The cliches and the familiar tropes run strong in this superhero show but the great cast and pleasantly familiar premise make is a comfortable, pleasant show to watch. It isn't great but it is fun and nice thing to watch in that hour before going to bed.
First the cliches, and there are a lot of them. Kara Danvers an 'adorkable' overworked secretary with an overbearing boss and caught in a love triangle between the nerdy Winn and the studly James (not Jimmy!) Olsen. But she's secretly SUPERGIRL! Superman's younger cousin. Each week she has to chase after alien escaped from a space prison, a space prison her mother ran! And did I mention her mother has an evil twin too? And then there's the shadowy, secret government agency she sometimes works for, and sometimes against. With a director hiding a mysterious secret. And then there's Kara's adopted sister Alex who is not only a butt-kicking agent decked out in tacti-cool gear, but also a brilliant scientist.
None of these tropes really stand up to any scrutiny. It's hard to sympathize with Kara's work woes when she can crush coal into diamonds. Why is she putting up with this? It's not like she's helping sick children or caring for rescue dogs, she's getting lattes for her boss. And if her boss is so overbearing, how is she able to slip away to save the world every week? How much time off does she have? How come her coworker a lowly IT guy can produce any information she requires through the power of 'hacking'? You get the idea. The show makes some effort to paper over these problems, but really they're unashamed cliches.
On paper this pile of cliches should have imploded into a pile of cheese right after the pilot introduced the characters and the monster-of-the-week premise.
But somehow it works. A lot of credit has to go to star Melissa Benoist who plays Kara/Supergirl as an optimistic, hard-working hero. You see she really believes in doing what she can and finding the best in everyone. Calista Flockhart as her boss Cat Grant is a real pleasure and provides the snark to counterbalance Melissa's sunny personality.
The stunt casting and Easter eggs are also a treat. Former Superman Dean Cain and former Supergirl Helen Slater play Kara's adoptive parents. Another former Supergirl, Laura Vandervoort, shows up as a villain. Although the monsters of the week are fairly dull and one-dimensional, they're generally patterned after classic comic characters. Whoever thought the Ten-Eyed Man would make a TV appearance!
It is not a great show. A bit more care in writing and less reliance on cliches would help a lot. But it is a pleasant one to watch, and I think I'll be back for season two.