TV Review: Stargirl (S1) | Shades of Greatness and Annoyance

Stargirl is not a comic that I read – I read very few of them – nor was it a character I was familiar with. I was aware of the real world inspiration for the character but beside that my vague knowledge of the character is her quick cameos in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow I believe. The show stars Brec Bassinger as the titular character, Amy Smart (The Burtterfly Effect, Run for Your Life), Luke Wilson (All the Bright Places) as respectively her mom and step-father, Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, Trae Romano, Christopher James Baker (Shades of Blue, Ozark), Cameron Gellman, Jake Austin Walker (Five Points, Rectify), Neil Jackson (Welcome to Marwen), and Meg DeLacy.

This new superheroes television series is based on the character, Courtney Whitmore A.K.A. Stargirl, created by writer Geoff Johns and artist Lee Moder for DC Comics’ Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.S.

Premise: Ten years after most the superhero team the Justice Society of America (JSA) died in a battle against the Injustice Society of America, – eye roll – high school sophomore Courtney Whitmore discovers Starman’s Cosmic Staff and gear in her stepfather Pat Dugan’s belongings. She finds out that he used to be a sidekick to Starman and becomes the inspiration for a new generation of superheroes.

Review: Right off the bat, Stargirl is impressive. The opening sequence alone can put some movies to shame. But when you start to think that it’s going to be as serious and high brow as the opening scene suggest, they hit you with a bit of comedy to let you “we’re not taking ourselves too seriously.”

The show has amazing visuals, and an action scenes throughout. The colors pop and there’s a timeless feel to the show that becomes evident the more you watch it. It’s a mix of old 1950s aesthetic beautifully meshed with new technology. The series is very Americana, very patriotic, not just because of the titular character’s costume but the whole show leans into it.

Whether it’s the heroes or the villains, each of the characters are smartly introduced. They pretty much all have layers and depth, they’re more complex – but not necessarily likable. It helps to make the more fart-fetched ideas in the show grounded and real. The show explores the vilains as much as the heroes, and those vilains are more nuanced, not straight up evil. Their plan is in fact good but the way they’re going about doing it is wrong. Speaking of that “evil plan” I can understand why Icicles cares about some of these issues but the rest of the ISA?
Here the vilains are organized, charismatic, and skilled. So they become a threat real quick, even making the heroes the laughable underdogs in comparison.

As good as the show is, there were moments that gave me pause. Sometimes it was because I was too emotionally invested to watch. At other times it was just bad, a real dip in quality, that I also wanted to skip.

After a while it became apparent to me that Courtney is a problem. Titular character or not, she was at times the most annoying thing out there. There were instances, where Hourmam was competing for the title but Courtney locked it down early on. She got so annoying that I legit stop rushing to watch the episodes. If she keeps going like this not matter how good the show is I’ll stop watching. I know she’s supposed to be young and naive but come on! Although I loved the staff, which is a mix of Aladdin’s Carpet and Mjölnir, it also seems like a temperamental tween.
In Fact, Wildcat ended being my favorite, it’s the only one we’ve seen constantly train, the one with the most interesting arc, and the one I’m more excited to see in the second season.

Stargirl has shades of greatness, with its exciting action scene, tense drama, great revelations, twits, and consequences. But goodness me, why is Courtney so annoying throughout?

Rating: 8 out of 10.

You can find the book here


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