So, this last week I watched the first two episodes of CW’s new DC show Stargirl. For those who don’t know, the character it is based on is Courtney Whitmore, variously known as Stargirl and The Star Spangled Kid. In the show, they skip the first name, but mention that it was previously used by Starman. They make a few other changes, but the overall spirit of the character remains the same.
What Makes This Show Different?
The C.W. DC franchise has grown substantially, feeding off the current trend for superheroes and is much more DC’s answer to the MCU than anything being done in movies. So, did it need another show?
After watching the first two episodes, I’m inclined towards “Yes.”
The other CW shows are firmly aimed at the network’s target audience of 18 to 34 year olds, and if anything are skewing older. Black Lightning is, to my knowledge, the only superhero show to feature a protagonist in his forties, although there are his daughters to appeal to the younger crowd.
Stargirl is aimed at a different audience. The show is unabashedly young adult, with a 15-year-old Courtney dealing with problems at school and at home as much as with supervillains. It is an origin story but I can feel the beginnings of coming of age with it. Black Lightning also has plenty for teens, but Stargirl is very much for a teenaged audience but, like all the best YA, perfectly enjoyable by their parents.
The other thing Stargirl offers is something rare in genre television: A positive, but not saccharin portrayal of a blended family. The primary relationship at the center of the show is that between Courtney and her stepfather, Pat Dugan, the former Stripesy. They are trying to work out what their relationship is, and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but neither is there any whisper of the Evil Step-Parent Trope. As the show moves forward I’m hoping to see more of her relationship with her stepbrother.
What’s the Best Part?
The best part of the show in my opinion is the other relationship at its center…that between Courtney and the Cosmic Staff.
Rather than being merely a tool or weapon like Rory’s gun in Legends of Tomorrow, the staff is a character in its own right. And it has opinions.
Courtney seems as able to communicate with it as Luke with R2-D2. In fact, the dang thing reminds me of R2-D2.
Oh, and S.T.R.I.P.E. is in there too, which I was worried would not work on a TV budget. Gotta love mecha, even small ones.
What’s the Worst Part?
Courtney’s ability to instantly communicate with the staff is adorable and awesome, but may strain disbelief some.
I’m not hugely impressed so far with the performance of Jake Austin Walker as Henry King, Jr. I’m not sure if he’s going to be an antagonist, ally or, heaven forbid, love interest (please not). But he reminds me a bit of Mon-El…
(Also, as a note, there are spoilers all over the internet already for stuff that either hasn’t aired or only aired last week. Sigh).
Overall, although it doesn’t yet have the chemistry of the Flash or of recent seasons of Legends of Tomorrow, Stargirl is off to a smoother start than Batwoman (despite my love of Ruby Rose), but time will tell exactly where they are going with this.
I definitely recommend giving it a shot, especially if you have superhero-crazy teens or children in the house.