Supergirl follows another Kryptonian who escaped just before the planet's destruction. Unlike Superman though, Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist, Glee) wasn't a baby when her homeworld exploded. A 12-year-old Kara was sent in a ship to land on Earth next to her cousin, Kal-El, in order to look after him on the strange world. Unfortunately, her ship was knocked off course and she ended up in the infamous Phantom Zone for 24 years. When she, and a space-based prison known as Fort Rozz, were knocked out of the Phantom Zone, they crashed on Earth.
Kara wakes up to find her baby cousin has not only grown up, but has also taken the mantle of Superman. He leaves her to be adopted by the Danvers family. Eight years later, the show starts and we find Kara is working as an assistant for Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart, Ally McBeal), a media mogul who got her start at Metropolis' Daily Planet before moving out to National City to start her own empire. Kara's co-workers include tech expert Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan, Newsies, Bonnie & Clyde) and the newly hired James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks, Desperate Housewives, True Blood), the same "Jimmy" Olsen that made his name by taking the first real photo of Superman.
When a plane containing Kara's adopted sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh, Grey's Anatomy), starts to have problems, Kara throws caution to the wind and guides the plane down to safety. As a result, National City has a new hero that just might rival Metropolis' Man of Steel. What Kara doesn't expect is that she is quickly tracked down and detained by a secret government agency, the DEO, who just happens to secretly employ Alex. Lead by Director Hank Henshaw (David Harewood, Blood Diamond, Homeland), the agency's mission is to protect America from alien invaders. At first, the DEO sees the newly-christened Supergirl as the exact threat they are trying to stop, but Alex and Kara work together to show that Supergirl can be a help and not a hindrance.
Supergirl: The Complete First Season finds a decent balance between moving the season-long plot forward and providing enough monster-of-the-week plots to keep each episode interesting. The source for the weekly creatures are the escapees from Fort Rozz, and they are under the command of several Kryptonians who have also escaped. Chief among those Kryptonians is Kara's own aunt, Astra (Laura Benanti), who was imprisoned after an attempted coup.
Kara also finds help, not only in the DEO, but in Winn, James and even Cat Grant, though Cat doesn't know that Kara is really Supergirl. Both Alex and Kara end up with a bit of a surprise when they learn that someone they thought they could trust isn't at all what he seems to be, and they even learn that Alex's father, Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain), once worked for the DEO before his disappearance several years ago. While shocking revelations, these are minor ones compared to what happens later in the season.
Kara's enemies aren't all aliens though. One character quickly comes to the foreground as a potential threat. Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli, Twilight), is a millionaire genius who seems to have his own beef with extra terrestrials and what havoc they might wreak. Lord ends up in an odd place since he doesn't seem to care what aliens end up on the wrong side of his weapons, so while he agrees with the DEO's agenda (once he learns of the agency's existence, that is), he isn't all too keen on their methods, especially those involving Supergirl.
Other recurring characters include Lois Lane's younger sister, and James's former love interest, Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Step Up), Lucy's father, General Sam Lane (Glenn Morshower, 24) and enemies like Astra's husband, Non (Chris Vance, Prison Break, Transporter: The Series), Brainiac 8/Indigo (Laura Vandervoort, who played Supergirl in Smallville and recently starred in Bitten), Livewire (Brit Morgan, True Blood) and Silver Banshee (Italia Ricci). Benanti also does a great job of playing Astra's twin sister, and Kara's mother, Alura. While Astra gets more screentime than Alura, the two characters have enough differences to show that Benanti can handle the double-role really well.
Earlier I said that Supergirl doesn't fit into the shared universe with the other DC series that Greg Berlanti has put together (i.e. Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow). It seemed that a major driving force of that decision is not only the flexibility that allows Supergirl to exist in a world where Superman is a known hero (something not present in the Arrowverse shows), but the fact that Supergirl was airing on CBS and not The CW. Despite this though, the showrunners were able to work out a crossover episode late in the season. In "Worlds Finest," The Flash/Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) ends up breaking a dimensional barrier in his quest to go faster, and finds himself in the Supergirl timeline. While this crossover doesn't have a counterpart on The Flash, this is still a fun episode where the two heroes hit it off almost immediately and Kara has a bit of fun with another superpowered person.
Besides the especially stunning visuals that comes with Supergirl: The Complete First Season's Blu-ray release, there are also several special features that should interest both fans of the character and of this show. There is a featurette on creating the look and feel of Krypton for the episode "For the Girl Who Has Everything." In this episode, Supergirl is placed in a dreamlike state by a strange plant. In her dreams she finds herself back on Krypton as if the planet was never destroyed and her family, including a teenage Kal-El, is at peace. Another featurette is all about J'onn J'onzz, the character as portrayed in this series, the world he is from, and even a good bit about the comic book history of the Martian Manhunter.
The extras also include the 2015 Comic-Con panel that not only got many of the cast and crew in front of soon-to-be-fans, but also showed them the pilot before the original air date. This release also contains several deleted scenes from various episodes and an amusing gag reel.
We enjoyed Supergirl from beginning to end, and while the later episodes really picked up the pace, the show's start wasn't bad, it just had to get some momentum behind it. Any fan of the DC TV shows airing these days shouldn't miss this series, and now that Season Two is slated to air on The CW instead of CBS, maybe we will see some more interaction between Supergirl and the Arrowverse. Either way, it will be interesting to see where the show's next season takes The Last Daughter of Krypton.