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Why Supergirl's premiere was the best superhero show yet

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... the best superhero show on television? Yes, after just one episode, we're already on board with calling Supergirl the best spandex extravaganza to hit the small screen so far. Better than The Flash. Better than Arrow. Even better than M.A.N.T.I.S. So what makes Supergirl stand out from the crowd? Here are some reasons why Supergirl's premiere was the best superhero show yet.

Supergirl Puts the "Hero" Back in "Superhero"

Let's face it: when it comes to superhero shows, there's not always much that's all that heroic. The Arrow spent his first three seasons killing people, betraying his friends, and acting like a complete jerk. The folks on Agents of SHIELD do their best—but their best often involves compromising with other morally ambiguous political agencies for shady purposes. And don't even get us started about the darkness at the heart of Daredevil. Supergirl, on the other hand, has a simple purpose: she wants to help people any way she can. And that's a breath of fresh air.

Supergirl Is About the Girl as Much as the Super

There have been dozens of superhero movies and TV shows in recent years, including some of the most popular films in cinematic history. And somehow none of them have been about a woman. Supergirl changes that, and in the best possible way. Not only is Supergirl herself a butt-kicking role model, the show is focused on female relationships—between Kara and her sister, between Kara and her mother, between Kara and her boss, and even between Kara and her aunt, who is going to be the big bad guy. Yeah, there are important male characters like Jimmy Olsen, über jerkface Hank Henshaw, and the always-offscreen Superman, but Supergirl is all about women, from top to bottom. And it's about time.

Supergirl Has Everything We Want From a Superhero Show

Supergirl producer Greg Berlanti knows exactly what fans want from a superhero TV show, thanks to getting yelled at every time he messed something up on The Flash or Arrow. So Supergirl gets everything right from the start: we get to see her in costume, with her codename, using her powers, and fighting supervillains all in the first episode. No long, dragged-out origin nonsense, no waiting an entire year to get into costume, or just fighting a bunch of nameless terrorists or something while she learns the ropes. This is pure, unadulterated superheroics. It knows what it is and revels in it. And that's just the way we like it.

Supergirl Has Chemistry to Burn

Most shows go through growing pains, especially when it comes to sorting out tricky things like chemistry. Chemistry is hard to define, but it's even harder to fake. Take a look at Arrow, which had to chuck its whole romantic storyline out the window when it turned out the star had better chemistry with a minor supporting actress than with the woman playing his supposed love interest. Supergirl, though, aces the chemistry test right from jump street thanks to the instant sparks between star Melissa Benoist and Mehcad Brooks, who plays Jimmy Olsen. We can't wait to see how it develops.

Supergirl Is Long on Story and Short on Exposition

One of the biggest burdens superhero shows and movies have traditionally faced is the initial hurdle of setting up the story. That's because, before they can get into the actual story, the writers usually have to waste a ton of time expositing who the main character is, explaining how they got their powers, who the bad guys are, how powers even work, blah, blah, blah. And this can sometimes take a whole season! But not with Supergirl. Thanks to the fact that everyone on Earth already knows Superman's backstory, the showrunners were able to get all that out of the way in the first half of the premiere, setting us up for a lean, mean season of pure action—and no boring, horsecrap exposition. Thank Zod!

Supergirl Actually Redeems Man of Steel

Remember that part in Man of Steel where Superman says the "S" on his chest is a Kryptonian symbol of hope? That was about the most ironic scene in the history of film given that there wasn't a single ounce of hope anywhere in Man of Steel's unrelentingly grim and dismal dirge of a story. So it was a shock to watch Supergirl and see that the entire series is actually about hope. There wasn't anything angsty or dour or depressing. There was just an uplifting story about a woman who wants to bring other people hope. We think Kal-El could learn a thing or two from his cousin.