Stargirl is the latest DC television series to grace our screens. Set aside from the Arrow-verse (although it may merge in the future, despite there having been a JSA in Legends of Tomorrow already), this series is a fresh take on what we know from DC TV so far, although it certainly shares some of it’s qualities with other shows, and is packed full of references from start to finish, just as a nice little bonus for fans of the comics.
The Justice Society of America is defeated in battle, and believed to have all been killed by the Injustice Society except for Starman’s ward Stripesy (Luke Wilson) who is left to protect the cosmic staff and the rest of the JSA legacy. Skip ahead some years later and a family of four move in to a new home in a new town, with the “All American Dream” vibe filling the friendly streets, as every stranger says “Hello” with a smile and the buildings are all bright and colourful along the streets. Blue Valley couldn’t feel like a safer place if it tried.
Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) is a young, bubbly girl who’s having a hard time adjusting to the new family and new home, since she and her mum now live with Barbara Whitmore’s (Amy Smart) new boyfriend Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) and his son Mike Dugan (Trae Romano). However, when Courtney finds some mysterious boxes in the basement, belonging to Pat, she soon discovers the cosmic staff and falls in love with it’s abilities.
Skip ahead a few episodes, Courtney, now known as Stargirl, needs to recruit new members for a newly formed JSA in order to stop an evil plot to take over the country by the ISA (Injustice Society of America), and who better to recruit than her new group of misfit friends, you know, the usual outcasts of the school. Together, the new team brings back Wildcat (Yvette Monreal), Dr. Mid-Nite (Anjelika Washington) and Hourman (Cameron Gellmen).
What I like about the show:
The show certainly has the same vibe as say, Smallville did with it’s bright overtones of a small town in constant danger, but Stargirl also reaches out for itself and extends the emotional roller-coaster that it takes you on throughout the process of the group of teens becoming better heroes. Instead of the usual “I have failed” or “I’m not fast enough” that many fans were starting to grow tired of, this show dives into a reality check and gives us a truly emotional sense of the real life struggles that these characters would have to face if they were in our sense of reality. Being teenagers, the main roster of hero characters all have to deal with being the outcasts of the school, and learn to deal with hormonal emotions that make decisions blurred and the struggle of being a “hero” real, as well as the ideology that being given these powers is a gift, to be used for good and not for selfish needs.
The show also provides a lot of great history to the plot which includes the JSA headquarters being filled with great images and props from Doctor Fate and Jay Garrick’s helmets, to an image of the original golden age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, accompanied by his Green Lantern prop below the image. However, the JSA weren’t the only team around back then, as Pat shows Courtney his other affiliated team, the Seven Soldiers of Victory (and yes there is 8 of them in the photo) which included Pat as Stripesy along with Vigilante, The Crimson Avenger, Wing, The Shining Knight, Green Arrow and Speedy. The addition of these characters existing in the same universe and timeline makes this show rich with history and references that can be built upon in future episodes and seasons, which I am definitely looking forward to.
Some people may have found the images of the costume designs lacking when compared to shows like The Flash or Arrow, but let’s face it, these costumes in Stargirl are more realistic looking than your usual leather-fetish designs that have been used so heavily in comic book television. The young new members of the JSA inherit the clothes worn by the original and it works for them, as the clothes adapt to the new user’s size and appearance, making them fit well enough and look like something a real life hero would wear, especially on a teenager. Stargirls outfit is tight fitting sporty look that represents her athletic abilities, and the mid-riff look represents her age as a teenager, who finds that fashionable.
The villains of this show are spectacular, and all of them are maniacal, twisted and evil in their own right, whilst being able to portray a more sweet and innocent facade to the outside world. The ISA is made up of Icicle (Neil Jackson), Brainwave (Christopher James Baker), The Fiddler (Hina X. Khan), The Gambler (Eric Goins), Tigress (Joy Osmanski), Dragon King (Nelson Lee), Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins) and a CG heavy but excellently done Solomon Grundy!
Also I have to say, from what I knew of the concept of Sportsmaster, he didn’t really sound intimidating for many heroes but Neil Hopkins has done an excellent job of making him a very intimidating persona.
This show has great action and gripping drama that leaves you wanting more at the end of each episode. I don’t know what else I can say besides that really. This is a great show and I hope to see this quality continue into future seasons and episodes.
Issues with the show:
Okay so there aren’t many issues with this show and I have loved almost every second of it. However I will point out the couple issues I had as well as a couple issues some viewers might have based on their preferences.
First off, my main issue with the show which I hope they will stop doing in later seasons as the team grow to be better heroes…calling out each others real names. This was annoying for me to watch, especially since in earlier episodes there are at least three characters who say “using a real name is hero 101, don’t do it” and yet they continuously do so whilst in the company of the enemy, who at one point or another, didn’t all know their real identities until late into the season.
One issue some viewers might find is that this show is obviously a teen cast, so if you’re not into teen superheroes and teen drama, then maybe this isn’t for you. Personally I have no issues with the teen drama as it feels like real drama that I have had experience with in the past. You can understand and sympathise with the characters more but I know a lot of viewers moan about whiny teens in shows these days, so if you’re one of those people, don’t watch it.
Another thing I had an issue with, was the fact that in an early episode, Courtney takes a pink pen that Pat tells her is dangerous, being called the Thunderbolt and after some research I found out what it actually does, but that’s my issue. We learn about this pen and see something begin to happen, then it’s practically forgotten about. It appears in three episodes and yet nothing happens with it. I get this might be a tease for future plot points but I personally don’t like things being set up and not acted upon in the same season unless it is of course a cliffhanger, but this was not a cliffhanger, it was merely a plot point that lead no where for the rest of the season. Maybe it’s just me but that’s how I felt about it.
My final nitpick for the show, is again more of a personal preference. I wanted to see more of certain characters that didn’t get to really shine through the series. Yet again I know it will be setting up for future plot points hopefully but when something is established I hope to see more of it’s full potential rather than have it left as a wasted opportunity for that season in general.
Stargirl is an exceptionally great show to watch. I binged the entire season in a day, and have zero regrets about doing so. Shining above many other DC TV shows, this series has great potential, hoping that the excellent team of writers can continue with this level of quality, and of course hoping it doesn’t get cancelled before it’s had a chance to really shine bright.
Stargirl Season 1 is available to watch now on DCUniverse (US) and Amazon Prime Video (UK)