Series / Supergirl (2015)

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It's not a bird. It's not a plane. It's not a man.

"When I was a child, my planet, Krypton, was dying. I was sent to Earth to protect my cousin. But my pod got knocked off course and by the time I got here, my cousin had already grown up and become Superman. And so I hid my powers until recently, when an accident forced me to reveal myself to the world. To most people, I'm an assistant at CatCo Worldwide Media. But in secret, I work with my adopted sister and the DEO to protect my city from alien life and anyone else that means to cause it harm. I am Supergirl."
Kara Danvers/Supergirl (opening narration)

Based on Supergirl by DC Comics, this is a superhero television series starring Melissa Benoist as the titular heroine. It is developed and executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler and Andrew Kreisberg. The show premiered in October 2015 on CBS, though the pilot leaked months earlier in May.

The series focuses on Kara Zor-El, a Kryptonian who escaped from her dying planet as a teen, sent after her infant cousin Kal-El to take care of him. However, her ship was knocked off-course into The Phantom Zone, where Time Stands Still, and by the time she made it to Earth, Kal-El was already grown. She was adopted by the Danvers family and grew to adulthood alongside their daughter Alex. Twelve years after coming to Earth, Kara decides to use her powers to become a hero like her cousin.

Other characters include Cat Grant, the head of media conglomerate CatCo, whom Kara works for in her civilian guise; James Olsen, an art director for CatCo; Winn Schott, a programmer for CatCo and Kara's neighbor; and J'onn J'onzz, a benevolent Martian and director of the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, a secret government agency where Alex also works.

Originally conceived as separate from The CW's Arrowverse, the two realities were later confirmed as existing concurrently within a shared multiverse, and Grant Gustin's Flash eventually guest-starred on an episode of Supergirl.

In May 2016, it was confirmed that, while officially renewed, Supergirl would be moving to The CW for its second season, following budgetary issues and declining ratings on CBSnote .


Supergirl contains examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • Kara gets her ass kicked when fighting Vartox and is later told that her stay in the Phantom Zone released him and many other prisoners held there. This makes Kara think she doesn't deserve to be a hero. Alex then plays a message from Alura Zor-El to tell Kara to never let doubt stop her.
    • For part of "Human for a Day," Kara is afraid that she may be forced to retire due to her powers not coming back.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Jimmy Olsen in this show is a Tall, Dark and Handsome Hunk named James Olsen instead of his normally nerdy, dorky little brother portrayal.
    • Hellgramite in the comics is much more obviously insectoid, with bug eyes, green skin and antennae. Here, they can camouflage themselves better, revealing part of their true form when they open their real mouths.
    • Livewire appears more feminine here than her ghoulish comic counterpart or the original "Joker-like" look from Superman: The Animated Series.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Hank Henshaw, usually a Superman villain (the Cyborg Superman), is a good guy (which makes even more sense when we find out that he's really J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter.)
    • The Toyman's son in the comics is the supervillain Dollmaker. Winn is portrayed as a genuinely good person.
  • Adaptational Modesty:
    • This version of the Supergirl costume is a lot closer to the costume in which she was introduced in the comics, eschewing some of the costume designs that are more form fitting, revealing, or both. One of Kara's early costume designs is a close approximation of some of that, and Kara vehemently opposes that design.
    • Livewire doesn't wear her Leotard of Power costume that shows Absolute Cleavage. Instead, she goes full-on Civvie Spandex (shirt, leather jacket, jeans)
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the comics, Jemm is a hero and a pacifist. In this show, he is a villain and a conqueror.
    • Vartox is a killer here, instead of the bombastic space king who has adventured with Superman and tried to woo Power Girl.
    • Red Tornado is still an android created by a scientist to fight the hero, but unlike the one from the comics, does not wind up becoming a good guy.
    • Siobhan Smythe is a heroic character in the comics and Kara's best friend. Her villainy in the show seems to come from being a Composite Character with Siobhan Mc Dougal, the pre-Flashpoint Silver Banshee who was evil from the get go.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • On Earth, Kara is going by Kara Danvers instead of Linda Lee, Linda Lee Danvers or any other civilian names she used in the comics.
    • Cat Grant's son is named Carter Grant, rather than Adam Morgan; we later learn that she has another son named Adam Foster.
    • Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers, instead of Edna and Fred (pre-Crisis) or Sylvia and Fred (post-Crisis).
    • Toyman's son is usually named Anton, rather than being his junior as was Winn's case.
  • Adorkable: Kara herself, when in civilian guise. In Episode 4, "Livewire," this trope was mentioned by name, regarding Kara, by Shock Jock Leslie Willis - who may have represented internet haters.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: As noted below, Kara's adopted sibling in the comic is male. The series changes it to a female, adding a third woman to the main cast.
  • Age Lift:
    • Kara is usually in her teens when she becomes Supergirl, but on the show she starts out at the age of 24.
    • Jimmy Olsen is now a veteran professional instead of a young beginner. He's already more than a decade into his career (as is Superman), and has matured.
    • Kara's foster family gave birth to a son at the end of the Peter David run of Supergirl. Here, they have a daughter who is older (biologically if not chronologically) than Kara.
