Man, what a tough crowd. I'm sure glad the Adam West Batman series and the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series never debuted in today's era, otherwise we'd never have either to look back at fondly.
I found the first episode (I consider it a single 2-hour episode because that's how it aired in my part of the world) a great throwback to the older style of action hero shows. It was a little slow for the first 10 minutes - as is the case with most pilots these days - but it picked up pretty quickly. I immediately got a 1960s Batman vibe from the Circus of Crime group, and they were my favorite part of the show.
Well, until Orwell came along. Although the Oracle comparison is obvious from the start, Summer Glau's character steals the show, and of course we're left with a mystery as to who she really is and why she's able to do what she does. I'm guessing she's the bad guy's daughter, too. It makes sense, although she acts a bit too surprised to find her suspicions about him being confirmed. But, let's be realistic here, what other options might there be? Surely Orwell isn't some stranded alien or a time traveller. Or just some girl doing this because she's bored and can't find a boyfriend. I mean, to those calling the possibilities stupid, exactly what possibilities wouldn't be dumb on some level?
The only weak link I find in the series is with the wife and son. I get what they're trying to do here, but frankly they should be very much in the background, though the wife started to finally show some spark when she gets her law job (though I hope they continue to play with the stigma aspect a bit more). However, this show is about The Cape, Orwell his sidekick (who goes undercover and rescues him from scrapes while looking incredibly hot and keeping her own secrets) and Max and the circus (who can be seen in part 2 as falling into the "they have the Cape's back" category), and together the three are going after Kobra...er...the big bad. If they make it too complex than that, the show will become just another Heroes.
My first impression coming out of this initial pilot is this is what Heroes should have been like (and yeah, I remember the fact Heroes brought in a carnival). Hopefully it'll be able to maintain its concept long enough to tell at least a complete story arc before its cancelled. But with one website already calling V doomed after one episode and Fringe doomed before it even returns to TV, we're entrenched in such a "kill it while it's being born" mentality that I'm not surprised that the networks would rather fill their airwaves with American Idol and Extreme Makeover Home Edition than invest in shows that get pissed on so quickly.