Kara. She's acknowledged to be adorkable in universe by Cat Grant because of how she giggles and adjusts her glasses every time she gets nervous, and gets excited about things as simple as takeout and TV with her sister.
There's some debate among fans about exactly how sympathetic we're supposed to be to Winn's "friend zoning," with many finding him bordering on creepy, which would be a problem if we're supposed to want him and Kara together. This is complicated by his being the son of Toyman. It is mostly agreed that after his encounter with his father, he learns not to bottle up his feelings and grows out of it.
Some believe Cat was not fooled by Kara's stunt with J'onn and still knows she is Supergirl but plays along because of how uncomfortable Kara was that she caught on, or else that she was fooled at first but later figured it out. This gained traction after Barry Allen's appearance, where she instantly figured out he was the Flash and tells Kara she always figures out things like that. In the season 2 finale Cat tells Kara, after she runs off to stop a fire, to "Go get 'em Supergirl," so she must've figured it out at some point.
Alex pinged a lot of people's gaydars as early as the pilot. The only male character that was interested in her was Maxwell Lord and she was not interested back because of his antagonism against Kara. Then there were also her past relationships that were hinted at with the implication that they never worked out and there was also her tomboy like sense of style and her personality. Season 2 confirms that she is gay when she develops feelings for Maggie, which leads to her realizing her sexuality and coming out to her family and she eventually enters into a relationship with Maggie.
Speaking of Alex, is she a skilled soldier who does her best to keep up with her superpowered allies and still succeeds? Or is she The Load who only makes the situation worse the more she tries to get directly involved and somehow failed upwards to become head of the DEO?
The entire climax of 'World's Finest', after Supergirl saves a helicopter from Livewire's electricity. Cue the cliché storm of citizens crying out bland phrases such as "Supergirl saved that helicopter!" and "SHE was willing to die for US!". It somehow gets worse when the day is saved by a group of firefighters, one of whom melodramatically offers Kara his hand and states "Supergirl... it was our turn to help you."
"Welcome to Earth" has Alex and Maggie visiting an alien bar. Maggie points out that the aliens are no different from minorities and are just hard-working immigrants who have to hide who they are in order to survive. Subtle!
"Crossfire" has the actual plot get put on hold so that Kara can have a not-so-subtle argument with a co-worker about gun control.
"Changing" has the villain of the week targeting "climate change deniers" who come off more like cardboard cutouts than actual people.
The CADMUS plotline in its entirety, really. Illegal aliens being targeted and killed/deported "for the good of humanity". Subtle it is not.
In season 3, the brief discussion between Alex, J'onn and My'rynn about the latter two shapeshifters choosing to live in America as black men borders on being too overtly political, but what takes the cake is James Olsen's complete lack of story for a season and the attempt to remedy this towards the end by giving him a monologue on racism that still isn't a storyline, has no significance on any plot, and is basically just political commentary inserted into a TV show to give Mehcad Brooks something to do. Not to mention that no other form of racism is touched on at this anvil-drop except black men, which is especially bad considering the very awkward attempt at pushing Mexican-phobic racism and homophobia together when hastily giving Maggie an exit earlier in the season that didn't do justice to either issue.
Season 4 takes the "aliens are immigrants" thing and runs with it. Aliens on Earth are immigrants, usually fleeing crime and persecution and those that oppose them are (mostly white) human supremacists who murder and terrorize aliens for being different, etcetera etcetera etcetera. These anti-alien plot lines with their metaphors for immigration, racism, and forced deportation are, in a word, unsubtle.
"Elseworlds" manages to sneak in a not-so-subtle wage gap reference despite it having no real relevance to the plot or advancing Lois' character.
The President being an alien. It's revealed in the third episode of Season 2, and gets zero follow-up until near the end of the season... which is just seeing her change to her true form again, which is bizarrely still played like it's a big twist. Granted, this is likely affected by Lynda Carter's schedule. It's finally resolved at the beginning of Season 4, and thankfully pays off in a big way by initiating the season's main storyline.
Jeremiah Danvers' whereabouts were an important hook for Season 2, but this was sidelined by all the simultaneous romantic subplots, the overall clunky story development and mostly due to Dean Cain's political stances on The CW after becoming a Trump supporter.
Lena Luthor's arc of not being like her family has been dragged for so long.
It reaches a turning point in Season 5 when Lena is finally driven over the edge and starts covertly acting like her brother.
The arc of Kara hiding her identity from Lena is strung out, long after it made no logical sense for Kara not to tell Lena or Lena the genius not to work it out. It became pretty obvious that the only reason the secret was being kept was to eventually give a reason for Lena to go bad. It becomes more egregious when Kara doesn't tell Lena, her best friend and the woman she considers a sister, the truth but tells Nia after only knowing her a few months.
Waiting for the team to figure out Sam is Reign. There are times when it honestly feels like the writers forgot we already know it's her and are playing it as a real mystery.
Season 4 spends a weirdly long time barely acknowledging the big cliffhanger ending of the previous season with another Supergirl appearing in Russia. Her random appearance in a single scene a few episodes in, and then in the first scene back from the winter hiatus, feel like they were hastily thrown together to assure us they hadn’t just dropped it completely.
Lena playing Kara while constructing a device to brainwash the world was her main arc in the first part of Season 5. It takes seven episodes before Kara finally finds out that she is being manipulated by Lena. When the show rebooted after Crisis, rather than reboot Lena's character or further the conflict between her and Kara, she retained her memories and started the whole plan again. This leads to Lena basically spending all her screen time in the lab in the second half of the season.
It took 17 episodes for season 5 finally reveal what Leviathan's plan in Post-Crisis is (to sabotage the Obsidian Lenses so they can mass genocide on the humans who are trapped with them). It doesn't help that Lex Luthor finds out about this before all the other characters, including Supergirl.
In Season 6, the arc of the main characters trying to rescue Kara from the Phantom Zone. Because Kara needs to wait for the rescue, it ends up forcing her to stay Out of Focus for six of the 20 episodes. The fact that it is the final season does not help.
The first time J'onn pulls out his memory wipe ability, it's a devastating last resort that he has no control over, having used it only a few times in his centuries-long life. Just a couple months later he's able to use it with perfect precision, saying simply "I've gotten a lot better at this."
Superman being affected by Myriad because he grew up on Earth or Kara not being affected by Myriad because she did not despite the fact Myriad does not affect Kryptonian minds (and that Kara herself spent more than half of her life on Earth).
James becoming the Guardian. Both his wanting to be a superhero ever since Superman showed up and his having a black belt are conjured out of thin air once the storyline starts.
The crew openly admitted that the second half of Season 3 had to be heavily rewritten after some unspecified behind-the-scenes issues (commonly suspected to be trying to avoid using Andrew Kreisberg's plans for season 3 after his sexual misconduct allegations since he would receive royalties), resulting in some awkward storytelling like Pestilence being killed off just one episode after we meet her after being built up for months, and her death being declared to have definitively stopped the Blight from happening in the future despite Reign having absorbed her powers.
Audience-Alienating Premise: Season 5 is currently getting a lot of undeserved fan criticism. However, two of the main season long plots have received a negative reaction from fans and critics and been identified as a reason for declining ratings:
Lena's descent into evil has upset fans of Lena who had hoped the show would not take this approach and make her a villain instead of letting her be a positive role model. Seeing a fan favorite suddenly deliberately betraying and hurting her friends (while at the same time trying to forcibly remove the ability for others to do the same) has been hard to watch. Likewise, fans who wanted Lena to go evil, as well as fans who dislike Lena, are annoyed that the show still does not want to make Lena a true villain, opting instead to make her more of a sympathetic Anti-Villain and a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and are upset that the show might redeem her out of nowhere.
The Kara and William romance is proving to be unpopular with both fans and critics. As of March 2020, not one regular Supergirl media reviewer approves of the relationship. The lack of chemistry between the two actors, the rushed and sudden attraction between the two, and shoehorning William as part of the "Superfriends" is turning viewers (not just upset Karamel and Supercorp shippers) off and even inspired a boycott of one episode. To date the two episodes where previews made clear they would feature the William and Kara romance have been the two lowest watched in the show's history.
For many fans, it appears that the show is deliberately trolling them, as both fans and critics pleaded after a highly praised season 4 not to turn Lena evil or give Kara a love interest (noting that in S4, Kara was much better written without any romantic baggage). The showrunners seem to have ignored both requests.
Awesome Music: Supergirl's theme is easy to associate with Supergirl and makes you connect with the flights and adventures of the character.
Cat Grant has some fans for her Crosses the Line Twice jerkiness, plus Calista Flockhart's well-performed displays of her Hidden Depths, but others turned against her for being gratuitously mean to Kara and her tendency to act as the mouthpiece for the show's sledgehammer feminist messages. Of course, using Cat as the mouthpiece has other implications.
Lucy since some see her as only being around to stop Kara and James from being together and others just don't like the attitude she has regarding Superman and Supergirl.
Fans who preferred the New 52 version of Siobhan Smythe are largely disappointed by the version of the character on the show. It doesn't help that the character is probably the most altered in translation. Comic book Siobhan is Irish, a singer, a Lad-ette, a Nice Girl and Supergirl's best friend. TV Siobhan is none of these things. Meanwhile, those who prefer (or at least are more familiar with) Siobhan McDoughal, the pre-2011 version of Silver Banshee, tend to like the TV Siobhan, despite the changes to the character.
Mon-El is either funny, adorable and the only person who can truly understand Kara's situation or he's a generic love interest who has no chemistry with Kara and is never anything but annoying. There is no in-between. The fact that the show all but dropped Kara's season 1 love interest apparently in favor of Mon-El in season 2 did not help his popularity, even among people who did not ship Kara and James. The split gets worse once the two begin to actually get together; some like how much development Mon-El has gone through thanks to Kara's influence and how much more progressive he's become (supporting Kara and showing regret/resentment towards his views), others feel that his ongoing lack of respect for her and apparent disregard of her wants is a sign that he really hasn't changed at all, and then, on top of that, a third group who consider him a likeable guy and think Kara's criticisms of his flaws to be hypocritical and unfair.
