The story stars with the destruction of Krpyton -- only after Kal-El is launched to Earth in a ship, the young girl Kara is sent after to him, to watch over and protect him on Earth. But due to a space event, Kara's ship lands on Earth years after Kal-El's -- and by that time Kal-El has grown up and become Superman. Kara is adopted the Danvers (a nod to earlier comic adaptions: The parents are played by Dean Cain and Helen Slater, who played Superman in The New Adventures of Lois and Clark and Supergirl in the movie Supergirl) and gets a stepsister Alex.
Jump ahead, and Kara (Melissa Benoist) is 24, has decided not to use her powers and live a normal, uneventful life in National City. She works as an executive assistant at Catco Media, a newspaper and online news site run by Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), an unstoppable and self-serving executive who doesn't seem to listen to anyone or remember their names. Kara is friends with Winn Schott Jr. (Jeremy Jordan), who has an unrequited crush on Kara. She also has an instant crush on James Olsen (Mechad Brooks), the paper's art director and photographer.
But there's a lot more going on. A secret organization, led by Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), is focused on tracking and defeating alien menaces; and Alex is a member of this organization. In addition, some Kryptonian prisoners survived the destruction of Krypton and have come to Earth with a sinister plan. And these Kryptonians are commanded by Astra (Laura Benati) -- Kara's aunt. And Kara has to deal with dangers and challenges that her powers can't always handle.
I've only seen the first episode, but Supergirl is extremely promising. Melissa Benoist does very well in the title role: nervous trying to fit in, thrilled to really cut loose with her powers, scared that others are stronger than her, and resolved to be a hero. The rest of the cast is quite good, especially Calista Flockhart as an executive whose arrogance seems matched with her skills and success. The show blends action and humor very well together, and the special effects make this world of super-powered beings very plausible. (You'll believe a girl can fly! Ahem...) The show lays the seeds for a few possible romances and also gives a reason why so many super-powered beings are showing up in National City. Supergirl is, simply, super.
Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch