DISCLAIMER: This is a spoiler-free advance review of the first few episodes of DC Universe’s Stargirl.
The DC TV landscape is opening a new chapter as the teenage perspective is given a center stage with DC Universe’s Stargirl, which follows the story of Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) as she finds her inner heroine and discovers a great legacy left behind by the Justice Society of America.
Courtney’s creator Geoff Johns, an icon within the world of DC, has left his mark within comics, television, and films for more than a decade. Throughout his career, Johns gave life to Courtney/Stargirl who is inspired by his sister Courtney who tragically lost her life in the TWA flight 800 crash in 1996. Whether it be in Johns’ JSA runs or Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., Stargirl has always stood out as one of DC Comics’ consistent lights from the day Johns introduced her.
The DC Universe drama becomes the character’s biggest spotlight outside the comic panels with Bassinger bring the teenage heroine to screen. Within the first installments of Stargirl, Courtney’s perspective becomes immediately relatable and universal as big life changes in any teenager’s life can be more than overwhelming. Bassinger delivers an excellent performance as the lead, and another of the show’s strongest elements from the second he steps into the scene is Luke Wilson’s Pat Dugan. One of the core themes of Johns’ Stargirl run that carries into the show’s DNA is how a family is created by bond, not blood. Pat and Courtney, amidst the superhero action, becomes the heart of the entire series as they explore their new family dynamic.
Bassinger and Wilson’s chemistry helps add another powerful layer to Stargirl as the story of their stepdaughter/stepfather relationship becomes essential. From the realistic beginnings of a new interaction like theirs to their deeper bond that comes later, Wilson’s Pat will make the DC hero more than a sidekick to any new viewer unfamiliar with the mythology. Bassinger’s iteration of Courtney joins the ever-growing community of inspiring heroines that have come to life in the DC TV universe. But being as young as she is, Courtney’s determination and heroic spirit becomes instantly contingent within the show’s first hours.
Stargirl, right out of the gateway, sets its tone for pure entertaining and adventures spectacle, with a solid combination of traditional superhero storytelling, but with a 2020 vibe. One of Johns’ iconic traits that can be found in the majority of his DC work is optimism that feels both timeless and ageless. Whether the hero in question is Green Lantern or Stargirl, Johns balances out the pure comic book joy and the consequences of joining the superhero business. While the series is from the perspective of Courtney, Stargirl also includes the adventures of the Justice Society of America that will appeal to long time readers and the new generation of fans for the beloved DC group.
Even though the JSA has made their way into the media previously, including Johns introducing them to the Smallville universe, Stargirl opens the door for more exposure to the iconic league of heroes that debuted in the 1940s, while paving the way for a new generation of heroes. Stargirl’s early installments begin setting the stage for characters like Beth Chapel (Anjelika Washington) Yvette Monreal as Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal), Rick Tyler (Cameron Gellman) who will all come to play integral roles later in the season.
But with superheroes come supervillains and Stargirl introduces the Injustice Society with a range of DC villains that play mysterious roles within season 1. The focus is just as much on the heroes as it’s on the foes, allowing the Injustice Society to be fleshed out. For eager and long-time DC fans, there’ll be plenty of Easter eggs and nods to take in as Johns doesn’t hold back. While Stargirl will have many layers that embrace many sides of the DC Universe, the show early on establishes its ability to be a solid television series that happens to follow a comic book heroine.
With the vast variety of DC shows on the air, Stargirl stands as the perfect family adventure for all ages. Not only does it have something for all the viewers, but Stargirl will ideally pave the way for the addition of more teenage-led superhero shows in years to come. With times like these that society is currently going through, the arrival of Courtney’s path to heroism comes at a needed time when the world could use a shining light that Stargirl brings.
The new DC UNIVERSE drama series, STARGIRL follows high school sophomore Courtney Whitmore (series star BREC BASSINGER) as she inspires an unlikely group of young heroes to take up the legacy of a long lost superhero team – The Justice Society of America – and stop the villains of the past.
DC Universe’s Stargirl, starring Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl, Luke Wilson as Pat Dugan/S.T.R.I.P.E, Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore, Anjelika Washington as Beth Chapel/Dr. Mid-Nite, Yvette Monreal as Yolanda Montez/Wildcat, Cameron Gellman as Rick Tyler/Hourman, with Joy Osmanski as Tigress, Christopher James Baker as Brainwave, Neil Jackson as Icicle, Nelson Lee as Dragon King, Neil Hopkins as Sportsmaster and Joel McHale as Sylvester Pemberton/Starman, premieres on Monday, May 18 on DC Universe, with episodes released weekly every Monday.
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