Snapper Carr, especially after "Exodus". For some, he's a serious Jerkass Has a Point who is completely right in his criticisms of Kara and her reporting due to her frequent attempts to push stories without sources, with some celebrating him firing her when she goes behind his back and leaks the story online, believing he is completely justified to respond in this manner because of what she did. However, others consider him a massive hypocrite as he only seems to put this kind of scrutiny on things Kara wants to report on while being far more lax when it comes to his own stories, especially as he repeatedly talks about bias and 'good reporting'. In particular, while he was eager to publish about the Guardian's supposed killing based on a single piece of flimsy evidence and chewed James out over it, he point-blank refused to publish anything about the stolen alien registry (thus, putting hundreds of alien citizens at risk by not warning them about their compromised identities) unless Kara could provide two named sources (and then, continuing to refuse when Supergirl confirms the story to him herself, still refusing because she wouldn't give him information about the DEO, arguing that 'half truths are just lies'). His later reconciliation with Kara may well raise fans' estimation of him, since it's made clear that he didn't want to fire Kara and regards her as a skilled and brave reporter, just one who needs to learn to follow the rules.
Maggie Sawyer has her fans for her relationship with Alex while others think that she is a bland character who nonetheless receives too much screen time and that her role as a Friend on the Force of the D.E.O. is almost always unneeded and even shoehorned.
Ruby is either an adorable child that brings lovely moments with Alex and Sam or an irritating kid who grates every time she's onscreen.
Kara herself. She frequently comes off as arrogant and self-righteous, particularly when it comes to Kryptonite and her "I never kill" attitude, while everything with her relationship with Mon-El is heavily controversial. It doesn't help that in season 3 she is completely incapable of defeating anyone in a fight she doesn't already have a massive advantage over, not even a normal human who got Worldkiller power literally the minute before Kara fights her. Thus she ends up either having to be saved or talk the villain down, which is pretty big strike against the main protagonist of anything.
Brainy. Is he an Adorkable fish out of water whose foibles are comic, and who genuinely tries to do the right thing by Nia? Or was he a jerk to Nia who constantly fails to communicate with his friends, even after being told off?
Lena Luthor has become this in Season 5. For many fans, Lena is absolutely right to hate Kara for lying to her for three seasons about her secret identity, and they try to defend her actions by arguing that she is only willing to do good, even if in the wrong ways. For other fans, Lena is a hypocrite, as by hiding her plans from Kara, she is making exactly the same mistakes that Kara made, and she went to maliciously feign friendship to Andrea and Kara when neither deceived her out of malice. Furthermore, brainwashing Miss Tessmacher, arresting and threatening J'onn's brother, emotionally manipulating Kara and agreeing to make a pact with her evil brother Lex is a great Moral Event Horizon for many fans.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: After a weird bit where Kara decides to keep her prophetic dream about Purity secret from the rest of the team for literally no reason at all, the very next episode casually reveals that she did tell them offscreen. It comes off like the crew very quickly realized what a stupid idea it was, but not quite in time to redo the initial scene.
The show's heavy feminist messages and whether they're being overdone and poorly handled or a case of where subtlety isn't necessary. Even this page got some edit warring over the subject when the show first aired.
The show being on a different universe than the "prime" Arrowverse. Some fans feel that this avoids the potential awkwardness of forcing Superman, a well-known and public figure at this point in the show, into a universe that seemingly has never heard of him before. Others feel that it was a waste of potential, seeing that the lore built up by the show can never be a part of the universe built up by the CW. Some of these fans are hoping that a universe "crisis", like the kind DC Comics is known for, can occur that will merge the two universes into one. Earth-38 and Earth-1 would be in a Merged Reality after Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019).
Season 2 dumping the Kara/James romance and subsequently setting Kara up with Mon-El. The show is either wisely ditching a relationship that didn't have much chemistry, or sidelining one of its only characters of color in favor of a white guy who's just as big a Base-Breaking Character as James. As alluded to above, the accusation that the writers had Kara dump James just so they could pair her up with a white dude has also added some fuel to the fire.
While Maggie's storyline with Alex has been well received, there's a segment of fans who dislike the idea of Maggie being with anyone other than Kate Kane, her former love interest from the comics. There's also a smaller segment of fans who are angry about the show omitting Toby Raynes, Maggie's original girlfriend.
The announcement that Floriana Lima would be downgraded from a regular cast member in Season 3, with many fans understandably worried about what this will mean for her and Alex's relationship, especially given the CW's large role in the massive swath of Bury Your Gays across a bunch of TV shows the previous year. Although it was at least made clear that it's entirely Lima's own decision, as she was caught off guard by her upgrade to regular, and wanted time to pursue other jobs. The crew also made sure to put in a shot of the two warmly smiling at each other in the Season 3 trailer. Although neither of them die, the fact that the two have broken up now, albeit amicably, is sure only to intensify the arguments. Others point that dumping Maggie skyrocketed the quality of the series, even if they don't necessarily hate Maggie. A third group is relieved to see the departure of a whitewashed character, independent of shipping preferences or the quality of the show.
Some fans are upset that Kara told Nia her secret identity in less than a season, while Lena had to wait almost three seasons to find out from someone else. Others feel that it's entirely justified, given that Nia was a budding superheroine who would be working closely with Kara in both their civilian and superhero identities. A lot depends on how people feel about the importance of secret identities in the first place. There are also those who are more upset about the fact that, despite Lena being friends with both Supergirl and Kara Danvers for years, she never saw through the Clark Kenting (though, admittedly, a Luthor who never sees through Clark Kenting is kind of traditional).
Kara's treatment of Mon-El early in season 2. Is it justified, due to things like the fact that he was totally okay with owning slaves and watching one of Kara's own family members be killed in cold blood, or is it unfair to expect him to act more morally given that he didn't know any better?
Supergirl being stronger than Superman in the second season, some like it and cite that there is comics precedent for Kara to be stronger than Clark, while others believe that it makes no sense that a Supergirl with less than two years of experience can beat a much more experienced Superman.
CatCo's continued role in the show after Calista Flockhart leaves in Season 2. Is the company still a foundation of the show and important to the overall narrative, or has it worn out its welcome and is no longer needed as the show focuses more and more on Kara's efforts as Supergirl? Not helping is the show struggling to keep the company relevant by having it change owners every season and having most of the Base Breaking Characters on that side of the plot.
The overall quality of the series itself. Is it a well-handled Feminist Fantasy show with some of the most well done queer representation on television? Or is it a very poorly written superhero show that only lasted as long as it did because of the positive PR from said queer representation and the charisma of its main cast? Similarly, are the social justice parallels justified, or is the lack of subtlety in making parallels to real life events undercutting the overall message, especially when certain messages don't make much sense (i.e. anything having to do with Donald Trump as the President, which he never was in the Arrowverse).
Everything about the Worldkillers in Season 3. Some thought that they were an interesting and unique new set of villains; others decried the fact that the only reason they were a threat at all was that Kara and J'onn's power levels were both nerfed and Superman was kept offscreen.
Captain Obvious Reveal: So many people figured out Mon-El was the Prince of Daxam that the crew eventually just gave up and openly put the reveal in the episode's promo.
Lex's death may be likely to be reversed, but it was still very satisfying to see his plans fall to pieces after he's spent his screen time being incredibly smug and cruel. Lena being the one to kill him is just the icing on the cake.
Lockwood is arrested for domestic terrorism and has to watch from the prison TV as his son makes a speech denouncing his beliefs. Baker gets impeached and arrested.
Contested Sequel: There has been controversies on whether Season 2 is an improvement or a worse season than the first one. Some people see it as the worse one due to the excessive focus on Mon-El, the Romantic Plot Tumor, the lessened focus on Kara as a person in favor of the previous two things, and Cat Grant's departure. However, others see Season 2 as an improvement.
Crazy Is Cool: Mxyzpltk. When challenged by Mon-El, he sends him to the DEO in his underwear. When needing attention, he makes a massive amount of roses. When he needs attention, he comes in with his own Superman outfit. And then, when challenged again, he transports him and Mon-El to a theater to reenact the duel from Hamilton. It takes Kara having an even crazier Batman Gambit to actually beat him.
In Season 6, he does some exposition about the villain of the season—in song. To the tune of "I Will Survive," no less.
Crosses the Line Twice: In season 4, Manchester Black goes all Knight Templar on the Children of Liberty, a human supremacist terrorist group. When he tries to kill their leader, Agent Liberty, we get this exchange:
Kara: If you kill him, what does that make you? Manchester: The intolerant Left.
Since Alex came out as gay and Supergirl officially became a part of the Arrowverse, some are shipping Alex with Sara Lance from Legends of Tomorrow and were hoping that they would meet in the "Invasion Crossover Event" and there was originally going to be a Ship Tease moment involving Kara mentioning her sister to Sara, but it was cut out. Come next crossover, though, they finally met and even hooked up for one night.
The crossover event also spawned a ship between Rory/Heatwave and Kara when he flirts with her saying "hey Skirt, call me" being called "Skirtwave".
Supercanary (Sara Lance x Kara) is also fairly popular. It helps that Sara called Kara hot in the crossover event.
Branching out of the Arrowverse, shipping Kara with the DCEU Wonder Woman got quite popular after the latter's solo film revealed their shared love of ice cream. Not to mention this promotion video, which involves Kara wearing Wonder Woman's boots like she just came back from a walk of shame.
Draco in Leather Pants: There are many fans who will downplay if not outright erase all of Lena's villainous acts in season 5. Some even claimed that Lena should've been named the Paragon of Humanity in Crisis on Infinite Earths one week after she tried to brainwash the world.
Due to Melissa Benoist's previous role on Glee, many have presumed that Marley Rose is one of the many alternate Karas in the Multiverse.
Similarly, many fans consider Dr. Lexie Grey one of Alex's alternate universe counterparts since she is also played by Chyler Leigh. It doesn't hurt that they share the same first name (Alexandra), and have a surprising amountof parallels. Alex revealing in the third season that she didn't just go to med school but actually became a doctor and worked at a hospital in Seattle certainly made this theory more convincing.
