that this journey to the big screen started on the small one. And it all started with Supergirl.

At the time that Supergirl started, there weren’t any other female superheroes at the forefront of their own TV series, nor were there any headlining their own movies. In fact, it was the first time we saw a traditional superhero series fronted by a woman on TV in almost 40 years, with the last one being the Lynda Carter-led Wonder Woman series of the ‘70s.

Supergirl, Fandoms of the Year, Fandoms of the Year 2021, WandaVision
Supergirl — “Immortal Kombat” — Image Number: SPG519A_0267r.jpg — Pictured: Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. /

But the show would go on to make even more history, with the pilot episode drawing an incredible 13 million viewers, making it the most-watched episode of superhero TV on a broadcast network. That alone was proof that people were craving more female superheroes on screen. And it wasn’t just curiosity either, as the show’s successful six season run proved that the Girl of Steel could cultivate a loyal audience every bit as well as the likes of Arrow and The Flash.

Those shows kicked off this modern day superhero renaissance and they continue to receive the credit that they deserve for doing so, but Supergirl took it to the next level and placed the spotlight on one of DC Comics’ most beloved female heroes. And it was the first in a wave of female-fronted offerings from the superhero genre.

Women superheroes are thriving on both film and TV today, and it’s long overdue. As we continue to enjoy seeing these incredible, powerful and compelling women take center stage on our screens, let’s not forget the integral role that Supergirl played in paving the way for properties like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel to dominate the box office. And the Girl of Steel did all from your TV screen.

Thank you Supergirl for changing the game.

Next. 40 greatest female superheroes in comic book history. dark

Were you a fan of Supergirl? Do you think it deserves more credit for paving the way for more female superheroes on the big and small screens? Let us know in the comments below!