  • Alliterative Name: Inherits a couple from the comics, with appearances by Hank Henshaw and J'onn J'onzz.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Winn Schott has a one-sided crush on Kara, who only sees him as a friend.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The White Martians, who gleefully committed genocide against the Green Martians and have come to Earth to take out the last survivor.
  • And Starring: "With David Harewood and Calista Flockhart."
  • Anti-Climax: Reactron is noted as being one villain who Superman could never actually beat whenever they fought before. At the end of his debut episode... Kara defeats him by simply resisting his blasts, getting close enough and ripping out his power source... something it apparently never occurred for the more experienced Superman to do.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Cat dubs Kara Supergirl after her first big rescue.
  • Arc Number: As with any DC show, the number "52" pops up a lot. Specifically:
    • In "Blood Bonds", Maxwell Lord's room of mystery is room 52.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: General Astra forces Fort Rozz escapees to fight for her.
  • Artifact Title: Kara is way too old to be referred to as a "girl". Something she brings up in the pilot to her boss which is rationalized by her with a feminist bent.
  • Artistic License – Physics: In "Childish Things" Kara sets off the sprinkler system at a toy convention and uses her freeze breath to freeze the water into a wall of ice help protect the convention goers from a bunch of bombs the Villain of the Week had planted. Setting aside the concept of freeze breath (Kryptonian superpowers), generally speaking, a sprinkler system really shouldn't be able to put out water in a large enough quantity in a matter of seconds to make freezing it into a solid wall of ice a viable plan.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • The Big Bad is only referred to as "the general" throughout the pilot, implying General Zod. It's actually Alura's Evil Twin sister Astra.
    • "In Human For a Day", Jemm threatens to reveal "Henshaw"'s true identity... as a coward.
    • For several episodes, we have seen "Hank"'s eyes glow red, and him displaying Super Strength, hinting that he might be Cyborg Superman, like in the comics. He's the Martian Manhunter.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The first costume Winn designs for Kara leaves her midriff bare. She refuses to go crimefighting in it, so she switches to her Minidress of Power.
    Kara: I wouldn't wear this to the beach!
  • Beta Outfit: The pilot has Kara and Winn trying to make a proper outfit for Supergirl. Winn first makes her a skimpy hot pants outfit, which Kara immediately rejects. Then she goes for a Minidress of Power, and later finalizes it with the cape, boots, and Chest Insignia. Yet all those outfits still include the colors Superman uses.
  • Betty and Veronica: Winn (Betty) and James (Veronica) for Kara (Archie).
  • Beneath Notice: Clark Kenting is referenced regarding how Clark avoids people making the connection. Kara has even less to hide her identity, but Olsen says that Kara can rest assured Cat would not make the connection. He was wrong.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Alex is depicted as Kara's supportive, often very emotional sister (who gets quite weepy a number of times as she becomes more familiar with J'onn's circumstance), and often comes off a a very nice person. Unless you're a superpowered alien who's threatening her planet or Kara in which case she'll kill you at first opportunity, even if you're Kara's aunt.
  • Beware the Superman: J'onn says this was the motivation behind the creation of the Department of Extra-Normal Operations. He claims plenty of people distrust Superman, but aren't open about it.
  • Big Bad: A Kryptonian general tried and failed to conquer Krypton, and is now going after Earth. She's also Kara's aunt, Alura's twin sister, Astra.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Maxwell Lord is eventually established as a secondary antagonist, being obsessively anti-alien and seeing himself as above the law.
  • Big Little Brother:
    • Kara is taller (5'8) than her adoptive sister Alex (5'6).
    • On the other hand, Superman, usually depicted as a Tall, Dark and Handsome man standing over 6 feet, is taller than his older cousin Kara.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • The Danvers family. Eliza is blonde, Jeremiah is brunette, and Alex is redhead.
    • The DEO Power Trio. Kara is blonde, J'onn (while [[Voluntary Shapeshifter disguised as Hank Henshaw) is brunette, and Alex is redhead.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: In episode 2 Alex teaches Kara to fight in a room lined with low-intensity "Kryptonite emitters," just enough to be Brought Down to Normal. Kara mostly brushes this off, but after losing a fight with her aunt, she admits she needs more training.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Seems to be a regular thing on this show through its first three episodes. Kara reveals her existence as Supergirl by rescuing a plane in regular street clothes. (Fortunately she gets her actual uniform later in the episode, but some can't help but think this is going to come back on her at some point). Immediately tells/shows Winn that she is Supergirl when she sees him at work the next day. Allows Cat Grant to video-record the interview she finally gives her as Supergirl, then gets annoyed at a set of tough questions from Cat and pouts about implying their sexism…by blurting away the fact that Superman is her cousin. Later, while she, James, and Winn are talking in their super office, James blurts out Clark's name in a sidebar conversation right in front of Winn—who overhears it and commences to silently marking about how Clark Kent is Superman. Predictably, Alex and J'onn at the DEO are getting tired of this.
    • When told of J'onn's secret, Kara asks why Alex and J'onn didn't tell her sooner, saying she can keep a secret. Alex and J'onn simultaneously say "no you can't."
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • General Astra.
    • In an interesting example, the setting—National City—itself is this.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Character Tic: In her civilian identity, Kara has a habit of knitting her forehead and cutting her eyes to the side when she's confused about something. And constantly adjusting her glasses.