Cat/Kara, referred to as "Supercat", was the most popular ship in the fandom during Season 1 eclipsing Kara's actual romance with James. After Calista Flockhart left the main cast post Season 1 and started Commuting on a Bus the ship died down a bit but it still pops up showing that the ship isn't completely dead.
As of season two, fans want Kara and Lena to become a couple after seeing their chemistry with each other and "Supercorp" has easily become the fandom's most popular ship. Every couple of episodes there seems to be some new level of Ship Tease between the two, from Kara carrying Lena in a Bridal Carry in Exodus, to the two cuddling together in the next episode, with Kara acting a bit like a Stalker with a Crush, while Lena calls her "the best reporter in National City." It's gotten to the point that, regardless of whoever Kara is teased with as being her new love interest, a large percentage of fans will always ship her with Lena.
Franchise Original Sin: Season 2 has been very polarizing for being Anvilicious, a lot of unconnected plot threads, confusing antagonists and Romantic Plot Tumor. Those problems were present in Season 1, but there was more focus on the big plan and the series was not as preachy.
Friendly Fandoms: Has some crossover with the Merlin (2008) fandom due to the appearance of Katie McGrath, who plays a similar role in both shows as a friend of the secretly-powerful title character who later turns against them (though in Lena's case she eventually turns back, while Morgana did not). It got even more pronounced in Season 6 when Lena, like Morgana, discovers she has magic.
"How Does She Do It", Winn gives an Action Figure Justification about the toys on his desk, calling them "adult collectibles". While this is Played for Laughs at the time, implying Winn is a Manchild in denial while also being a Mythology Gag for his comic book counterpart Toyman, the reveal that Winn's father was Toyman, that he murdered people with an explosive teddy bear, and that Winn fears becoming like him, puts his dislike of the word "toys" in a heartbreaking light.
During the first seven episodes, "Hank" occasionally references how he's lost everyone close to him. The end of that last one reveals he was talking about his entire race, as he's really Martian Manhunter.
The following exchange between Alex and Kara in the pilot, after Kara reveals her powers, makes sense in a completely different way once Alex comes out as gay in season 2.
Alex: You exposed yourself to the world. You're out there now, Kara. Everyone will know about you, and you can't take that back.
Kara: I don't want to. This is what I was talking about, Alex. I've always felt the need to help people, and tonight I finally got that chance. I didn't travel two thousand light-years just to be an assistant.
Alex: What if people figure out who you are? What you are?
Kara and Adam parting ways in Season 1 becomes this after their real-life actors' divorce a year later. Got much worse in 2019 when Melissa Benoist revealed she'd been in a severely abusive relationship around the time of their marriage.
During Barry's first crossover appearance, Winn brings up the idea of an Earth where they're all evil, to which he replies "Been there, it sucked." This referred to Earth-2, where just a few characters had their morality switched, little knowing that a couple years later we'd be introduced to Earth X, where the local versions of the Arrowverse heroes are Nazis. This possibility was actually briefly discussed in the episode as a one off, "What if Hitler won World War II" scenario, but having to actually face it is an entirely different story.
Season 5 had aged poorly before it had even ended. The overarching message of the season was that technology was a negative influence, as innovations like virtual reality and new smartphones was distracting people from socializing in person. How badly did it age? During the airing of the final stretch of the season, a real-life unprecedented global pandemic forced the Earth's population to stay home (including the show's own cast and crew, who were halfway through filming the final episode), and world governments encouraged everyone to keep their distance from each other and to contact anyone outside their household through online services like Skype or just stay home and play video games/ watch TV for a few weeks to a few months- which undermined the message behind Season 5.
There's also, of course, the fact that everyone watching Supergirl is doing so on their technological devices.
September 22 is canonically recognized in the comics as the Earth-equivalent birthday of Kara Zor-El. On that day in 2020 it was announced the show is ending after the sixth season.
The joke in the pilot about Cat Grant not wanting to sit next to Bill O'Reilly is harsher after it was revealed that Fox News settled multiple lawsuits from women who claimed O'Reilly sexually harassed them.
The allusion to Chloe Sullivan in "Midvale" should have been a nice Mythology Gag, but it came just near the time her actress on Smallville, Allison Mack, was accused of being involved in a sex cult.
Blake Jenner's appearance as a potential love interest towards Kara in Season 1 is put in a darker light when Melissa Benoist stated that she suffered domestic abuse from an ex that had restricted her from taking roles with a love interest other than him and that he even threw an iPhone at her and damaged one of her eyes in the process. Benoist did not name the ex in her video, but many had guessed she was speaking about Jenner.
Heartwarming in Hindsight: Kara's text conversations with her cousin get even better now that we can imagine Tyler Hoechlin's Clark on the other end.
A lot of people were very, very uncertain about Tyler Hoechlin as Superman, mostly because they felt that he was just too young and a little too scrawny to be the elder Kryptonian. The preview scenes for the Season 2 premiere took the wind out of those sails.
Also applies to Melissa Benoist herself; her take as Kara while under the Red Kryptonite was very well received.
Katie McGrath's performance when she reveals her duplicity to Kara and the reasons for hating her impressed many critics and fans. Likewise, Melissa Benoist's portrayal of an emotionally devastated Kara was also highly praised.
When Marvel Comics introduced the blonde Carol Danvers as a supporting character for their Captain Marvel, it unintentionally looked like she was an allusion to Supergirl. Writer Roy Thomas forgot that Supergirl's civilian name was Linda Danvers, else he'd have named her differently. Now since the show uses "Kara Danvers", it looks like an allusion to Carol (who was announced to have a movie in production around the same time) though Supergirl got such names first.
When Cat Grant asks "Any plans to start a family?" Kara gets annoyed and says "Nobody ever asks my cousin these questions." In Superman: The Movie, the very first question Lois asked was whether he was married. In Lois & Clark, the second question (right after the big "Where are you from?") Lois asked "So, is there a Mrs. Superman?"
The fact that the shows airs on the same day and time as fellow DC Comics show Gotham does have some fans wondering whether they should consider this decision a meta promotion tool for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Indeed, on November 29th, 2015, a teaser for the film was aired with Gotham... and notSupergirl.
In "Red Faced", a red robot loses its arm. A few weeks later, one of the most famous robots in fiction shows up with a red arm replacing one of his own.
In "Human For A Day," James tells Kara she doesn't need superpowers to be a hero. Looks like he took his own advice one season later.
Plus, his previous role in a comic book adaptation was the extremely grim Road to Perdition. Just try watching that film again and imagine that little kid driving a getaway car will grow up to be Superman.
In "Star-Crossed," the team prevents the theft of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night." The day after the episode aired, a set of Van Gogh paintings that had been stolen from a museum in Holland fourteen years earlier were found and returned.
Chris Violette played Sky in Power Rangers S.P.D., a team that protects humans and aliens alike in a futuristic Earth where they coexist. Here, he played Domingo, a character who is racist against aliens.
J'onn complaining about Kara's pants chafing is pretty funny when one remembers that he called Kara's old skirt "surprisingly comfortable" when he shifted into her to fool Cat.
The Supergirl version of Lex Luthor has a staggering resemblance to the controversial Andrew Tate, to the extent that even Jon Cryer has acknowledged and celebrated the comparison. Given Tate's...comments around women and his legal history, it makes it inadvertently joyful to see this doppelganger version of Lex get routinely defeated by female protagonists.
Many will have watched 'World's Finest' just to see the Flash cross over.
Many will have watched the first two episodes of Season 2 just for Superman's first proper appearance (as his adult self), as he was The Faceless for Season 1.
Many Legion Of Superheroes fans came to Season 3 due to the confirmed appearances by Saturn Girl and later Brainiac 5 (that the season aired during a period where the Legion was absent from the comics helps immensely).
LGBT Fanbase: The show has amassed a large LGBT following because of Alex's coming out arc, Sanvers (and when that had to end, Dansen), and the copious amounts of Les Yay between Kara and Lena.
The show has done this twice thus far with J'onn J'onzz: first in the penultimate episode of Season 1 when Indigo stabs him, and again the next season when M'gann's blood begins to mutate him into a White Martian. You just don't do that to a classic superhero like the Martian Manhunter, least of all when he's anything more than a one-off character, so in both cases it was clear it wouldn't take.
The trailer for "Rather The Fallen Angel" would clearly like viewers to believe that James is going to set off a bomb planted by the Children of Liberty that will blow up a monument and (somehow) kill a captive Supergirl. We're apparently just supposed to forget that James would never just casually murder someone, especially not Kara, one of his closest friends.
Manchester Black is driven to a life of crime after his alien fiancée is murdered by the anti-alien Children of Liberty. Manipulating Supergirl to get closer to the group, Manchester interrogates a handful of the Children until discovering that the group's leader is Agent Liberty, aka Ben Lockwood. Paying Lockwood a visit, Manchester reveals Lockwood's secret to his wife, before trying to kill the both of them. Breaking out of jail, Manchester forms the team known as the Elite to combat the Children of Liberty's bigotry. Following the Elite's downfall, Manchester causes a city wide blackout and uses the Staff of K'lar to successfully drive J'onn J'onzz into killing him, using his final words to admire how "beautiful" he is. Throughout his appearance, Manchester proves himself to be combatively capable even without powers, and genuinely charming, all the while being one of the most dangerously competent foes Team Supergirl ever faced.
"Alex": Rick Malverne is a former classmate of the Danvers sisters who bore witness to Kara surviving a horrific accident and using her powers to save people. Remembering this, Rick pieces together her past identity once Kara publicly reveals herself as "Supergirl" to National City. Taking the opportunity to free his criminal father from prison, Rick kidnaps Alex and places her in a glass cage, located in a building laced with lead to deter Kara, while slowly filling it with water. Giving Kara and her friends 36 hours to either free his father or watch Alex drown. After being apprehended, Rick remains calm and sees through J'onn's attempt to shape-shift into his father, failing to trick Rick. Even when his plan is foiled when his father reveals the location of his trap, Rick graciously congratulates Alex for surviving his trap and accepts his imprisonment without malice.
Memetic Troll: Cat Grant is often used by the show's fans as a symbol (whether through images or by just quoting her) for mocking people.
Moe: Many fans find teenage Kara adorable. Adult Kara isn't far behind, either.
