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Supergirl

Supergirl is a 2015 live-action television series which debuted on CBS and has run on The CW since its second season.

In the vast DC Comics Universe of superheroes, the rich mythology of Superman and the planet Krypton is perhaps the most famous and instantly recognizable. Enter Supergirl! Born on the doomed planet Krypton, the preteen Kara escaped at the same time as the infant Kal-El, but didn't arrive on Earth until many years later after being lost in the Phantom Zone. Now at age 24, living in National City and working as an assistant for Catco Worldwide Media mogul Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), Kara (Melissa Benoist) has spent so many years trying to fit in that she forgot to ever stand out. All that changes when she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and become the hero she was always destined to be. With the help of Daily Planet photographer James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), her foster sister Alex (Chyler Leigh), and the research of the super-secret, off-the-grid Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO) and its head, Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), who are tasked with keeping the Earth safe from aliens, Kara takes to the skies to protect her world.[1]

Originally airing on CBS in 2015, Supergirl was conceived as separate from the rest of the Arrowverse but confirmed, via a crossover with The Flash, to be set in the same multiverse, with Kara living on Earth-38. When the show moved to The CW for its second season, starting with Invasion!, it began participating in the Arrowverse's yearly Crisis Crossovers (though Invasion! was a Red Skies Crossover for this show). In Crisis on Infinite Earths, both Earth-1 and Earth-38 were destroyed, merged into a new reality called Earth-Prime.

A Spin-Off, Superman and Lois, is set to premier some time in 2020. It focuses on... well guess.

Tropes used in Supergirl include:
  • Aborted Arc:
    • As a result of the channel hop, a lot of lingering plots from Season 1 were dropped such as Maxwell Lord getting the Omegahedron.
    • Jeremiah Danvers hasn't put in an appearance since he miraculously showed up alive.
  • Action Girl: Quite a few. While the most obvious ones are Kara (naturally) and her adoptive sister Alex, there's also Maggie Sawyer, Lena Luthor (though she doesn't get in on it as much), and Imra Ardeen.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Jimmy Olsen. Aside from going from sickly little nerd to extremely well built, he takes on the mantle of Guardian.
    • Lex Luthor. His Manipulative Bastard powers are taken Up to Eleven.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Subverted. Hank Henshaw is still a vile man. J'onn J'onzz, who has taken on Henshaw's form, was always a hero.
    • Another subversion happens soon after. Winn is Winslow Schott Jr.; his father, Winslow Schott Sr., is the Toyman.
    • Downplayed but played straight with Manchester Black. He's still an Anti-Hero but he has a Freudian Excuse and is a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • In the comics, Mon-El was essentially a Kryptonian whose Kryptonite Factor was lead. Here his power level hovers somewhere around the original 1938 Superman and his lead weakness is much more prominent.
    • Agent Liberty was originally an ex-CIA agent skilled in hand-to-hand combat. This version is a former history professor who has no fighting ability. At first anyway.
    • Manchester Black lacks his psychic abilities, which bordered on Story-Breaker Power, and is instead a Badass Normal.
    • In Superman Red Son, the Man of Steel was several times more powerful than he normally is and lacked several of his more prominent weaknesses. His expy, Red Daughter, has a few extra-Kryptonian powers but can be matched by Supergirl in a straight fight and bested in physical combat by Lex Luthor, something that could never happen in the original comic.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Siobhan Smythe is Kara's best friends in the comics. Here she wants to murder Kara. To be fair, she is a Composite Character with Siobhan McDougal, another Silver Banshee.
    • Jim Harper still works at Cadmus but he sure as hell isn't the Token Good Teammate.
    • Agent Liberty was a hero in the comics. Here, he's an Absolute Xenophobe.
  • Adorkable: Everyone has their moments, but there are some standouts.
  • Alien Invasion: The Daxamites invade National City in the Season 2 finale.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Winn's crush on Kara in Season 1. Amusingly, when Winn has some assertive moments in the Season 3 episode Schott Through the Heart, a perpetually ignored Kara seems to be giving him her best "come hither" looks.
  • Always Someone Better: Someone once said that J'onn J'onzz was the strongest being on Earth. That someone was Superman.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Winn. He's expressed interest in both Kara and Clark.
    • Kara, particularly in her interactions with Kate.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Lena Luthor. As of Season 5, the ambiguousness seems to have been done away with.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Most of the cast has professional singing experience yet all tone it down in Schott Through the Heart. Chris Wood (Mon-El) is the most egregious offender.