  • Clark Kenting:
    • Kara wears glasses, keeps her hair in a ponytail or braided when out of costume. She also attempts to have a more formal attitude while in costume, but seems to be naturally Adorkable and can't help herself.
    • This is discussed when she and James discuss Supergirl having an interview with Cat. Kara worries Cat will recognize her, but James assures Kara that Cat doesn't really see Kara as someone worth a lot of attention yet. James then says this is partly how Clark gets people not to notice that he looks like Superman. His human persona doesn't come across as standing out. The other part is, people just can't believe a superhero would be standing next to them in everyday life.
    • Double Subverted when Cat eventually does figure out Supergirl's identity due to Kara's behavior, only going back to believing they're not the same person when she sees "Supergirl" and Kara in the same room together (Supergirl in this case being J'onn J'onzz shapeshifted to impersonate her). As Cat has no reason to suspect that Kara has an alien shapeshifter on call, she's forced to agree with Kara's claim that she's not Supergirl. Played for Laughs when she claims that they don't look anything alike anyway, a clear attempt to save face, as its implied she wasn't fooled.
    • Cat also pretty quickly figures out that Barry Allen is the Flash, although that's mostly due to his behavior, timing, and insistence on calling the new speedster "the Flash".
  • Cliffhanger: The first season ends like this. Our heroes have saved the world and are celebrating, when suddenly a huge ball of fire appears and lands in the middle of the city. Kara and J'onn investigate: turns out the meteorite is actually another Kryptonian escape pod, carrying another Kryptonian. Of course we never get to see who it is.
  • Comfort Food: Kara and Alex rely on pastries and pizza to get them through tough times.
    • J'onn has a hankering for Rolo chocolates. Alex gives him some (as well as some cookies) to make things easier for him when he's imprisoned by the DEO when his real identity is exposed.
  • Composite Character:
    • The Starter Villain in the first episode is named Vartox after a relatively obscure superhero who was a homage to Sean Connery in Zardoz. He also uses an axe like the Lumberjack, an extremely obscure villain who appeared in only one issue of Wonder Woman. Early reports said the villain would be the Lumberjack.
    • "Hank Henshaw" is actually the Martian Manhunter, who adopted Henshaw's identity in a broadly similar fashion to comicbook J'onn taking that of Detective John Jones.
    • Siobhan Smythe takes two elements from the Silver Banshee. She shares the name of the New 52 version, who is Kara's friend, but she is confirmed to eventually become her enemy here, making her more similar to Siobhan MacDougal, the Silver Banshee of the original comics.
  • Consolation Backfire: When Alex brings the holoprojector with Alura's message to Kara on it, Alura tells Kara that while she's going to get things wrong, she'll always end up doing the right thing. So the message itself is uplifting, but this is the first time in twelve years that Kara's seen or heard her mother. She ends up in tears as the message shuts off and for a moment she's just a little girl who wants her mom.
  • Crossover: The Flash guest-stars in season one, with Grant Gustin reprising his role from the live-action show.
  • Dangerously Short Skirt: Likely the reason they added tights to the costume, since this aspect is kept. It's also not a Magic Skirt, so during her fights the tights prove useful for avoiding a Panty Shot.
  • Dark Action Girl: Every female antagonist, though Astra is more of a Lady of War.
  • Deconstruction:
    • James Olsen's role as Superman's constant sidekick gets this treatment. It turns out that constantly putting Superman first - and calling on Superman whenever a situation got sticky - really damaged his personal life.
    • A major theme in the show is the clash between Kara's idealism and the DEO's pragmatism, with plenty of What the Hell, Hero? moments on both sides. Like her cousin, Kara vows never to kill, whereas the DEO is a government agency and it's literally their job to decide when lethal force is necessary, in addition to making morally questionable decisions in the name of the greater good. They see Kara as naive, while she thinks their claim of doing "what needs to be done" is an excuse for taking the easy way out. The show is basically what happens when someone like Superman works with an organization like SHIELD.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Subverted. In "Myriad", Superman is initially off-world when Non activates the eponymous plan, but once he does return he falls under its effect as well, leaving only Kara and a few others free of its influence.
  • Doomed Hometown: Krypton, per the norm.
  • The Dreaded: An alien convict in the second episode wants nothing to do with going after Supergirl because of the other person who has that shield on their chest.
  • Due to the Dead: There is an empty office in the CatCo tower, because the actuarial that it formerly belonged died of a heart attack in it. No one wants to empty it out or make use of it because of that, so Winn decides to secretly set up Supergirl's Mission Control there. (Which makes it, in a roundabout way, a Haunted Headquarters.)
  • Easily Forgiven: Midway through Season 1, Alex is forced to kill Astra to save J'onn's life. Hank insists on taking the blame for it, so Kara doesn't know her sister killed her relative. Sure enough, Kara becomes angry at J'onn and their relationship collapses. Ultimately, Alex confesses because she doesn't want to see J'onn lose Kara as a friend and ally. After a moment of shock, Kara forgives them both.
  • Evil Plan: Astra and her followers are gunning for "Myriad" to happen, whatever that is.