General Lane earns another medal by having Kryptonite injections on hand to torture Astra with. Did he come up with them just for her, or did he have a different target in mind when they were first developed?
Maxwell Lord truly cements what a bastard he is in "Bizarro" when it's revealed that he kidnapped not one, but seven girls in an attempt to make a Supergirl clone, inflicting Death of Personality on the seventh and actual death on the first six. To be fair, all of them were brain-dead with zero chance of recovery, but the nonchalance with which he experiments on and disposes of them sends the clear message he is NOT a good person.
If Non didn't cross it for you by using Myriad to brainwash all of National City to do his bidding, even commit suicide should he order it, he probably did when he sent a brainwashed Alex in a Kryptonite-powered suit after Kara, fully intending that either or both of them should die in petty revenge for Astra's death.
Indigo clearly crossed it a while ago, having tried to exterminate all life on Krypton, but in the present day, not only does she try to pull the same crime on Earth twice, she urges Non to use Myriad to conquer whole other worlds, and even gives him the aforementioned idea to send Alex to kill Kara.
The version of Kara that emerges when she is infected with Red Kryptonite crosses it when she goes after and tries to kill Alex.
Roulette was pretty bad in her first appearance, exploiting aliens in an underground fight club. She flew over the horizon in her next appearance, cooperating with alien slavers to abduct and sell humans. She shows zero empathy for her role in this, outright bragging about the diamonds she's being paid with and how she's taken human trafficking to a new level.
If Mon-El's mother and Queen of Daxam Rhea trying to kill Kara to force her son to return to Daxam with them first through bounty hunters and then personally wasn't it, then she DEFINITELY crosses it when she murders Lar Gand, her husband and King of Daxam over the fact that he let Mon-El go back to Earth and then swears vengeance on the Earth. She tells Mon-El that he died of heartbreak. Later in the series, she zooms even further past the event horizon when she forces a marriage on Mon-El and Lena by targeting one of Lena's charity hospitals and threatening to destroy it.
Morgan Edge crossed it when he poisoned dozens of children across the city just to frame and get back at Lena for buying CatCo.
Winn's father Winslow Schott Sr. AKA Toyman crossed it before the series even started. When Winn was a child Toyman responded when Winn's mother Mary tried to leave him and take Winn with her by running her off the road, giving Winn a concussion and then threatening to kill Winn if she ever went anywhere near Winn afterward. The fact that he later coaches his apprentice into following through with the threat even after his death makes it clear it wasn't something said in the heat of the moment. Mary also implies that Toyman had been abusive to her even before he went insane.
Ben Lockwood has several potential moments:
When he bludgeoned an innocent alien factory worker to death.
When he kills Fiona just for being an alien.
His plan to sic mind-controlled aliens on children to provoke public xenophobia. Making this even more disgusting, Agent Liberty is a father himself; he knows what it's like to fear for your child's life, and he's actively trying to spread that feeling around to suit his own agenda.
Manchester Black abandons the last of his morals when he plans on destroying the National City dam, flooding the city and killing thousands of people, all just to prove a point to J'onn.
If Lex Luthor didn't cross it when he turned the Sun red in an attempt to kill Superman (putting who knows how peoples lives at risk), he defiantly crossed it when poisoned the judge, jury, and prosecutor at his trial for turning the Sun red.
Lena during her villainous stage in Season 5, had Hope violate Eves body and overwrite her mind. It was never explained what happened to Eves personality. She also was prepared to reveal Kara's identity to the world without any concern for Kara's family and friends becoming targets for Supergirl's enemies.
The way the characters in the pilot avoid saying "Superman" (besides one instance) despite him being already famous, unlike say the Lois & Clark pilot or Man of Steel where he was a rookie and thus it was more understandable. Is Executive Meddling at work? Luckily, the crew seemed to pick up on how silly people found it, and he's freely called Superman past the pilot.
The way the show avoids showing Superman's face when he does show up. In the pilot it was passable for flashbacks, but then he appears in the present day only seen from behind, at a distance, and/or in shadows. And when Clark talks to Kara... it's through online text messages. Even in the first season finale when he flies to National City to help fight Non, he is only seen from a distance before falling under the effects of Myriad. When he's recuperating in the DEO's infirmary, he's unconscious the entire time and we only see his feet. He recovers and leaves offscreen without ever seeing his cousin, only texting her in the epilogue. Again, is it Executive Meddling at work, as not to "detract" from Henry Cavill's tenure? It's odd because Tom Welling and Brandon Routh portrayed Clark at the same time with no problems. Fortunately, this is also being fixed, with Tyler Hoechlin cast to fully portray him in Season Two.
When Supergirl offers to help the DEO fight aliens, J'onzz tells her to "go back to getting someone's coffee" instead. He says "I don't like aliens" before this, meaning he doesn't trust her either. But the way it plays out, it's like he stepped right out of Mad Men, telling her to Stay in the Kitchen because she's a woman. The trailer exacerbated it by portraying the comment as sending her into a Heroic BSoD, when actually she's moping over getting her ass kicked in her first fight.
Kara's sister lambasting her for saving a crashing airplane because it revealed the existence of her powers, made many people roll their eyes and brought back some unfortunate flashbacks to Pa Kent critiquing Clark for saving a bus of schoolkids in Man of Steel. Especially since Alex herself was on the plane, something that inexplicably goes completely unacknowledged by either of them, making her come off as an Ungrateful Bitch.
The "Supergirl"/"Superwoman" debate that Kara and Cat Grant have. The show treats a rather minor issue with extreme seriousness, with the two sides basically declaring that either the name Supergirl is sexist or the people who don't like it are. It doesn't help that Kara seems completely oblivious to the fact that calling young(ish) adult women "girls" is an English-language colloquialism that few people question. On the other hand, some fans interpreted Kara's problem with "Supergirl" as being that young adult women being called girls when young adult men are not similarly called boys (in this universe, Clark was about Kara's age when he became a superhero, and he's called Superman) is a symptom of young women being undervalued and having their accomplishments minimized, so for those fans the Narm in this scene is really when Cat Grant delivers the final line of her monologue, which was obviously supposed to be a Mic Drop moment, when she'd missed Kara's point entirely.
"You've spent more time in the friendzone than the Phantom Zone."
If you're not familiar with the comics, this can happen with the reveal that "Henshaw" is really the Martian Manhunter, as all you see is an alien dramatically announcing he has the stunningly ordinary name "John Jones". Young Justice (2010) got around this by pronouncing J'onn J'onzz "Juh-ohn Juh-ownz," with a noticeable stop on the apostrophe. Justice League did it by slurring the Js, making it sound like "Zhohn Zhones."
Alex trying to get information out of Alura's AI-program. Despite being told 2 times that it doesn't have enough information on the species, she then goes on a lengthy emotional rant about how she needs to save Kara... only for the hologram to repeat that she doesn't have enough information.
The twist regarding Master Jailer's identity, which basically goes "He's this character we only met this episode! No, he's actually this other character we only met this episode!"
The scene with the citizens rallying behind Supergirl at the end of 'World's Finest'; the whole thing is so melodramatic, badly paced and rushed that it can be near impossible to take seriously.
Supergirl's "beacon of hope" speech to break everyone free from Myriad. Never mind that it's fairly certain most of the people under its control likely weren't depressed, it's just way too much schmaltz to accept for some.
The anti-Kryptonite shields Winn creates for fighting Metallo only cover a small portion of the chest. Luckily, both Metallos are a good sport and keep shooting directly at that one spot, not even trying to aim anywhere else.
James' motivation for becoming the Guardian? Criminals broke his dad's camera!
The Wham Line at the end of "Crossfire" is killed a bit by Katie McGrath's incredibly over-dramatic pause, at which you half-expect her to turn to the camera and say "Yeah, that's right."
The opening monologue at the start of each episode can be seen as cheesy and cliché.
Cadmus' trap for Mon-El at the end of "Changing," which is apparently based on the idea that only an alien would ever stop to help a homeless person.
When the Cadmus president slaps Kara to see if she's really burned her powers out, Brenda Strong is terrible at selling the hit, making it quite laughable when the next shot shows that it supposedly made Kara's lip bleed.
Henshaw's supposed Badass Boast where he declares himself as Cyborg Superman can come off as this, as there really isn't any in-story reason to name himself after Superman like in the comics. Plus, even in the comics he doesn't refer to himself by the name, insisting on still going by Hank Henshaw. Justified when you realize he's basically saying he's more powerful than Superman, her cousin.
Characters throw out pop culture references like there's no tomorrow, but they feel more like the writers are trying to look cool and hip than being genuinely funny. Having Indigo talk about how she "wanders the same realm as Candy Crush" feels really forced and cheesy, considering she's a serious villain.
The last one is downplayed in Season 2.
Snapper Carr's lecture about journalistic responsibility is so self-important and over-the-top it's like he thinks newspaper reports are akin to gods. "One wrong statistic about the stock market and suddenly we're in the Great Depression! One misattributed quote from a candidate and you put a fascist in the White House!"
The Season 3 premiere opens with Kara having a dream involving Mon-El and her mother. What should be a very emotional scene ends up just being confusing as Alura has been recast, so as far as the audience can tell Kara is having an emotional embrace with just some random woman, until she talks about the dream more than halfway through the episode.
For some reason, Katie McGrath seems to have a much shoddier grip on Lena's American accent in Season 3 compared to Season 2. It doesn't help that the writers keep making her say the word "literally," which she's always struggled with.
Oddly enough, the promo for "Not Kansas" seems to go out of its way to give the impression that after discovering the continued existence of Argo, Kara blithely pisses off to go live there, not caring at all that she's leaving her allies to deal with Reign on their own, when the episode's actual story is nothing like that. It doesn't even come off as deliberate Superdickery with the tone of the ad.
Having various characters point out that Lena is "a Luthor" can get grating by the middle of Season 3, specifically when it is thrown into dialogue without much need to be, such as with Sam in "Of Two Minds".
James and Lena's on-again off-again romance in Season 4, which honestly feels like there's one writer who really wants them together and another who really doesn't, and they're just taking turns getting the couple together and breaking them up when their turn to write an episode comes around until there's no reason to care.
