Supergirl

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Supergirl TV Poster Image
Strong female lead shoulders the weight of superhero series.
 Popular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 104 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 71 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Viewers see Kara evolve from being reserved and somewhat timid to a genuine hero who won't back down from a fight, no matter the adversary. Central to the story is the sentiment that you shouldn't define yourself by how others see or relate to you. Instead, listen to what your heart tells you is your path. Some issues arise because of her gender (an argument over whether she should be called "Supergirl" or "Superwoman," for instance), but they're usually lighthearted. Integrity, self-control, and courage are important themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kara has a lot of great qualities that have nothing to do with her superpowers; she's industrious, self-motivated, and empathetic. Even as a hero, she's not out for recognition. She does what she does because it's what she's meant to do. Her sister Alex isn't always her biggest supporter, but when she disagrees with Kara, it's out of concern for her safety and when the two work together they present a terrific example of female friendship and cooperation. The series is relatively diverse; Jimmy is African-American, and a plot revolves around Kara's sister's experience coming out as gay. 

Violence

Supergirl faces off against sinister villains, and the physical clashes are intense and violent, enhanced by the players' super strength. Some scenes feature gun use (fortunately, Supergirl is inherently bulletproof) and other weapons as well. Even so, serious injuries are rare, but battles are frequent, including fistfights between men and (super) women. 

Sex

Some flirting among adults; an important subplot centers around Supergirl/Kara's sister coming out as gay, same-sex kissing follows the reveal of her sexuality. Kara interrupts a couple having sex, but nothing sensitive is shown.

Language

A few curse words in every show: "hell," "ass," "damn." 

Consumerism

The series is related to the story of Superman, who's not visible but whose legacy is influential for Kara. Some episodes involve characters or plotlines from the shows Arrow and The Flash, which share common creators with Supergirl. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In the show's second season, characters drink at bars and at home -- clinking glasses and chugging beers and glasses of wine to celebrate when good things happen. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Supergirl is a side story to the Superman legacy, following the evolution of his younger cousin, Kara, from his would-be protector to a hero in her own right. There are strong themes of self-reliance, embracing destiny, and following your own heart's desire, all portrayed by a very likable, fresh-faced heroine who's not perfect from the get-go. Her encounters with the show's villains are lengthy and violent, even if the players' superpowers keep them from showing signs of wear and tear, and viewers should know that they may see male characters battling -- including punching -- female characters. You'll also see some gun use, which has no effect on Kara's bulletproof body. You don't need to know Superman's story to ease into this one, but if your tweens and teens haven't seen the classic movies, they may want to do so after all the inferences here.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJoanne S November 7, 2016

Why are they doing this to a good show?

We loved this show as a family, but in addition to the escalating violence tonight's show had Supergirl walking in on two people at work having sex. The wo... Continue reading
Adult Written bySophia M. November 10, 2016

Was okay...now getting inappropriate

Was great and family friendly, but now in Season 2 getting too inappropriate for children.
Teen, 14 years old Written byjaneislit December 16, 2016

Why are people hating

the show is great, season 1 is great, season 2 is great. I keep seeing parents complaining about gay relationships, why are you complaining?? are you that sensi... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byethanct86 November 11, 2015

Terrible start . . . but has potential.

The first episode was bumpy, but the next episode caught on, gaining potential. Some h--- and d---. It tries to be like The Flash and Arrow, and it almost succ... Continue reading

What's the story?

When the planet Krypton faced certain demise and the infant Kal-El was sent to Earth to safeguard his legacy 24 years ago, his older cousin Kara Zor-El followed him, tasked with watching over him as he grew up. But while Kal-El arrived safely, Kara's pod was caught in a part of space where time didn't pass, so when she finally landed on Earth, she was 12 years younger than the 24-year-old Kal-El, now known to all the world as Superman. He helped her find a caring adoptive home with the Danvers (Lois & Clark alum Dean Cain and original Supergirl Helen Slater), where she grew up in the shadow of her older sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), hiding her powers from the rest of the world. Now an adult in her own right, Kara (Melissa Benoist) lives in National City and works for media mogul Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) with her friend Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) and accomplished photographer (and Superman's confidante) James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks). But all that changes when a group of sinister aliens takes aim at the people of National City and she must embrace her heroic destiny as SUPERGIRL, working alongside Alex at the clandestine Department of Extranormal Operations investigating conspiracies against the people of earth and the extraterrestrials who are secretly living among them. 

Is it any good?

Actor Benoist really sells this sometimes corny side story to the Man of Steel's tale, soaring into the role of Superman's kid cousin with candor, determination, and flashes of grace. It's hard not to like this fresh-faced addition to the billowing ranks of reimagined superheroes, and it's always exciting to have greater gender representation on the superhero panel. Some of the story's finer details are a bit fuzzy, and it sometimes leans too heavily on parallels to Superman's evolution. That said, Kara does well by the role, taking her lumps as an anonymous novice hero and long-suffering personal assistant to a demanding boss, but using those lumps to inspire improvements on both fronts.

Even though we only get blurry glimpses of Superman himself at first (this is Supergirl's story, after all, not his), he makes his presence known through James, who bridges their stories before Superman shows up for a superheroes vs. villains battle royale in Supergirl's second season. Speaking of that second season, when the show switched to the CW it also got more violent and intense: more battles, more drinking, and more far-out storylines, so parents should be ready for that shift. Nonetheless, Kara struggles to chart her own path in the shadow of her famous relative and her successful older sister, many viewers no doubt will relate to the rocky process of finding herself. As far as female heroes go, you could do worse than charismatic, determined Supergirl, even if she does cling tightly to her secret for fighting villains without getting so much as a hair out of place.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes someone heroic. Does danger have to be involved for an action to be heroic? Who, if anyone, is an unsung hero in Supergirl? Have you ever been someone's hero? 

  • Why do you think there's been such a resurgence of superhero stories? What efforts are being made to diversify the classic pool of characters? Is this important? Why, or why not? 

  • Tweens: How would you rate the violence in this show? To what degree do modern filming techniques and special effects account for a production's impact? Do you think that on-screen violence can have a negative impact on viewers?

  • How do the characters in Supergirl demonstrate integrity, self-control, and courage? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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