  • Exact Words: An unintentional example in that Kara tells Winslow before revealing her secret that only three people "in her life" know what she's about to tell him, namely her alien origin (Alex, her mother, and Superman). She isn't aware at the time that her secret (origin + secret identity) is known by a lot more people (James, the DEO) or that her presence on Earth as a Kryptonian is known by yet another group (the escaped prisoners).
  • Expy:
    • Cat Grant is based on Miranda Priestley. In fact, the casting call actually stated outright that the role needed a Miranda-type character.
    • The Maxwell Lord of this series seems to be much more clearly based on Lex Luthor from the comics than on Maxwell Lord from the comics.
  • Eye Beams: Supergirl and Astra's heat vision beams are blue, though Superman's are usually depicted as red in other media.
  • The Faceless: In Season 1, no actor was cast to play Superman, so the show used this trope to hide that fact. Kal-El is shown as a baby on Krypton, but as an adult his face is obscured and people talk about him instead of him showing up in person to them. He gives Kara his baby blanket for her to use as a cape, but through James instead of handing it over himself. In "Myriad" it looks like we'll finally get to see him properly, but then he falls under Non's mind control and disappears, so his face remained unseen until season two, when Tyler Hoechlin was cast as Kal-El.
  • Famed In-Story:
    • Not the main character, but her cousin certainly counts.
    • Kara recognizes James as a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer when she sees his picture of Big Blue.
  • Fantastic Racism: Several characters are initially distrustful of aliens including General Lane and Hank Henshaw although the latter turns out to be an act, as the real alien-hating Hank Henshaw is dead and has secretly been replaced by a shapeshifting alien.
    • The US government and military seem to have this view as well (or at least a faction within them), practically to For the Evulz levels.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • J'onn's red eyes are an obvious one, but the fact that he helps the Danvers girls several times when he really doesn't need to (and when he could easily pretend he never could have helped them in the first place hint at him being Good All Along].
    • Early on in the series, J'onn explains that people fear Superman not because of what he does, but because of what he might do were he inclined to use his powers for evil. "Falling" gives us a chilling look at exactly what he was talking about when red Kryptonite strips Kara of her inhibitions and brings her negative thoughts to the surface. It's not pretty, to say the least.
  • Flying Brick: Supergirl, as she's a Kryptonian with the same powers as Superman. J'onn as well, being a Martian.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: "Who names a snake 'Fluffy'?"
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "How Does She Do It?", some of the news headlines on the screens in Cat's office show that they're living in a much less dysfunctional America than our own, where people in power are taking police demilitarization seriously and actually prosecuting banking misdeeds.
  • Freudian Trio:
  • Full Name Ultimatum: The "milder" version.
    Eliza: How could you do this, Alexandra?
    Kara: *whispers* She called her "Alexandra." This is gonna get ugly.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: At several points during Season 1, Kara is told by several characters - including her own sister, Alex, and later Maxwell Lord, that she may have to break her "no kill" vow some day. There are several episodes in which Kara realizes this as well. In the season finale, she finally has to kill someone, namely her Kryptonian nemesis, Non, in order to literally save everyone on the planet. Perhaps due to this factor, if she has any remorse at doing so, it is not seen.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The show consists of six main characters, divided into three for each gender (Kara, Alex and Cat are the females, James, Winn and Hank are the males).
  • Gender Flip: The biological child of Kara's foster family (at the end of the Peter David run of Supergirl at least) is male. Here, she's female and was given an Age Lift to be her older sister.
    • Dr. Emil Hamilton is changed to Dr. Amelia Hamilton.
  • Generation Xerox: When we meet Cat's mother, we see that they're almost exactly the same - only she doesn't have any of Cat's Pet the Dog moments.
  • Girls Need Role Models: This is brought up In-Universe.
    • A waitress says it's nice that there's now a female hero her daughter can look up to. Superman and Supergirl are said to be the only superheroes in the world.
    • This is also discussed when Kara objects to using "girl" in her hero name, feeling it diminishes her. Cat argues that if people just see the word instead of the positive things it stands for, "isn't the real problem you?"
  • Good Is Not Nice: The DEO may be looking out for Earth's security, but they make their first appearance by introducing Supergirl to kryptonite.
  • Greater Scope Villain: Project Cadmus is mentioned in "Manhunter", and Word of God says that it will play a much larger role in season 2.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Shows up a lot. Only Kara and Cat seem immune.
    • It's implied that one of the main reasons Alex has encouraged Kara to hide her abilities for so long is through lingering childhood jealousy that she's almost, but not quite, managed to get over (not to mention that their parents treated her as the Unfavorite).
    • In the first half-season, Winn is jealous of James, for being the object of Kara's affections despite already having a girlfriend.
    • Maxwell Lord sees people relying on Supergirl and not him, or themselves.
    • James has a few instances of this when Barry Allen shows up.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Kryptonian High Council knew about the impending destruction of the planet for over a year before it happened, but they apparently did nothing about it. This inaction led to Astra becoming a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Hero Insurance: Kara ends up doing a lot of damage despite her efforts to help.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Superman does exist in the show's universe and is already a well-known, seasoned superhero when Kara becomes Supergirl. She requests that he doesn't help so she can learn to be a hero herself. He does appear in the last two episodes, but is seen only from a distance in the former and we only see his unconscious feet in the latter.
    • Kara mentions masked heroes who are active in other cities during Episode 14, a subtle yet major Mythology Gag to the entire DC Universe.
    • The Flash doesn't exist on this Earth, but Barry Allen makes an appearance, when he accidentally travels to this Earth instead of another. Kara also doesn't recognize the names of other known DC Universe heroes/villains, such as Green Arrow, Black Canary, Firestorm, Atom, and Zoom. Of course, in this case, this "another story" is a separate TV show. The fact she doesn't know any of the names means either none of the other heroes she references in episode 14 are them, or they use different names.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • Despite her best intentions, Supergirl has some... issues endearing herself to National City, since her work sometimes leads to collateral damage. Thankfully, she manages to fix this with the help of Winn and James.
    • In the episode "Red-Faced", since she constantly gets blamed for things that really aren't her fault. When she stops two idiotic road-raging drivers from crashing into a group of children, they blame her for damaging their cars (nevermind the kids they almost killed) and one of them takes a swing at her. When she twists the guy's wrist in a moment of anger, she gets all the bad press of using too much force rather than the good press for saving the kids. Then there's General Lane, who comes to National City with the military in tow to test the Red Tornado robot against Supergirl. She wins the fight, but he blames her for damaging it, and when it goes rogue and threatens to destroy the city, he blames her once again even though the whole thing was his idea. At least he gets called out somewhat.
    • Maxwell Lord seems to be deliberately invoking the trope in order to make people distrust and dislike Supergirl. When the two are alone, it becomes clear this isn't because Lord necessarily believes that Supergirl is untrustworthy or incompetent, but that he is doing this to make it harder for her to oppose him in the future.
    • Exposure to synthetic red kryptonite causes Kara to go on a rampage, leading to reams of bad publicity.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Cat makes a crack that Kara, Winn, The Flash, and James look like the attractive, interracial cast of a CW show. Cue 2 months later and the series is now a CW show itself.
  • Human Alien: Kryptonians, of course, are superficially identical to humans. The DEO also monitors other aliens who generally range from this to Rubber-Forehead Alien.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: James sees Kara as this, to Cat Grant. Kara believes that Cat is plenty competent herself, though.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming:
    • Cat seems to have decided that nobody is allowed to publish anything nasty about Supergirl except for her. It's hard to tell how much this is because she actually respects Supergirl, and how much is because she intends to exploit Supergirl for the benefit of her media empire (and compete with the Daily Planet and their relationship with Superman).
    • She also belittles and abuses Kara all the time, but refuses to allow anyone else to do so.
  • Informed Ability: Alex says that Kara is immune to zits, and once a fragment of metal is removed from the axe wound she gets from Vartox, it heals in seconds, but she somehow has a single pockmark on her otherwise-flawless face, just above the beginning of her left eyebrow. It's pretty noticeable in the close-up shots. In-universe, it's possible Kara had it as a child before she came to Earth, but it wasn't visible on 13-year old Kara because she had bangs.note 
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • All of Kara's Love Interests are humans. Justified since the only male Kryptonian left isher cousin.
    • Assuming that Clark and Lois are also an item in this universe, then they also count.
    • Non, a now-dead Kryptonian (and Kara's Evil Uncle-in-law), and Indigo, a Coluan, were previously a couple.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Everyone pronounces Kara's name "Car-uh" except for Cat Grant, who pronounces it "Care-uh." This may be to emphasize a difference in pronunciation ahead of a similarly-named Marvel heroine due to debut in theaters in three years or so. Occasionally, Cat even pronounces Kara's name as "Kira", which is even less accurate. In-universe, this is probably meant to show that Cat pays so little attention to her employees that she has called her assistant by the wrong name for years. In the season finale, Cat finally gets it right.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: She could be a bit more diplomatic about it, but quite a few of Cat's opinions regarding how her company reports the news, and what they should be giving priority to, are actually journalistically sound.
  • The Judge: Alura was Krypton's highest judge, being responsible for the incarceration of most of the inmates in Fort Rozz, including her own sister.
  • Kryptonite Factor: The DEO reveal early on they have access to actual Kryptonite based tech, and that general knowledge of it as a Kryptonian weakness is limited. They use it to subdue Supergirl, and J'onn uses a Kryptonite knife against Astra. Kara can also be hurt by other alien materials.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: At times, Kara gets into bad situations because she rarely comes up with a plan before heading off somewhere. In The Flash crossover, Barry insists on a plan, when going after Livewire, but Kara tells him they'll wing it. Barry still makes sure to circle the building before entering it. Later, Kara admits she should've listened to him, as they had to bail, when the Livewire/Silver Banshee team-up proved too strong for them. Ironically, this used to be Barry's hat, until Oliver explained to him the need to plan ahead.
  • Leitmotif: The music for the heroic moments uses a four to six note motif.
  • Lighter and Softer: The show is produced by the same team behind Arrow and The Flash, is notably less serious than either one of those shows, with the prospect of superheroics being treated in a very fun and free-spirited fashion, without as much major emotional baggage that the other two shows have had to deal with. In much the same way, it's also less serious than the last live-action iteration of the Superman mythos, Man of Steel.
