TV Series Review
Kara Danvers is special.
It's not that she's double-jointed or can touch the tip of her nose with her tongue. No, her skills are a little more … extreme. I mean, we're talking X-ray vision, super-strength and the ability to fly extreme.
Like certain other superhero in red and blue, Kara was born on the now-defunct planet of Krypton. She spent a good 13 years there, actually, and she was sent to Earth to keep Superman, um, safe. 'Course, Superman was just a wee infant named Kal-El at the time, so perhaps he could've used some protection. But Kara got diverted along the way by a strange time vortex, and when she actually reached earth—24 years later—Kal-El was all grown up and, clearly, didn't need much protection from a 13-year-old girl. She had to figure out something else to do with her time. So, hey, why not follow in her cousin's footsteps and become an international superhero? Seems better than fetching coffee.
Daily Planet, Meet CATCO Global
Heroism doesn't pay the bills, and Kara works as a reporter for CATCO Global Media. It's not a particularly glamorous gig, but it allows her a certain amount of freedom. And she gets to hang out with a couple of unofficial crimefighting assistants—Winn, an IT specialist, and hunky James Olson, who recently (ahem) flew in from Metropolis to keep an eye on Supes' older-yet-younger cousin.
Then, since Kara certainly didn't travel 2,000 light years to be a reporter, she uses her free time to work alongside the supersecret Department of Extranormal Operations, obviously donning her superhero outfit to do so. "Nothing says covert operation like a flying woman in a red skirt," quips DEO head J'onn J'onzz, a Martian who's taken on the identity of a guy named Hank Henshaw. But quips don't keep the baddies at bay, so Supergirl takes them all on—some of them perhaps more daunting than the ones even Superman tackles.
See, when Kara's craft finally came to Earth, it somehow pulled a galactic maximum-security prison with it, filled with the worst collection of rogues in the cosmos—renegades who, coincidentally, Kara's mother was instrumental in imprisoning. They kept a low profile for a while, but now they're ready to wreak a little earthbound havoc.
Another Straight-Arrow Supes?
Supergirl is admittedly derivative, and she always has been, ever since DC Comics first brought her to life in 1959. CW (which picked up the show after CBS dropped it after its first season) is not shy about the fact that she and Superman literally share some alien DNA. But that's not such a bad thing.
Kara, like the original Supes, is a straight arrow—a charmingly goofy worker bee when not in costume, a fearless champion of truth and justice while in it. And she's oddly humble, given her gifts. Indeed, whatever inner demons Supergirl has seem to be wrapped up in her own blushing insecurities: Is she really strong enough to fight that superstrong ex-con with the radioactive ax? Can she be as good a hero for her town, National City, as Superman has been for Metropolis? Will she ever be able to catch James' eye?
These doubts are sometimes fed by both her enemies and the people she's trying to protect. In the pilot she's criticized for how she acts and dresses, with people dismissing her as a "me too" type of superhero. Kara's adversary demeans her, telling her that it'd be an honor to fight Superman: Her, it's "just exercise."
All of that serves as an allusion to persistent real-world sexism that we still see in society; how women are sometimes judged more by what they wear than what they can do. Even Supergirl, it seems, must deal with such shortsightedness. And so she does, in a winsomely strong way. She is both feminine and feminist, proving that a woman can save the world and wear a skirt, too.
"Can you believe it?" someone marvels, watching Supergirl on television. "A female hero. Nice for my daughter to have someone like that to look up to."
It is nice. But the show has some rough spots, too. It can be violent (naturally) and the language can be a bit extreme. Meanwhile, Alex recently began a same-sex relationship with Maggie, a tough-as-nails officer. It's a worldview issue that families with younger fans will definitely have to decide how to navigate.
So while Supergirl does fly in many ways, there's some drag on the cape as well.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers/Supergirl; Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen; Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers; David Harewood as Hank Henshaw; Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant; Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott