Once the origin story is out of the way, we’re introduced to Glee alum Melissa Benoist, who completely embodies the strong, lovable and charmingly innocent Kara. In just the pilot episode, Benoist manages to step into the role and make it her own, immediately differentiating herself from Laura Vandervoort’s Smallville version. She’s fantastic in the role – both in and out of costume – and manages to make Kara’s struggle with normalcy and want of a bigger purpose both believable and compelling.
The series could easily fall into the trappings of the cliched coming-of-age story, but Kara is not burdened by her superpowers and is instead excited about what she may one day do with them. It seems that Kreisberg and Berlanti definitely took a page out of The Flash‘s playbook for that one, which the viewers will greatly appreciate. Enough with the brooding Arrows and Gothams of the world – we’re here to see superheroes be superheroes.
It doesn’t take long for Kara – who spends her days working a desk at CatCo, which is run by a Cat Grant (Ally McBeal‘s Calista Flockhart) plucked right out of The Devil Wears Prada – to find her true purpose and, as if it’s some rite of passage for Kryptonians, save an airplane from crashing down in National City. It’s in that moment that Kara first learns to fly (which is handled really well by both Benoist and the VFX team) and where she finally outs herself to the world.
It’s here that the Superman shadow should begin creeping its way into the series, but the writers handle the Big Blue Boy Scout’s existence well. It also leads to the show’s swift way of supporting feminism without getting caught up in it. Never is anyone concerned about Kara becoming a hero because she’s a woman. Her sister Alex (who conveniently and secretly works for a government organization tasked with keeping aliens under surveillance) is concerned for her safety, while the rest of the world – who assumed that Superman was the only hero on the planet – is simply excited that there’s someone else out there saving the day, woman or not.