    • That said, it's lighter and softer with teeth, as the DEO - especially Kara's sister - often use deadly force to bring down villains ([[a heartbreaking example when Alex is forced to kill Astra) and a couple of episodes have addressed whether Kara is capable of doing the same if necessary.
  • Made of Indestructium: After Kara goes through multiple capes in the pilot, Superman has James deliver the swaddle blanket he was wrapped in when he was delivered from Krypton to her so she can use that instead. Like everything from Krypton, it's invulnerable to anything from Earth.
  • Male Gaze: The scene where Kara fine-tunes her costume shows her wearing the more revealing costumes from the comics. Ultimately, her costume is actually less revealing than some of the day-to-day outfits Kara wears to work.
  • The Masquerade: This is actually used as the reason why Kara is discouraged from being Supergirl. The DEO is waging a secret fight against the alien prisoners who escaped from the Phantom Zone. With Kara out in the open, they are worried the prisoners would start something of a Lensman Arms Race that would increase civilian casualties.
  • The Men in Black: The Department of Extra-Normal Operations, where Alex and Henshaw work. Supergirl helps them against such extra-normal threats.
  • Meta Twist: Unlike the trend in Greg Berlanti's other DC shows (Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow), an entire season goes by without any major good guys dying.
  • Mid-Season Twist: In the seventh episode, "Human for a Day," "Hank Henshaw"—after multiple episodes demonstrating suspicious behavior, with both Alex and Kara concluding he must be up to no good—is revealed to be the benevolent J'onn J'onzz, and is sincerely looking out for the girls' best interests.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • Winn thinks Kara is trying to tell him she's gay when she reveals her secret identity.
    • Leslie "Livewire" Willis accuses her of having a "Sapphic vibe", although that's more just a slur than an actual mistake.
    • When Astra sees a framed photograph of Alex and Kara in Kara's apartment, she tells Alex that "I knew there was more to you and my niece." Alex has to explain that Kara is her adoptive sister.
  • Multiverse: The Arrowverse is confirmed to exist in an Alternate Universe, with Barry Allen even crossing-over (and this series' Supergirl being glimpsed briefly in an episode of The Flash).
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Kara uses her heat vision to reheat the coffee she bought for Cat.
    • At Thanksgiving dinner, Eliza asks Kara to use it on the turkey as her oven wasn't quite hot enough to finish cooking the bird. The subsequent conversation reveals that the Danvers had Kara do that sort of thing all the time when she was staying with them.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: For the episode "For the Girl Who Has Everything", Kal-El's appearance in Kara's Black Mercy-induced dream should have been accompanied with John Williams-esque music.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: "Henshaw" distrusts aliens in general, regardless of their intentions. However, he will work with Supergirl to bring in dangerous alien criminals. He's actually a shapeshifting alien with a similar background to Kara's who took Henshaw's place so he could reform the DEO from the inside; the real Henshaw was genuinely hostile toward innocent aliens, and the impostor Henshaw uses this as part of a subterfuge.
  • Not His Sled: "Hank"'s eyes glow red in some episodes, and he displaying Super Strength, hinting that he might be Cyborg Superman, like in the comics. He's actually the Martian Manhunter.
  • Older Than They Look: Kara is biologically 13 when she lands on Earth, but is older in real time since her ship took a detour in the Phantom Zone for twenty-four years. Hence her baby cousin who was launched into space at the same time is already an adult when she arrives.
  • Only Known By His Nickname:
    • Inverted with Jimmy Olsen. In this series, he prefers to go by his real name James rather than his more famous nickname. He says only his mom and "the big guy" get a pass for it.
    • The pilot only refers to Winslow Schott by his nickname Winn.
  • Out of Order: Episode 4 was delayed a week due to the terrorists attacks in Paris. Episode 5 aired in its place, resulting in a bit of Continuity Lockout as the storyline was thrown out of kilter.
  • Planar Shockwave: Krypton’s destruction generates one, responsible for knocking Kara’s ship off course and into the Phantom Zone.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Vartox says that on his planet women bow before men. He also says that fighting Superman would be an honor, while Supergirl is just exercise.
  • Posthumous Character: Jeremiah Danvers died sometime before the start of the series working for the DEO. He sacrificed himself to save J'onn J'onzz from the original Hank Henshaw and more zealous members of the DEO. However, it is later revealed that Jeremiah isn't dead after all and is instead involved somehow with the top-secret Project Cadmus.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Several supporting characters are originally Superman's and adapted to the setting.
    • Jimmy Olsen and Catherine Grant are part of the staff of the Daily Planet. Here, James and Cat both used to be at the Daily Planet before moving elsewhere, and James still has a history with Superman.
    • Winslow Schott is the real name of the supervillain Toyman. The series later establishes that Winn is Toyman's son.
    • Hank Henshaw is the real name of the supervillain Cyborg Superman. It is possible it still is, as the Henshaw running the DEO is actually J'onn J'onnz. The real Henshaw died years ago]].
  • Protagonist Title: Series about Supergirl called Supergirl. Go figure.
  • Race Lift: James Olsen is played by African-American actor Mehcad Brooks.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When Cat is hesitant to publish a story about Supergirl going rogue, Siobhan goes behind her back and tries to sell it to the Daily Planet. Perry White, as a man of integrity, tells Cat, who proceeds to roast Siobhan for her unprofessional behaviour, rip apart her image of herself as an Intrepid Reporter and promptly fire her.