The fact that Dreamer has a superhero costume (apparently handed down via generations) despite her power being prophetic dreams. Cue fans wondering if Dreamer is just going to walk around in it not doing anything or if it's meant to be the universe's most needlessly fancy set of pajamas. This is averted in the actual show itself; Nia is shown to be able to fight to some degree even before she suits up and later episodes show her powers have a bit more to them than going to sleep and seeing what will happen, and she is shown to commit to expanding her fighting prowess and abilities once after she officially becomes Dreamer.
Kara's Badass Boast to Red Daughter about building up a resistance to Kryptonite for 15 years would sound badass, if it was actually true. Clearly the writers forgot she didn't didn't experience kryptonite or even know what it was until the pilot episode, 4 years prior.
The first trailer for Season 5 has Kara say the accomplishments of last season don't matter because people are so fixated on their technological devices... something completely unrelated to what happened in Season 4 outside of the anti-alien message boards. It's even worse when you realize her narration is over scenes of people hanging out while looking at their phones, receiving emails on their monitors at work, and what seems to be a young teen slowly riding down a sidewalk on a hoverboard while looking at a video game on another device, which is presented as somehow meaning nobody in the US cares that the president of the United States was arrested for working with Luthor. Yeah, Kara; everything is utterly dystopian now compared to before...
Season 5 has Lena declaring: "We don't kill people no matter how much they've hurt us." This would probably carry a little more moral weight if Lena hadn't gunned down Lex in cold blood the season before.
In the same season, Kara's team becomes known in-universe as the "Superfriends." While it is a Mythology Gag, the name is still pretty narmy.
Kal-El having his famous spit-curl as a baby. Which is comic-accurate, mind you.
Some of the dialogue that crosses into Narm can have this effect, due to the show generally embracing the cheesiness of older Superman stories.
When Kara is attacking Red Tornado with the Solar Flare, it is odd that Red Tornado resists such attack for a long time, but the scene shows very well all the anger Kara has hidden so far. The "Harnessing Anger" music and the flashbacks help to sell the scene.
The climax of Worlds Finest is rather cheesy, but it's still a heartwarming moment.
Kara's speech about hope in the Season 1 finale. To some, it's the most ridiculous claptrap imaginable, but to others Melissa Benoist actually sells every bit of it.
Winn's adoration of Superman culminating in a Man Hug. Narmy? Yes. Adorable? Yes.
Despite all of the narm that comes from Superman's name never being stated despite being well known. This was actually done before in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns where he is only called Clark, Him, or Schoolboy.
Some people heavily criticized the Clark Kenting for Supergirl's secret identity, even though both comics Supergirl and Superman himself have done it for decades (particularly Superman, who's both the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier).note However, Supergirl originally wore a brunette wig for her Secret Identity in the comics.
One-Scene Wonder: Jindah Kol Rozz has very little screen time, but she knows how to make a creepy impact with it.
Presumed Flop: The show suffered massively from And You Thought It Would Fail, due to an unflattering trailer and a lot of controversy surrounding its pro-feminist message, as well as staring a comic book character who had struggled to find a footing in the last two decades. When it was revealed that CBS were unwilling to renew it for a second season, many assumed it was because the show had been a huge failure, not helped by its subsequent Channel Hop to The CW, who had gained a negative reputation for the content they produce and especially regarding their superhero fanfare. However, it actually had great audience numbers, an average of 9.81 million that made it the most viewed superhero show of the 2015-16 season, considerably higher than the Arrowverse franchise Supergirl was adopted by when it moved to the CW. The reason CBS chose not to renew it was because the show was expensive (around $3 million an episode), and The CW would allow for cheaper production.
Kara being an alien is treated this way, to the extent that she and other characters refer to her becoming Supergirl as "coming out" several times. In the pilot, Kara tells Alex that she's always felt the need to help people, and Alex worries about people figuring out "who you are... what you are." In season 2, we also learn about the presence of alien bars that are hidden in remote locations and require a password to get in, reminiscent of forties-era gay bars.
In "Livewire", Kara refers to Alex telling her mother that she works for the DEO as "coming out." This turns out to be the first of two Thanksgiving episodes that have Alex coming out to Eliza.
Non is already a lackluster villain, but his replacement of the more interesting Astra makes him more annoying.
William Dey has been poorly received as a replacement of Mon-El as a love interest, and not just by Karamel shippers. His relationship with Kara has problematic start points, while for many fans he lacks the chemistry that Kara and Mon-El had.
For much of the first season, Winn came under a lot of fans' ire for his unrequited crush on Kara and resulting resentment of her. Having him get over it and moving him to the DEO in the second season, along with upping his Deadpan Snarker quotient and having some fun character moments with James and Mon-El, among others, has done a lot to make him much more of a fan favorite.
Many people who hated Mon-El, especially because of the forced relationship with Kara, think of him more highly as of Season 3, since his character has improved significantly. However, as soon there were signs of him and Kara continuing said relationship, the controversy sparked up again.
The pairing of James and Lucy was distracting and marginalized Barry Allen's first crossover.
A common criticism for Season 2 is that the characters' romantic relationships take a lot of time and focus from the overall plot, even more so than Season 1.
The Alex and Maggie ship aka "Sanvers". While the pair is popular, a number of fans and critics have pointed out how the relationship became Alex's primary Story Arc and focus which awkwardly results in her seemingly neglecting the search for her missing father, who is on the Big Bad organization's clutches, in favor of prioritizing the relationship.
The Kara/Mon-El ship aka "Karamel" has gotten a lot of backlash for similar reasons. Almost all of Kara's screen time has become dedicated to her relationship with Mon-El, almost neglecting her career as a reporter or her search for Jeremiah. The plot's focus on this relationship, combined with the focus on Alex and Maggie's relationship, has resulted in Kara and Alex not having had a single one-on-one conversation with each other that wasn't about one of their love interests since Alex came out early in season 2, when their close relationship and support for each other was the main pillar of season 1.
J'onn and M'gann's pairing isn't any better. There is also a big focus in their sudden attraction. You'd think you'd get a break when M'gann goes to meet other benevolent White Martians, but the focus goes to Winn and Lyra, another forced romance who barely contributes to the story.
It didn't get better in Season 3;
James and Lena getting together only seemed to distract James from being Guardian and returned him to his Season 1 role as a Satellite Love Interest.
Kara, Mon-El and Imra. Basically they only had the latter two married in the future just to add more drama to Kara and Mon-El's Unresolved Sexual Tension.
Kara and William in Season 5. The lack of chemistry between the pair, the lack of explanation of why Kara is attracted to him and along with their actual romantic status being unclear caused many fans to reject the pairing. It didn't help that poor writing led to one episode making William come across as a guy who wouldn't take no for an answer.
Mon-El gets this hard from haters who ignore any and all progress he has made and continue to insist that he's nothing more than a frat boy type guy. In some cases, he's outright accused of being a toxic and abusive partner to Kara, to the point some fans even tweeted at Chris Wood and requested he apologise for playing an abuser like Mon-El.
On the other hand, Imra gets this from a lot of avid KaraMel fans, who try to demonize her despite being a very understanding Nice Girl.
President Marsdin is regularly painted as being as bad as the villains of the show because she's an alien who posed as a human, even though she and her policies weren't malicious towards humans like some assumed.
Rooting for the Empire: In Season 4, it's pretty easy to root for Manchester Black and the Elite instead of for Supergirl and her friends, given the latter's ineffectiveness against the Children of Liberty.
While Lena wasn't a villain in Season 3, during the Kryptonite rift between her and Kara, most viewers and critics actually supported Kara (Kara acted extremely out of character during the arc and contradicted her previous behavior and belief in Lena).
Lena when she becomes a villain in Season 5. Both the character and the actress are fan favourites and many wanted Lena to go back to her original character. In fact, many Lena fans love the character so much, they justified all the horrible and evil things she did and actually blamed Kara as the one in the wrong.
James Olsen. Many found him boring, wishy-washy, and nothing at all like the endearing character of the source material (with Winn being considered a better Jimmy Olsen than this version). In Season One, his Ship Tease with Kara was very poorly met with fans blasting the two for having no chemistry at all. Then he becomes the Guardian which was regarded as a weak attempt to do something with him, along with his role as a poor man's Batman given his Cowl dynamic with Supergirl but being extremely generic as a superhero, and then he goes Out of Focus. Crisis on Earth-X even had a Take That, Scrappy! moment where the Earth-X version of him gets abruptly killed off by Earth-X Oliver.
Non, who has nothing to do with the original character with that name, giving the impression they just fished a random name out of the mythology for cheap recognition points. And then we lose the far more interesting Astra so he can take over as the Big Bad, something even Kara herself complains about.
Morgan Edge has been criticized as being a far less interesting villainous rich guy than Maxwell Lord. He's blatantly unsubtle with being evil, and is misogynistic towards Lena. There's very little to make him compelling. Not helped that he only appeared for four episodes, only one of which he was straight-up antagonistic.
The Graves siblings. The only thing they really had going for them was being Mythology Gags to the Superman lore. The problem was that they came across as cliché and villainous cartoon characters whenever they appeared onscreen, especially Otis.
William Dey has been criticized as yet another poor love interest for Kara. Initially appearing to be a jerk who belittled Kara (which appears to be deliberate trolling of the audience), the revelation that he was Good All Along didn't improve his reputation with the fans. His romance with Kara has been panned due to it coming out of nowhere and it starting after Kara feeling guilty for turning down his constant wooing attempts. The lack of chemistry between Melissa Benoist and Staz Nair hasn't helped. The post-Crisis Cosmic Retcon of William not meeting Kara before makes him look like a character that could be removed harmlessly from the plot. Fans have lamented that by prioritizing him, the series focuses less on established characters like Nia and Kelly. The latter became worse when Nicole Maines confirmed in an interview that the show will not spend time on Nia's career at CatCo to allow William and Kara to team up and drive the journalism aspects going forward. To give context and ensure fairness, she did state that the show would now focus on her growing as a superhero but the fact that the show is happy to remove stories about a transgender character doing her dream job to give more scenes to push the unpopular William and Kara pairing has not gone down well with fans.
Andrea Rojas, the other new addition for Season 5, also doesn't have much of a fandom. Her friendship with Lena felt forced, especially with her being revealed to be a pawn for Leviathan. Given that much of Season 5 was supposed to focus on Lena vs. Kara, it just seemed to distract from the A-Plot. Then there was her taking over CatCo, turning it from a legitimate news source into a clickbait-y tabloid, eventually leading to James' resignation. As if to force more connections, it turns out Andrea's former lover was William's best friend, and the reason he joined the company to begin with. Once Crisis reset everything, Andrea stopped being a servant of Leviathan, resulting in her not having a role in the plot any further, but still appearing in almost every episode (and still being ratings-driven). Gets even worse in Season 6 when she Obsidian North gets liquidated and she becomes full-time editor of CatCo, and barely does anything besides being a Mean Boss to everyone. Her desire to stay No. 1 eventually gets William killed, just as he was starting to get rescued from that heap.
Season 3 got its first half well received, developing more Kara and Alex, as well as the new and tragic villain Reign. Unfortunately, the behind-the-scenes mess following the dismissal of showrunner Andrew Kreisberg (due to dozens of sexual harassment charges) influenced the second half of the season, which was once again heavily criticized because of an excessive focus on Romantic Plot Tumor and They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character.
After a praised fourth season, the series suffered this again with Season 5. This season was heavily criticized, with the main criticisms being about Arc Fatigue involving Lena's plot and the "fight for her soul" (in the words of the showrunner themselves) by Kara and Lex, which lasted the entire season, and also about Romantic Plot Tumor involving Kara and William Dey, who many accused of having no chemistry and stealing precious time from other characters. It didn't help that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the production of the last episode, making the season end without its planned climax. As if that wasn't enough, thanks to Crisis, some of the plot of Seasons 1 and 3 fell under Canon Discontinuity.
One of the popular ships is Kara and Cat, often called "Supercat".
The ship between James Olsen and Kara is dubbed "Karolsen".
The one between Kara and Mon-EL is dubbed "Karamel".
Alex and Maggie are getting shipped as a couple in season 2. They're referred to as "Sanvers".
Mon-El and his Prince have gotten a little shipping, too.
Season 2 spawned the Kara/Lena ship, dubbed "Supercorp" by fans.
Mon-El and Winn is also a pretty popular ship. They're called "Monwinn."
Season 3 spawned the Lena/Sam ship, known as "Reigncorp".
Season 3 also spawned the less-common (but comic canon) Kara/Brainy ship, known as "Karadox".
A fairly popular ship is one between Alex/Sam called "Agent Reign".
The ship between James and Lena is named "Guardiancorp" by those who ship it. Most viewers and critics refer to the ship as Lames due to it being extremely unpopular.
Brainy and Nia's relationship has been referred to about equally as "Brainia" and "Dreamdox".
Alex's relationship with Kelly has been named Dansen.
The relationship between Kara and William is officially SuperDey, also occasionally referred to as "Sundey" or "Killiam". But similar to the Lena and James pairing, it is so unpopular with most fans, they are referred to disparagingly as Superforced.
Of those listed above, at present the ships actually featured on screen have been James/Kara, Alex/Maggie, Kara/Mon-El, James/Lena, and Alex/Kelly. The Kara/Lena friendship at present has not been as yet depicted as anything but.
Ship Mates: It was very common for Supercorp (Kara and Lena) shippers to also ship AgentReign (Alex and Sam). As of seasons 5 and 6,Supercorp, Dansen (Kelly and Alex), and Brainia (Brainy and Nia) are commonly shipped alongside one another.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: Karamel (the canon ship between Kara and Mon-El) had vicious arguments with shippers of fanon pairing Supercorp (Lena and Kara). Sanvers (Alex and Maggie) fight with Dansen (Alex and Kelly).
Special Effect Failure: There's been some pretty heavy criticism and roasting of the CGI effects, specifically for the Martians. After the show moved to The CW, a new visual effects company came on board and... well, it's pretty obvious the budget's not as high as it was on CBS. The decision to have Malefic in Martian form for most of his early appearances means that the weaknesses in CGI are more obvious, especially in this clip, where Malefic is overexpressive and very badly lit compared to his environment.
Love it or hate it, most agree that the build up to Kara and Mon-El's relationship was not handled well. Kara finds out he's a Daxamite and immediately launches into a list of reasons that she dislikes his people, essentially that they are a race of slave-owning, royalist, interstellar frat boys. He then spends the next ten or so episodes proving most if not all of those accusations to be true. He basically annoys and/or frustrates her at every turn. Then Kara has a conversation with her sister, Alex, wherein Alex informs Kara that she's attracted to Mon-El. Kara goes to the bar where he works and finds out that he's stopped drinking for the past week. Then suddenly Kara likes him despite the fact that he continues to exhibit most of the behaviors that she previously couldn't stand about him. The show has yet to make clear what it is about Mon-El that she actually likes. Turns out the production team only put them together because they thought it be interesting if Kara had a love interest she needed to "fix".
Lena and James. Lena joined in season 2 and appeared in half of the episodes that season. She and James had zero scenes together. James spend a lot of time saying that she must be evil and is conning Kara. Come season 3, the writers decided to make them a couple for unknown reasons. They shared a few scenes in two episodes and Lena disappeared for 4 episodes. When she returned, all the other characters discussed the great chemistry Lena and James had. They promptly got together that episode. The couple are infamous for their lack of chemistry and any logical reason why they should be together. Over the course of season 3 it didn't help that Kara and James had seemed to have swapped characters, with Kara treating Lena as if she was a Luthor and James defending at all costs. Fans saw the pairing at best as evidence that the writers had no idea what to do with James (so put him with the previous season's breakout character) or at worst, an attempt to stop fans shipping Lena and Kara as a couple.
Nia and Brainy, especially in the second half of season 4 and first half of season 5. After season 3 (and indeed even when he was cast) many people assumed Kara and Brainy would be together as they have been historically in the comics, but instead the writers put Nia and Brainy together, and their relationship is largely full of miscommunication and awkwardness, with little to no attempt to show them as a happy, functioning couple.
Kara and William in Season 5. Although most people believed William would be Kara's love interest once he joined the show, the writers have made few attempts to establish any form of romantic interest prior to the second half of the season. Because of this, many fans found it forced when Kara became interested in William out of nowhere.
The fact that Kara ends up agreeing to date William simply because she feels guilty about turning him down has annoyed both fans and critics.
Fans are also annoyed that William is simply a satellite love interest and seems to have been created to give Kara a love interest for no other reason due to her being single for 3 seasons.
J'onzz is accused of being a sexist jerk for not thinking that Kara can defeat Vartox. This is despite the fact that Vartox had easily beaten her once before, and was still the superior fighter in their rematch.
People like General Lane and CADMUS, while extreme, aren't entirely unreasonable in their views on aliens, as a lot of these aliens have powers that make them extremely dangerous and the two most prominent can do stuff like shrugging off tank shells and shooting laser beams from their eyes. Also Winn dated an alien that exploited the simple fact that her species can't be seen on camera to frame him and several other ex-"boyfriends" for major thefts; forced into doing it or not, the thought of that been a reality is terrifying.
Superman may be seriously annoyed the DEO is hoarding Kryptonite, but the events of Season 1 proved that it wasn't a bad idea at all. J'onn brings it up in "The Last Children of Krypton", noting Superman was neutralized by Myriad, and there were few options against power-hungry Kryptonians. Even benevolent Kryptonians may be altered by Red Kryptonite or Silver Kryptonite and be dangerous, so some Green K can put them in check until they return to their normal selves.
Snapper Carr attributes James' defense of Guardian in "The Darkest Place" as being a fanboy of superheroes, and that he automatically assumes cape = trustworthy. Of course, James knows the Guardian has a Thou Shalt Not Kill policy because he is Guardian, but Snapper's not wrong in his assessment of James.
Inverted in general with Snapper, though. Twice Snapper accosts others of 'bias' in their reporting (James' stance on the Guardian, and Kara's issues with anti-alien technology), arguing that they should be unbiased in their reporting. However, when we see Snapper's reporting, he shows a great deal of bias himself (giving out headlines for the other reporters that focus on negative reactions to aliens and a general anti-alien standpoint), but isn't called on this and shows no sense of irony, making him instead look like a hypocrite trying to silence opinions he disagrees with under the claim of 'non-bias reporting' while pushing his own agenda as the 'non-bias' one. He'd come off as an attempt by the writers to be a strawman for right-wing media figures who criticize liberal media for bias without acknowledging their own, except the show treats him as being a Jerkass Has a Point in these situations.
Kara inverts this in "In Search of Lost Time", when at her rant to Mon-El she accuses him of never apologizing for being selfish and a liar, but forgets that Mon-El indeed has; the previous episode he even apologized for having previously hidden that he was the prince of Daxam.
Lena finds herself in pretty much the same situation as Superman and the DEO having Kryptonite above when she figures out how to make working Kryptonite in season 3, right down to the Kryptonian supervillains that are trying to take over the world. While Supergirl is against Lena even having the capability from the outset Lena ends up making so many good points viewers are seriously questioning which one of them the writers think the viewer is intended to side with.
President Marsdin is treated overall as the Big Good of the show and characterized as an All-Loving Hero. We're meant to feel sorry for her when she's exposed as an alien and her presidency is declared illegitimate... but keep in mind that unless an Author's Saving Throw somehow proves otherwise, Marsdin knowingly and flagrantly violated the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on anyone born outside the U.S. from being President. Note that this prohibition is not discriminatory against aliens, since it applies equally to humans who were born outside the United States. It's especially glaring as the writers could've easily thrown in a single line about how Marsdin was born in the United States to alien parents, which would close that loophole.
Agent Liberty is a vicious, psychopathic speciesist demagogue, but he's quite right when he points out (as mentioned above) an alien willingly infiltrated and assumed the leadership of the highest office in the country. We're meant to perceive him as delusional and bigoted since the people of Earth have Supergirl and her allies to protect them, but it's rather hard to argue with his implication that, if Supergirl was ever to turn evil, the non-powered citizens would get ground into the dirt. Especially since we had an entire crossover depicting just how bad things would get under the rule of evil superhumans. Not to mention that Supergirl did actually turn evil once and it wasn't pretty. It's fairly reasonable that some people might fear that happening again.
