On the superhero shows -- change, change ... plus gay character, musical numbers, more


(The final day of the Television Critics Association session has brought a flood of news about superhero shows. For other stories from these session, look at the previous blogs ... and keep an eye out for future ones. Meanwhile, here's the story I sent to papers.)

By Mike Hughes

LOS ANGELES -- Life
keeps transforming wildly inside the “Arrowverse.”

Time bends,
dimensions shift, things explode. And next season? One character will
explore a gay sexuality; also, many will burst into song.

That's in four CW
shows -- “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and
now “Supergirl.” In some future season, there might be more.

“One thing about
the Arrowverse (is), we get to see all these characters,” said CW
programming chief Mark Pedowitz. “Now, if someone pops, then you
re-examine.”

All of the shows are
based on DC comics and all are produced by Greg Berlanti, whose other
work has ranged from “Brothers & Sisters” to “Blindspot.”
Now he has a string of changes, including:

-- The gay
character. Berlanti isn't saying who, but promises “it's a
signifigant character.”

-- The musical,
which will be in the second half of the season. It starts with
“Supergirl” and goes to “Flash” -- both starring “Glee”
alumni. “Melissa (Benoit) and Grant (Gustin) are fabulous singers,”
said producer Ali Adler, as are Laura Benanti, Jeremy Jordan (both of
“Supergirl”) and more. Other shows might cross over. “Victor
Garber (of “Legends”) pitched me a couple songs,” Berlanti
said.

-- Another crossover
– this one without songs, in late November. It starts briefly on
“Supergirl,” then spreads across the next three nights.

-- The arrival of
Superman – played by Tyler Hoechlin, who was Derek in “Teen Wolf”
-- in the “Supergirl” season-opener Oct. 10. “She has a famous
cousin,” Adler said, “so why not use him?”

-- More changes for
“The Flash.” Last year, Barry Allen bent dimensions to save his
mother. The new season will have major complications ... and will
introduce Kid Flash, who is Barry's grandson.

-- Other time-travel
complications, especially with the “Legends” Time Masters. “We
blew them up,” said producer Phil Klemmer. “Now the Time Masters
don't exist any more.” That's no solution; now the team has the
responsibility of holding time together.

-- Big changes in
“Arrow,” the show that started this superhero surge. This will be
the last season of flashbacks, producer Marc Guggenheim promised.
This year, those follow Oliver's time in Moscow, becoming part of a
secret organization; in present-day, he's now the mayor, leading a
fresh batch of vigilantes. “So we see him as trainer and trainee.”

-- Plenty of
villains, complications and guest stars. On Flash, Barry must worry
about both Doctor Alchemy and Savitar. On “Legends,” there's
Obsidian, played by Lance Henriksen; on Arrow, it's a Russian, played
by Dolph Lundgren. On “Supergirl,” Sharon Leal (Zuri in “Grimm”)
is Miss Martian.

-- One person not
there as often. When “Supergirl” moved from Los Angeles to
Vancouver, Calista Flockhart (married to Harrison Ford) cut back to
only a recurring role. Part of the season's drama, producers said,
involves who will take her spot as boss.