The actual show is better than the pilot. I get the feeling that the pilot we saw is the basically unaltered pitch for the show. Good enough to get the green light, but still in need of much work.
The pilot had a large number of problems, nearly all of which were correctly pegged by Paeter in his podcast review - and nearly all of which are notably missing from episode 2. A quick run-down:
* The "girl-power" theme is gone, replaced by a quick rant by Cat Grant about the glass ceiling.
* Young Kara is portrayed as exactly like adult Kara. (I think flashbacks are going to be a thing.)
* Kara's mom is the prosecuting attorney that put the bad guys in the phantom zone, not the supercop that caught them.
* Kara tries to "be herself" and is constantly told by the ADULTS in the show that she needs to be someone better, until it does sink in.
* The boy sidekicks are able to contribute believably (well, sorta) to the plot of the show.
* The DEO is being used as a blanket MacGuffin, pushing plot hooks and answering plot holes. Not perfect, but good enough.
* Multiple plot hooks for a season-long arc are scattered through the show.
I thought the pilot was okay, and it really evoked the old "Lois and Clark" tv show vibe for me. From the pilot, I expected this would devolve into a slightly goofy action comedy. Episode two has some real dramatic teeth and sets up the show for a very different run. My advice is to ignore the pilot and start the show afresh with episode two. I think it will be a better experience, and you won't lose anything in the way of plot hooks. All the essential ones are recapped. Please don't let a bad pilot episode make you write off this show.
I think I can also answer some of the issues concerning the absence of Superman and the portrayal of Jimmy Olsen. Following a long and complicated battle over trademarks, Supergirl and Jimmy Olsen were both separated from the Superman IP. The licenses are completely separate, a show that includes Supergirl cannot explicitly portray Superman without a separate license. Jimmy Olsen's trademark was established a "young photo journalist with red hair and light skin" among other IP factors that establish the trademarked name as "Jimmy". The character in the tv show is a columnist, who is bald, and has dark skin. Also, his name is James. As trademark law goes, the veneer is thin, but probably just thin enough. Just my thoughts. The whole legal battle makes fascinating reading.
Paeter said this show is like the CW - and it is. I think that's a good thing; I like several CW shows. I think Arrow is the best "Batman" show on the air, and a stand-out example of what dramatic television should be. Season 1 had some trouble finding its feet, but seasons 2 and 3 were knock-down drag-out action shows with believable and meaningful character drama. Flash scratches that action-comedy itch for me. I think it's fun but not essential. Supernatural is one of the best shows on all of television right now. It's got relateable characters that suffer real consequences, an intriguing meta plot, complex plotting, and it's led to repeated discussions between myself and my kids (now teen & pre-teen :: shudder) about the nature of God's involvement in the world. Plus, Sam and Dean are really and truly adults now, with a completely different approach to hunting than they had at the beginning of the series.