Tainted by the Preview: The first trailer divided fans pretty violently, with many declaring that the show looks more like a cheesy Chick Flick than a superhero show. The second one did a better job showing the superhero action but fans are still divided. In fact, when the pilot was leaked six months early there was serious speculation that it may have been done deliberately to give people more to talk about than the trailers, and show that the actual series wasn't as bad as they made it look.
Influenced by a Hate Plague, Kara tells Mon-El some home truths about their relationship in Season 2, which had a lot of criticism. That said, Mon-El was wrongly accused of never apologizing, when he has, as shown in this video.
Again in the 100th episode, Mxy states to Kara that he never knew what she saw in Mon-El.
The reveal of Kara in the super suit. Fans are divided on just about every aspect of it: muted colors like in Man of Steel, Arrow and The Flash (though like the latter two especially and as later seen in trailers, the lighting exaggerated that), having a skirt and her midriff not being exposed unlike the most recent versions, having leggings along with the skirt, the removal of the yellow background in the S shield, etc... This more or less died down once the outfit was seen in natural lighting, showing that the colors were brighter than thought.
Similarly, her season 5 suit is something not everyone considers a winner - the red skirt being replaced by blue pants and everything about it darkening to Zack Snyder levels is seen to make her less visually interesting, and it ain't down to just missing the legs.
Jimmy Olsen being described in the casting call as an "alpha male" has raised some eyebrows, because the character is traditionally Adorkable. The trailer shows he has a much more affirmative personality along with a dose of Adaptational Attractiveness, going from a decent-looking guy to a full-blown hunk (the actor used to be a model). The fact that he's black in this version has also upset some people.
Kara's heat vision being white-hot blue, rather than the traditional reddish hue. A surprising number of comments have been made in regards to it. (Her Beam-O-War vs. Bizarro sort of proved them right, as it wasn't clear that Bizarro was using cold vision instead of a copycat heat vision.)
The perception that instead of getting her own character, Kara is essentially a clone of Superman/Clark Kent ("Superman with boobs"), with her personality, secret identity disguise, day job, supporting cast, and enemies largely adapted from previous versions of Superman.
A change within the series that was disliked is that Supergirl in Season 1 was her own character, while on Season 2 she is too absorbed with Mon-El.
Changing a blue sun to depower Kryptonians and kill males was badly received, since it was seen as a poor, convenient excuse to keep J'onn out of the battle.
Red Tornado is destroyed just seconds after gaining sentience, never getting any of the Heel–Face Turn from the comics. It's likely an unfortunate case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as creating that makeup job would have been hell on a weekly basis.
An even bigger waste as a result of Real Life Writes the Plot is Astra, the apparent Big Bad, who is killed off in episode 13 because her actress had gained a Broadway commitment.
Barry Allen was very wasted in the crossover. He barely does anything Kara or Winn couldn't have done, and even gets defeated by a meta when, given his experience with far more dangerous opponents, he should have literally run rings around her.
Maxwell Lord was dumped altogether since Season 2 and wasn't that exploited in Season 1.
Superman in season one since the main villains were Kryptonians, with some even being related to him; it makes little sense that he wouldn't get involved, especially with his cousin's life on the line.
Many fans feel this way about James Olsen's treatment in season 2, when he was demoted from being one of the most important supporting characters to rarely having more than three or four lines in an episode. In a perfect storm of this trope and They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, his stints as Guardian and as the head of CatCo only came up in a handful of episodes, and time was instead spent on characters and relationships that were less popular and that viewers were less invested in.
Zor-El. Despite being Kara's father we only know a handful of facts about him. Even when it turns out Argo City survived he's killed offscreen. His New 52 Cyborg Superman form would have made a good seasonal antagonist for Kara. He is brought back in the final season, having survived in the Phantom Zone, but his role is rather minimal and leaves for Argo right after he and Kara escape.
Speaking of Cyborg Superman, the original version turns up in league with Lillian Luthor. He could've been a great villain, but instead he's so generically evil even his actor is bored by him. Agent Liberty from later on is basically what the true Hank Henshaw should have been.
Mercy Graves was introduced in Season 4 as a female villain with a past connection to Lena Luthor, one that had a long history in the comics, only to be unceremoniously killed off a few episodes later.
Similarly, Manchester Black was introduced in Season 4 as a morally grey Well-Intentioned Extremist who advocated dealing more harshly with the rising xenophobia in Supergirl's world. In particular, he seemed to have an agenda involving J'onn that was never clarified, as he was killed-off midseason and never mentioned again.
Russell Rogers / Rip Roar. An tragic, unwilling assassin for Leviathan, William Dey's best friend & love-interest/ Morality Pet for Andrea Rojas. However he has no role outside of either of their storylines and he is killed one episode after his debut, but the Crisis basically erases him from Andrea's life, since she never grieves nor mentions him again. Also William is convinced Lex killed him driving focus away from Leviathan.
A pretty common criticism of the pilot was that it felt pretty rushed, with a lot of things glanced over and not really explored. A lot of people have speculated that the producers wanted to do a two-hour pilot but had to cut it down. A speculation that became justified considering that Jeremy Jordan confirmed via Twitter that the flashback scenes involving Kara and Alex in the Manhunter episode were scenes originally shot for the pilot.
Cat finding out about Kara's Secret Identity at the end of "Hostile Takeover" could have had a lot of interesting ramifications for the ongoing Story Arc of the show, but Status Quo Is God kicks in in "Blood Bonds" and Cat is convinced to abandon her belief. Subverted when it was revealed that she knew all along that Kara was Supergirl but preferred not to push.
Alex keeping Kara Locked Out of the Loop concerning J'onn's true identity. Especially since it was established a couple episodes prior and had at least the potential for dramatic tension and irony, none of which was tapped in the least.
One that can probably be simply put down to budget concerns: it briefly seems that Kara is going to have to spend the last two episodes of Season 1 having to deal with every supervillain she defeated in the past year (sans the White Martian, whom Non deemed too much trouble to deal with) all at once, but she's able to stop their escape and moves on to other concerns.
In "Myriad" it seemed like there would be a Superman/Supergirl team-up but no, Superman's affected by Myriad. When Non has someone close to Kara fight her, you'd think it would be the Myriad-affected Superman but no, it's Alex wearing a suit of Kryptonite. Thankfully the first two episodes of Season 2 have Clark visiting and teaming up with Kara. (We also get Kara having to face a brainwashed Clark.)
Kara dumping James out of nowhere. While it's understandable the writers were worried that the actor may want to leave, the characters could have had an alluded-to offscreen relationship for a while instead of having them break up after only a few days in-universe.
James Olsen becoming Guardian could have been better if he joined the D.E.O. instead of hiring Winn as his Mission Control. In that way, James could have had a much better development as a hero.
Lynda Carter plays the President of United States in the series. Many fans were hoping that it would be implied that the series was canon to Wonder Woman and that the president was secretly Wonder Woman several decades later. She alas is not Diana in disguise and is instead an alien. And going off that last part, her being an alien amounts to pretty much nothing in the grand scheme of the show's story. In fact, it's a popular theory that the show's writers planned to take this reveal somewhere very different, but were then stymied by Lynda Carter's schedule. Thankfully, this is rectified in Season 4 (no, she's not a superhero, but her alien nature does come into play.)
Samantha finds out she's actually destined to be a supervillain who destroys worlds, which she wants no part of. What seems like a quite intriguing story of her trying to Screw Destiny is done away with when her personality is simply forcibly overwritten, leaving her with no memory of it when she's not killing people. Pretty much all the fans also suspect that she only exists to die so that Alex can adopt her daughter Ruby. While this ended up not happening, it's still a popular guess for Andrew Kreisberg's original plan before it was changed after his firing.
With season 5 being focused on technology, and Brainiac 5 still being a major character, it would have been the perfect time to bring in the original Brainiac as a major threat, but the show chose to have Leviathan in that position instead (and never even introduced their leader or revealed much about them as an organization).
When Mxy appears to save Kara from Nxyly, it would've been awesome to see a pair of Reality Warpers going all out. Instead, they throw a couple energy blasts back and forth, then Kara gets freed and they fly away. While a full-on Reality Warper battle would've required serious CGI that may have been too expensive, the writers could've done so much more than just a couple energy blasts.
Tough Act to Follow: The show had the guts to make an episode based on Alan Moore's classic Superman story For the Man Who Has Everything, despite Justice League already having done a very highly regarded adaptation of it (enough that it's the only serious adaptation of Moore's work that he likes). Not helping is the necessity to cut out the major roles played by Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman.
Lena Luthor's plan to uplift humanity and give us superpowers is something Kara considers to be a terrible idea. In real life, that's more or less the basis of why human beings create technology, tools, and medicine so that we're less vulnerable. Given how many superheroes exist from accidents like the Flash or Firestorm, it doesn't seem like a bad idea at all.
Manchester Black is treated as an irredeemable Terrorist Without A Cause (and is literally stated to be such). However, his victims and targets are A Nazi by Any Other Name nationalists and terrorists who have murdered children. The comparison of "fascists" and "people who kill fascists" as being equally bad has offended a lot of fans, or at least isn't seen with the same level of Black-and-White Morality Kara ascribes to the situation. Even when Manchester Black attacks the White House, it's after the President has been revealed to have targeted refugee ships. That being said, all this does finally go out the window when he attempts to break the National City dam and kill everyone in the city just to torment J'onn.
When Reactron shows up to attack Kara to get to Superman, Kara insists on not getting Clark's help, wanting to beat him by herself to show the city that she doesn't need Clark's help, and is shown getting upset when Maxwell Lord thanks Superman for saving him when it was Kara who freed him, and gets angry at James for calling Clark for help. While we're supposed to sympathize with Kara, it's hard to ignore the fact she's putting her ego before the safety of others by refusing help stopping a dangerous madman, especially as it's noted that Clark himself could never beat Reactron.