    • When Cat reveals that she knows Kara is Supergirl. Considering Kara is Cat's assistant and the two work closely together five days a week, it didn't take long for Cat to notice the changes in Kara's behavior: disappearing whenever Supergirl appears, only getting sick and breaking her arm when Supergirl was absent, doing/hearing things in her mundane job that are flatly impossible, and, of course, hiding her identity behind a flimsy pair of glasses and a ponytail. It also serves as a Deconstruction of the Secret Identity trope, since the things Cat spells out are all Superman staples which have somehow tricked his colleagues, and her tone of voice chides Kara for insulting her intelligence.
    • In the same vein, Cat quickly figures out that Kara's new cousin/friend/something Barry Allen is actually the new speedster. As for the clues, she cites that they appeared at the same time, Barry keeps insisting on calling the new hero "the Flash" (a nickname Cat finds ridiculous), and that he's super-nice, which either means he's a superhero or a Mormon. She then tells Kara that she can spot extraordinary hiding behind the mundane with the snap of a finger, causing Kara to panic for a moment, until Cat just tells her to go handle one of her chores.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: J'onn, after a while. Lucy, when she takes over the DEO. Finally, the President of the US, seeing as how she pardons J'onn and reappoints him as head of the DEO.
  • Red Herring: "Hank Henshaw" is occasionally seen with glowing red eyes, is stronger than he looks, and can defuse a complicated electronic bomb just by sticking his hand in it. All hints to him being a cyborg, like his comics counterpart, right? Not so much...
  • Required Secondary Powers: Kara noticeably can't manipulate heavy items without causing damage from her grip strength, and she has to take inertia and gravity into account. Her first rescue helping a plane make a soft landing, and a 90 degree roll, she had minor punctures into the fuselage. When she tries to pull an oil tanker away from the dock by the nose, she ends up tearing the front. Later she gets an ambulance out of a traffic jam, but makes sure to lift it in a way that won't risk further injuring the patient inside.
  • Revenge by Proxy: The former inmates of Fort Rozz would like nothing better than to kill Supergirl in order to get revenge on Alura, their judge and jailer.
  • Ripped from the Headlines
    • "Hostile Takeover" features a corporate hack on CatCo and putting Cat in trouble with the media and the board of directors, taken from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack the previous year and the ongoing problems that lead to co-chair Amy Pascal stepping down.
    • "Solitude" involves Indigo hacking into a cheating website, not unlike the Ashley Madison case.
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Most of the villains are traditionally Superman's enemies. An odd exception is Reactron, who is a Supergirl villain in the comics, but here is described as a recurring foe of Superman's who targets Supergirl to get at her cousin.
  • Rubber-Forehead Alien: Many of the criminals released from Fort Rozz appear to be of this type. Vartox, for example, looks human but for the ridges running across his bald head, which he covers with a trucker cap in his guise as a tanker truck driver.
  • Running Gag: Cat Grant consistently mispronouncing her employees' names. So far she's been unable or unwilling to get the names of Kara and Winn right.
  • Sarcastic Confession: When Kara is asked by a waitress how she stays so thin despite eating so many sticky buns, she responds, "I'm an alien."
  • Secret Keeper:
    • The Danvers family know of Kara's alien origin and powers. Later, Alex, Winn, James, and the DEO know who Supergirl is. Superman has known of both all along, since he brought her to live with the Danvers family. Cat Grant figures it out in "Hostile Takeover".
    • Barry Allen also knows of her identity, and vice versa. Then again, they normally live in different universes, so who cares?
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: James Olsen is revealed to be this because Superman asked him to keep an eye on his cousin in National City. The DEO was likewise aware of who she was, and specifically recruited/accepted Alex because of their relationship.
  • Sequel Hook: Max Lord seems to have gotten his hands on yet another piece of alien technology the Omegahedron, given to him by :General Lane.
  • She's Got Legs: Both Kara/Supergirl and Cat remind you of this. Constantly.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sibling Rivalry: Alex reveals she was always jealous of Kara coming to stay with the Danvers as Alex was no longer the star of the family. She was thus happy when Kara hid her abilities, with Kara accusing Alex of undermining her attempts to become a hero just to feel better about herself. Despite that, the two do still share a bond, if now strained.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: People who by default assume Supergirl and other refugee aliens are by default malicious are portrayed as antagonists who go out of their way to express their cynicism, and usually act as if their cynical notions are by default right.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Cat's attitude towards Lois Lane is one of extreme competitiveness and utter disdain, with hardly an episode where Cat doesn't have something nasty to say about Lois. It remains to be seen whether it's reciprocated.
  • Starter Villain: Vartox, a Politically Incorrect Villain who spouts misogyny.
  • Statuesque Stunner:
    • Kara stands 5'8 (taller in boots or heels) and a number of people (Winn and James most notably) find her attractive.
    • On paper, Leslie Willis. She is good looking and is half an inch taller than Kara to boot, but her Jerkass behavior puts her more on Tall, Dark and Snarky territory.
  • Superman Stays out of Gotham: Kara doesn't want people (and especially villains) thinking that Superman will come running to bail her out every time she gets into trouble so Clark ends up promising not to intervene in National City's affairs.