  • Badass Adorable: Kara may be the most Adorkable girl who ever lived but she's more powerful than a locomotive.
  • Badass in Charge: Alex Danvers, now that she's been made the Director of the D.E.O..
  • Badass Normal: Alex Danvers, a skilled fighter and intelligent agent for, later leader of, the DEO and James Olsen, a photographer who is courageous and skilled fighter.
  • Beam-O-War: Happens constantly.
  • Become Their Own Antithesis:
    • Just like in Smallville, Red Kryptonite, given enough time, does this to Kryptonians.
    • Lena Luthor in Season 5. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, she's become everything she stood against in Season 2.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Kara is the Archie to Winn's Betty and James' Veronica with Barry Allen as Cheryl Blossom. She chose James but the ship sank pretty quickly.
    • James is the Archie to Lucy's Betty and Kara's Veronica. Lucy is the one who ends this and encourages James to pursue a relationship with Kara.
    • Mon-El is the Archie to Kara's Betty and Imra's Veronica. Ultimately, he decides to tap out of this trope and is quite happy for it.
    • The backstory for the series suggests that Cat Grant was the Veronica to Clark Kent's Archie and Lois Lane's Betty. Cat is a Graceful Loser but she still likes to flirt with Clark. And really, who wouldn't?
  • Big Bad Ensemble:
    • Non's forces and Maxwell Lord in Season 1.
    • Queen Rhea of Daxam and Lillian Luthor in Season 2.
    • The Worldkiller Cult and Morgan Edge in Season 3.
    • Subverted in Season 4. Though this initially seems to be the case, Agent Liberty is Lex Luthor's Unwitting Pawn, making Lex the sole Big Bad.
    • Lena Luthor and Leviathan in Season 5. After the Cosmic Retcon, Lex joins forces with Lena against Leviathan.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Legion of Super-Heroes shows up when Reign is about to annihilate the Earth.
  • Big Eater: Given the sheer amount of calories she burns through when pulling off her heroics, Kara, a trait she shares with Barry. Kryptonians can't gain weight under a yellow sun however.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: According to Lena Luthor, Kryptonians, despite being Human Aliens, have more in common with plants than humans.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Kara and Manchester with regards to Agent Liberty. Kara argues that they need to be better than him and not sink to his level. Manchester fires back that, for all of Kara's optimism, the Children of Liberty will not change in their xenophobia, given that they've already had tons of chances to, and need to be put down.
  • Break the Badass: Cat Grant in the Season 1 finale.
  • Casting Gag: The show loves this.
    • Supergirl's adoptive parents both portrayed Superman and Supergirl. Jeremiah Danvers is played by Dean Cain who portrayed the character in Lois and Clark, while Eliza is played by Helen Slater who portrayed Supergirl in the eponymous and critically reviled film.
    • M'yrnn J'onzz is played by Carl Lumbly who famously voiced J'onn in Justice League.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Maxwell Lord and Lucy Lane disappear after Season 1 given that Peter Facinelli and Jenna Lee Dewan didn't want to move to Vancouver.
  • Cool Car: J'onn J'onzz has a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air convertible. Pretty cool on its own but is also doubles as his Cool Ship. As he himself says, Martians shapeshift, so why shouldn't their technology?
  • Create Your Own Villain:
    • Livewire and Silver Banshee were both ex-employees of Cat's whom she mistreated. Sure they were also Asshole Victims, but when they got powers, they didn't even hesitate to come after her.
    • All the events of Seasons 2 and 3, and the main characters dismissing the man in favour of more important issues, play a role in creating Agent Liberty.
    • Agent Liberty does this to himself. First by killing Fiona, he makes an enemy out of Manchester Black. Then, when he drags away a man from his alien wife, said alien wife breaks into his home and kills his wife.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Siobhan Smythe/Silver Banshee is a character in this show, but most of her Jekyll and Hyde Split Personality "friend of the superhero as her good self" traits from the comics are given to Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost in The Flash.
    • Mon-El's real name in the comics is Lar Gand. In the show, Lar Gand is his father.
    • While Jor-El still sent Superman to Earth, his status as a holographic mentor from a previous Kryptonian generation was passed onto Alura Zor-El.
    • Hank Henshaw, but not Cyborg Superman, now shares his identity with the Martian Manhunter.
    • The eponymous heroine goes by Kara Danvers. Her pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths identity of "Linda Lee" is given to Red Daughter, albeit as a one-off disguise.
  • Depending on the Writer: Why did Krypton explode? Was it due to mining operations destabilizing the core, like in Man of Steel, or was it just naturally unstable?
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Eve Tessmacher is appalled to learn that Lex Luthor's year long gambit and Xanatos Speed Chess was motivated entirely by gathering up enough energy so he could fire a Kill Sat at Argo City and kill Superman. Why she's surprised, given that this is Lex Luthor, is anyone's guess.
  • Dramatic Irony: Lex may have loved mocking the fact that Lena didn't figure out that Kara was Supergirl, but even when presented with all the facts, including the Great Big Book of Everything, he can't piece together that Clark Kent is Superman.
  • The Dreaded: How do the heroes react when Supergirl sees that Lex Luthor is free? With a Mass "Oh Crap" along with ignoring every other villain for the next episode and a half.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Season 1.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Lex Luthor knows that Superman and Supergirl are cousins. He also knows where Supergirl lives, that her alias is Kara Danvers, and that Kara Danvers is Clark Kent's cousin. He cannot grasp the idea that Clark Kent is Superman, reasoning that someone with Superman's power wouldn't bother to walk among mortals. In Crisis, when face-to-face with the Supermen from Smallville and Superman Returns, he accepts that they're, in his twisted mind, Composite Characters with Clark Kent, while dismissing it as a laughable idea where he comes from.
  • Evil Is Petty: Everything that Lex Luthor does is motivated by his hatred for Superman.
  • Failed a Spot Check: As Lex mocks Lena with, how blind did she have to be to not figure out that Kara was Supergirl?
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse:
    • As J'onn points out, Manchester's crusade has gone far beyond avenging Fiona. He even accuses him of being glad that she's gone so that he can indulge his sadism. And whatever his motive may be, it doesn't excuse him denying J'onn the chance to explore a life of non-violence.
    • In It's a Super Life, Kara calls Lena out on this. What she's done goes way beyond not being told that Kara was Supergirl and Kara is through enabling her guilt complex.
  • Hot Scoop: Kara Danvers, Cat Grant, Nia Nal, and Lois Lane for the women. For the men, James Olsen and, of course, Clark Kent provide this trope.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Winn Schott, the CatCo tech guy and later tech specialist at the DEO.
  • Homeworld Evacuation:
    • When chunks of Krypton rained down on their planet, the Daxamites hightailed it away.
    • In Hour One of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, 3 billion of Earth's citizens flee to Earth-1 as Earth-38 is destroyed by the antimatter wave.
  • Hostile Terraforming: In the Season 3 finale, the Kryptonian Witches try to have Reign turn Earth into New Krypton.
  • Humans Need Aliens: Without Supergirl, National City would have been destroyed. As is pointed out in Season 4 however, aliens on Earth are often the cause of alien attacks on Earth.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: In Welcome to Earth, Snapper delegates a reporter to investigate the impact that legal alien immigration will have on the job market and how the average worker will compete with a superpowered alien. Guess what drives the Mundanger of Season 4. In addition, The Reveal of President Marsdin being an alien also resurfaced in Season 4 as part of the unstable political climate.
  • It Is Dehumanizing: Kara understandably takes offence when Lena refers to Red Daughter as a weapon.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Episode 13 of Season 5, It's a Super Life.
  • It's All About Me: While she's always toyed with this, Lena Luthor dives right into this in Season 5. Everything she does is derived from her sense of hurt, motivated by what she had to do, and all for her idea of perfection.
  • Last of His Kind: J'onn is the last Green Martian. Subverted in Season 3 when he learns that his father is still alive. Then played straight when his father performs a Heroic Sacrifice, then subverted in Season 5 when it's revealed that J'onn's brother survived.
  • Literal Split Personality:
    • In the climax of Season 3, Black Kryptonite is used to separate Sam from Reign.
    • It's also used to create Red Daughter from Kara.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: M'yrnn J'onzz to J'onn in Season 3.
  • Loophole Abuse: Maggie mentions that a lot of petty criminals can get themselves released on the basis that Supergirl isn't an officer of the National City Police Department and even if the officers had given her permission to interfere, then the more willy of them will claim that Police Brutality was used.
  • Love Triangle: Kara, James, and Lucy Lane and Kara, James, and Winn in Season 1.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Lex Luthor. Though there's some Xanatos Speed Chess to it, he was pulling the strings since Season 1 ended.