Kara's philosophical clashes with the DEO verge on this too. She strictly believes in Thou Shalt Not Kill, but she's working with a government security agency whose very job is to decide whether or not lethal force is necessary to combat paranormal threats. Her insistence on not wanting to kill her terrorist aunt and uncle does far more harm than good. This fades out after Season 1, which may imply Character Development.
The otherwise-likeable Superman takes it far too personally that J'onn has Kryptonite. It was not just an affair of trust, it is that not all Kryptonians are benevolent and even the benevolent ones can fall into Not Himself status (as Superman himself has done in literally half his appearances).
Kara when he is dismissive of Guardian. She believes herself to be able to define who may or may not be a hero, self-righteously calls him a vigilante, and distrusts him for having a secret identity, not to mention seeming to feel that a Badass Normal is not good enough to fight crime.
Ironically, if she knew who Guardian was, she could have made an argument that he's too reliant on his suit, and that even she was forced to go through intense hand-to-hand training before she could start out in the field. But that's one point which is never addressed.
President Marsdin is seen as practically a superhero in her own right by the main cast, especially by Kara. However Marsdin's reckless jeopardizing of lives (like Cat Grant's) during the Daxamite invasion leaves her looking a lot less likable as does the utterly unquestioning willingness of the heroes to cover up her identity as a non-human. Talking about that, such a plot twist makes hard not to think of her as an usurper, since presidents should be citizens (US Presidents are actually required to be born in the United States, not just naturalized citizens) to avoid cultural invasions and she must have bypassed the law with false documents to be a president. When she discusses with Kara the fact that she's legally illegitimate, she never seems apologetic at all for the fact that she is blatantly breaking the law which she swore to uphold. It also doesn't help that the show makes a few references to the Donald Trump administration like Maggie's father saying "They're talking about building a wall to keep us out," with the crew apparently not thinking through that it would be Marsdin doing that stuff.
Lena's behavior in Season 5 includes turning Eve into a Meat Puppet against her will and plotting to brainwash humanity. Sure, she's clearly portrayed as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but the audience is generally expected to have much more sympathy towards her than she actually merits. However, the episode "It's a Super Life" has Kara acknowledge that she shouldn't blame herself for Lena's decisions, since it was her who chose to do evil things.
Additionally, Lena getting angry at Kara for not revealing her Secret Identity. Kara had no particular reason to tell Lena her identity, and multiple good reasons not to (Lena being used as a hostage or falling victim to mind control/telepathy, amongst others), yet she feels betrayed by Kara taking sensible security precautions. Additionally, of the main cast, with the exception of Kelly note J'onn and M'gann, the most powerful people on the planet; Alex, Brainy, and formerly Winn, DEO agents who usually spend most of their time with J'onn or Kara; and James and Nia, who spend most of their time in the same office as Kara, plus James knew already she's the one most in danger of kidnap, especially given her connection to Lex, and that all the others on the list are Badass Normals or have superpowers. The show itself addresses this in Season Six, with Lena admitting that she understands why Kara kept it secret from her and that she was completely in the wrong to get mad about it.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The show is promoted as a more family-friendly alternative to the glut of Darker and Edgier superhero shows currently on TV, and has a dedicated fanbase of young girls. That said, the show tackles mature topics, has the occasional sexual innuendo, and a fair amount of violence, including a rather shocking moment during the season 1 finale when J'onn rips a female villain in half. Being that she's an alien capable of taking her own body apart, this isn't as gory as you'd think, but you still see her two halves after and she does definitely die. At the same time, Supergirl is shown making her first kill as she burns an enemy Kryptonian's eyes out.
The episode "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" aired right before the start of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign. With this in mind, it's fairly easy to see the parallels between Senator Crane's anti-alien rhetoric and the current real-life debates about Syrian refugees, legal and illegal immigration, and the like.
The two-part season finale of 2017 was called "Resist"/"Nevertheless, She Persisted". Both of these phrases were used in that year as definitively anti-Trump, and had the plot of having to go to last resorts to chase out a delusional and ruthless tyrant who wanted to take over the world for petty reasons after pretending to be a friendly face and manipulating the heroes.
As noted above, Claire Holt was the favorite to play Kara - resulting in some feeling disappointed when Melissa Benoist was cast. But after watching the pilot, most of those detractors changed their minds. It's widely agreed by fans and critics that Melissa Benoist's Kara is one of the best things about the show.
Berlanti has assured fans that the show's version of Superman will be kinder, gentler and more overtly heroic than his movie counterpart, winning over Superman fans who detest the Darker and EdgierDCEU version of the characters. That said, the show doesn't pull punches, either, for those who were wary that the show would be tooLighter and Softer. The action can get quite vicious and brutal, straining the boundaries of what a broadcast show will allow.
Tyler Hoechlin was an unexpected casting choice to play the legendary Man of Steel. But after his performance in the Season 2 premiere, he became a fan favorite.
The approach of Reign as a better executed big bad than the unclear ones from the previous seasons has been well received.
Jon Cryer's performance as Lex Luthor revived interest for the series because of his unique way of portraying the character and for the effective demonstration of his manipulative skills.
Kara. Not only does she have to live with the memory of her dead planet, a fact made more heartbreaking considering that, unlike her cousin, she actually has memories of her time there, there's also the fact that her mission to protect her cousin was a complete failure. The person she was supposed to protect is now not only the most legendary hero of all time, but also someone she's having a hard time measuring up to. She also has to contend with the fact that a family member that Kara grew up with and loved is now not only a megalomaniacal villain itching to take over the world, but also seems to show no bones towards the idea of killing her own niece. And, all the while, she's being scrutinized on her heroics, including getting body-shamed on the radio, and has a large number of very powerful alien and metahuman criminals wanting to kill her to get back at her mom or at Superman himself. She is later forced to send her big love to another world and is understandably heartbroken. When he returns, he is married.
J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter. The Last of His Kind after all the other Green Martians were wiped out by the White Martians, he fled to Earth, only to get unfairly branded as dangerous by the DEO and hunted like an animal. After the man leading the charge against him was killed due to his teammate Jeremiah Danvers realizing the truth and pulling a Heroic Sacrifice, J'onn promised to look after his daughters, which he pulled off by assuming the identity of the man who'd been hunting him, Hank Henshaw, and was forced to act just as bigoted towards aliens to avoid arousing suspicion. When he revealed himself to stop Kara (who was Drunk on the Dark Side at the time), his own agency locked him up.
Lena Luthor was adopted by a mother who clearly doesn't love her, and has been forced to live with the fact that her adopted brother is a monster who tried to have her killed. In addition, their actions mean that she is seen as being like them, and Kara is really the only person who trusts her, with Lena even calling her her only friend. In addition, it's shown she spends her Thanksgiving alone in her office. And then she had to kill her old flame, with whom she had just been rekindling a romance.
M'gann, and considering her race, Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. She's a White Martian who despises what she is to the point where she chooses to manifest as a Green Martian instead. She is shocked and warmed to see a Green Martian survived, but can't tell him what she really is. When she's forced to cure him, she knows it'll turn him into a White Martian, something she abhors, but she'll do anything to save his life. When he finds out, he doesn't care or even believe that she's a Token Heroic Orc, and locks her up indefinitely, even though she did nothing wrong. Mercifully, three episodes later, when M'gann is at her most vulnerable (being assaulted by the other White Martians through a psychic attack), J'onn comes to see the kind of person she really is and helps her through a mind meld, forgiving (and making peace with) her for her heritage as well as releasing her from the DEO.
Some are saying the guy cast as Winslow Schott would make for a better Jimmy Olsen than the guy actually playing Jimmy Olsen. The pilot does give some justification to the divergence: due to the long gap between Superman and Supergirl's debuts (over a decade), James Olsen is now Older and Wiser.
Melissa Benoist got some of this before the show began, mainly because a lot of people wanted an actress like Claire Holt to play Supergirl. This one has largely subsided after the show aired, with many people liking Benoist's performance, even those who don't like the show itself.
The casting of Italia Ricci, who is Italian-Canadian and quite clearly Italian in appearance, to play pale, blue eyed, fair haired, Irish Siobhan Smythe. Even though the show changed Siobhan from being Irish (as she is the comics) to just an American of Irish descent, her olive skintone still raised some eyebrows.
The casting of Tyler Hoechlin as Superman. Similar to Teddy Sears' casting as "Jay Garrick" in The Flash Season 2, many feel that he is way too young to portray an older and experienced Superman being only a year older than Melissa Benoist, despite the fact that it was established since the Pilot Episode that Clark is already in his mid-twenties when a still thirteen year old Kara landed on Earth. That and he was chosen over fan-favorites such as a Role Reprise from Tom Welling, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello and the likes, all of whom are closer in age to what Clark is supposed to be in the show. The age issue is Handwaved in his debut episode, where it's said that adult Kryptonians age slower on Earth due to the yellow sun (which was already established in the comics), and Hoechlin managed to win the crowd when they saw him in action.
Maggie Sawyer is explicitly stated as being of Mexican descent (second generation) being played by a non-Latina Italian actress. This got worse with a guest appearance from genuinely Hispanic Carlos Bernard as her father.
Staz Nair as William Dey. Many fans think he has zero chemistry with Melissa Benoist.
Inverted with the casting of David Hoflin as Rick Malverne in season 2's "Alex". He's a fine actor, as is Gregg Henry, who plays Malverne's father in the episode. Even better, they actually look like they could be father and son, which Hollywood Genetics doesn't usually guarantee.
Red Tornado looks like a cheap Halloween costume, rather than professional makeup and costuming. And he looks more brown than red, as if he is made of chocolate. See for yourself◊. Though that last part turned out to just be the color grading on the photo, as he is quite red in the episode itself.
Indigo's costume and make-up◊ came under criticism from fans and even drew comparisons to Mystique. (Mind you, that's a case of Mis-blamed; yes, she does look like someone took Mystique, stuck a Brainiac symbol on her head, and hoped Marvel's lawyers didn't notice... and the comic version has looked exactly like that from day one.)
Silver Banshee's costume looks more like an aggressive Halloween cosplayer than supervillain. While there is some justification - since Livewire and Siobhan had to produce a costume quickly, it still looks iffy.