  • Super Senses: Supergirl has them like her cousin. Used mundanely to detect when her boss is arriving before anyone else does.
  • Supporting Leader: Both Cat Grant and Hank Henshaw are the highest authority figures of the institutions that Kara works for/with.
  • Take That: Supergirl is repeatedly criticized for the collateral damage she causes while saving people, which may be a Take That directed towards critics of Man of Steel. (Though thus far none of the damage she inflicts is depicted as involving fatalities.)
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: James Olsen (6'4) and presumably Superman himself (usually depicted as standing over 6 feet). Jeremiah Danvers (played by former Superman Dean Cain) stands 5'11 1/2. The 6'2 Barry Allen is slated to Crossover.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Due to "Henshaw"'s apparent xenophobia, he and Kara do not particularly like each other. However, they will work together to stop alien criminals. This changes completely when "Henshaw" is revealed to the the Martian Manhunter. However, there is still some tension between the two when Kara thinks J'onn killed her aunt, Astra, when in fact he lied to prevent Alex from becoming a pariah. Once Kara finds the truth, all is forgiven.
    • Neither J'onn nor, later, Lucy Lane, particularly approve of non-DEO types, particularly Winn and James, hanging about their supposedly secret base.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Not least when Kara goes into action to save the plane.
  • Three-Point Landing: Kara does one briefly when she demonstrates her flight to Winn.
  • Town Girls: Out of the three female mains, we have short-haired pantsuit wearing DEO agent Alex (butch), glamorous fashionable newspaper editor Cat (femme) and Adorkable superhero Kara (neither).
  • Trapped in Another World:
    • Justified by the survivng Krytonians as their home planet is now gone.
    • The escaped prisoners of Fort Rozz are this by default. Reasons being their planet also gone like Krypton, don't have the means to get back home, or their own people don't want them home since most of them are criminals.
    • J'onn J'onnz is a refugee on Earth after his home planet is conquered by the race who wiped out his.
    • Barry Allen will find himself stuck in this part of The Multiverse for reasons yet to be revealed. He is shown to be wearing the Reverse-Flash's tachyon device during the transition. At the end of the episode, however, he uses the same trick he used to send Eobard Thawne into the future to have Kara throw him into a breach.
  • Triang Relations: Winn likes Kara, who likes James, who likes Lucy Lane. Kara also agreed to go on a date with Adam Foster. Winn also liked Siobhan before she turned evil.
  • Unreliable Narrator: J'onnz tells Kara that when her ship broke free of the Phantom Zone, it somehow pulled Fort Rozz out along with it. However, the flashback seen by the audience clearly shows that the fortress's thrusters activated on their own and followed her out. Whether the discrepancy was intentional on his part remains to be seen. "Solitude" clears up the issue. Indigo/Brainiac 8 revealed she had activated Kara's ship and used it as a guide to navigate Fort Rozz out of the Phantom Zone.
  • The Unreveal: We never do learn what Cat called Lois Lane in "Hostile Takeover" (several hundred times), but apparently she's called her a lot worse... to her face.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Kara heavily relies on her super powers to win any fight. So when a guy nearly as strong fights her for the first time, she loses badly. After another Curb-Stomp Battle at the hands of her Aunt Astra in episode 2, she asks Alex to continue their hand-to-hand combat training until she's just as good as Alex is. Later episodes show continued improvement in hand-to-hand combat, and when she fights the escaped prisoner in "Livewire" she's begun incorporating her powers other than pure strength. By "Hostile Takeover" she can go toe-to-toe with Alex while powered down.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: James calls out Kara for locking up Maxwell Lord in a DEO prison without due process. However, he doesn't seem to mind the fact that the DEO does the same to several alien prisoners regularly.
  • When She Smiles: Cat is usually snarking or smirking at other characters. But after Supergirl tells her that she's an inspiration, Cat smiles sincerely at her - and it's lovely.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: In classic DC fashion, the location of National City in the US is never specified. However, the sunny climate, the proximity to a desert, its seaport and the fact that it's within a few hours' drive of Ojai and 500 miles from an unspecified spot in the Nevada desert would all indicate that National City is a stand in for Los Angeles.note  Or, at least, somewhere on the California coast between San Jose and San Diego.note 
  • Would Hit a Girl: Given, since The Hero is female. There are a number of female villains, though.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The pilot fudges the dates a bit. Krypton is said to have exploded twenty-four years ago. But Kara spends those twenty-four years in space before landing on Earth, then she becomes Supergirl twelve years later. So Krypton should have exploded thirty-six years ago.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Krypton exploding makes it impossible for Kara to return to her home planet.
  • You Know the One: The trailer and pilot go out of their way to avoid calling Superman "Superman", except once in the full version of the opening voiceover. "Kal-El" is said a few times and "the Man of Steel" once. The characters mostly say "your/my cousin", "the big guy", "he/him", etc. Thankfully, they've dropped that by the second episode. He's still referred to more than a few times as Kara's cousin, usually when referring to him as a person instead of as a public figure. But it's partially Justified: no one outside of his family knows the name "Kal-El", and she can't refer to him as "Clark" for obvious reasons.

"Earth doesn't just have one hero... now it has me. Now it has Supergirl."

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Supergirl2015