This article contains some spoilers for Supergirl.
Greg Berlanti and his co-producers Marc Guggenheim, Ali Adler and Andrew Kreisberg love comic books. They have taken the idea of doing a Green Arrow TV series, almost immediately after the character had appeared for years on Smallville, and turned it into a hit for a fledgling network. They then spun The Flash out of Arrow and made that even more successful. They started adding heroes like Black Canary, Firestorm, The Atom and even brought John Constantine over from his failed NBC series and is now bringing an animated Vixen into the live action universe. They are spreading out to a third series on the CW with DC's Legends of Tomorrow and of course they fired up Supergirl on CBS.
So what is there formula for success? Hard to say exactly… love the source material, pay homage to the fans without alienating new viewers, keep everything ground no matter how fantastic… all seem to be in play. But it's easier to point out the one thing they aren't doing. The thing they seem to hate the most… secret identities.
For a loner, a lot of people know that Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow. At one point the whole city knew, but they put that genie back in the bottle. Cisco Ramon outed Barry Allen to Kendra Saunders before they knew she was Hawkgirl and the producers have admitted in the past that they don't like the whole trying to keep the identity secret thing.
The secret identity trope can be one of the most painful parts of a show. The hero has to pretend to be clumsy or a buffoon to convince otherwise intelligent people that their not a costumed vigilante. And where that has been most prevalent lately is in Supergirl. The scenes of Kara kowtowing to Cat Grant had gotten to the point where i was almost done with the show. If it hadn't been for hearing about Hank Henshaw's secret I may not have watched anymore.
But maybe those scenes were becoming just as painful for the writing staff. Grant could be a strong female character but she is undermined every time she goes "Devil Wears Prada" on her Catco staff. And Kara gets the worst of it… but hopefully that will change after the mid-season finale. As shown in the clip below, Grant put the pieces together and figured out that her meek assistant was actually Supergirl. Now was this something the producers planned to do from the beginning or was it like the J'onn J'onzz reveal… something they decided on the fly? Either way, I think it is a good decision. It's hard to grow a character when you are spending a chunk of the screen time showing them acting like something less than themselves.
The secret identity cover is, at least to me, always the weak part of any Superhero story and it's nice to see that these guys are continuing to throw that out as soon as they can.