  • The Multiverse: Introduced in a Crossover when Barry Allen arrives and explains the multiverse.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • J'onn is deeply ashamed of fleeing when the White Martians attacked his people.
    • When Cat was still working for the Daily Planet, she interviewed the make-up artist of a famous actor's wife who revealed that he was a Domestic Abuser. Cat caved to PR pressure and wrote a fluff article. Three months later, to Cat's everlasting horror, the actor shot his wife in the head.
    • After Krypton's destruction, Alura came to regret her Holier Than Thou attitudes towards Astra's environmental warnings. She also regrets how casually she sentenced all those aliens to Fort Rozz.
  • Never My Fault: At his trail, Lex Luthor's defense of his actions was "Superman made me do it."
  • Nice Guy: Clark Kent is almost offensively inoffensive.
  • Odd Friendship: Mon-El and Winn.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: As the last few episodes of Season 1 were taking place, Superman defeated Lex Luthor, who'd turned the sun red, and got him sentenced to jail.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: As the Last of His Kind, J'onn has outlasted his daughters.
  • Pop Cultural Osmosis Failure: Many are shocked that Brainiac-5 hasn't seen Star Wars.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Cat Grant goes on a walkabout at the start of Season 2 (because Calista Flockhart didn't want to move to Vancouver for future filming) and is later made the White House Press Secretary.
    • Winn at the end of the third season as he goes to the 31st century to help the Legion.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: J'onn is wearing a pink apron in the Season 1 finale and his driving playlist features Britney Spears.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Non is Supergirl's uncle, though not a blood relative.
  • Secret Identity: Kara Danvers/Kara Zor-El, as well as "Hank Henshaw"/J'onn J'onzz and, to a certain degree, Mike/Mon-El.
  • Secret Secret Keeper: As confirmed in the Season 2 finale, Cat knows that Kara is Supergirl.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Just about every alien that attacks Kara is doing so because her mother locked them away in the Phantom Zone.
  • Suicide by Cop: J'onn suspects that this is what Manchester really wants, with J'onn as the cop.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham:
    • Justified. Supergirl doesn't want people to view her as a pushover who constantly runs to Superman for help. Averted in the opener and finale of Season 2.
      • Taken to ridiculous lengths in Season 3 where no one thinks to call Superman despite the Worldkillers being on the rampage. Properly justified in Season 4 where Superman tells Kara that he's planning to retire to Argo City given that he and Lois are expecting. That said, he leaves the door open enough that he might come back one day. Lex Luthor's whole motive in Season 4 is to make sure that this trope lasts forever by blowing up Argo. 
    • Before the worlds merged, Supergirl could open breaches to Earth-1 starting in mid-Season 2 but she only went there for the Crisis Crossovers, despite all the times she could have been useful in Star CityCentral City and/or Gotham City. By the same token, Barry, Oliver and/or Kate never showed up on Earth-38 to lend Kara a hand.
      • Seasons 3 and 4 do have some justification. In Season 3, Kara couldn't match Reign and the Wordkillers hand-to-hand, making it rather unlikely that the meta-humans or Badass Normals were going to make a difference. And Season 4 showed that any human heroes are eagerly eaten up by the Children of Liberty to promote their xenophobic hate speech. Whole teams of them would have only made things worse for the aliens that Kara was protecting.
    • Taken to great extremes in It's a Super Life where Supergirl is seemingly the only superhero on the planet. Though this could be justified in that Mxy is showing Kara events before the Crisis, and therefore all the action is set on Earth-38, or that the dictator of the darkest timeline, Lena Luthor, simply cleaned up. If her Mecha-Mooks can fight Supergirl on equal footing, a few meta-humans would hardly be an obstacle.
    • And now a new factor enters the equation: so far, Kara hasn't shown up in Freeland, and Jefferson hasn't shown up in National City.
  • Up, Up, and Away: Kara's flight, which is said verbatim by James in the Pilot. 
  • Ungovernable Galaxy: There's no federation or republic to manage things, slavers and warlords fly around with impunity and wars are so common that a large amount of aliens have fled their ruined homes to come live on an Insignificant Little Blue Planet. It's implied that Krypton had a role in keeping the peace once and without it, everything fell apart.
  • We Used to Be Friends: In a possible Mythology Gag to Smallville, Lex and Superman were stated to be friends before the former went insane.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What became of Cat Grant after President Marsden was removed from office is never made clear.
     
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