A Star Is Born
While the debate rages on between Marvel VS DC at the big-screen box office, there’s no denying that DC have always had consistency and the lion’s share of joy when it comes to their small screen efforts. After the excellent Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing last year, Stargirl is the latest bright spark to come from the executive producers in charge of some of the DC Universe’s hottest properties and so far Stargirl gets off to a really promising start.
Reveling in a distinct teen-vibe and bringing some gorgeous visual effects to the table as well, this first episode ultimately acts as the foundations for Stargirl’s origins, leading to a nice cliffhanger at the end that’ll almost certainly see you tuning in next week to find out how the story unfolds.
10 years after the Golden Age of Heroes we begin episode 1 of Stargirl with a man named Pat arriving at a house ablaze as green flames lick up the side of a building. A brilliant fight ensues within between various different superheroes, culminating in Brainwave and Starman trading blows. A cheap shot from Icicle sees the Justice Society in tatters, as Pat retreats with a wounded Starman away from the estate. In the process, he narrowly avoids a sprinting Solomon Grundy.
Across town, on the eve of Christmas, a young Courtney awaits her Father. Unfortunately he doesn’t show up and her Mother Barbara comforts her.
We then cut forward to present day as we see Courtney preparing to leave with her family and packing up to move to Nebraska. Courtney is none too happy with this though and stays quiet the entire journey.
After unpacking their belongings and with the whole family asleep that evening, Pat heads down to the basement and looks over classified files surrounding the different super villains he faced years earlier.
In the morning, Pat drives Courtney to school but their relationship is frosty, to say the least. While Courtney struggles to fit in, relegated to the “singles” table for losers and in detention thanks to standing up to bullies, Barbara arrives at her new job and becomes a bit overwhelmed.
That evening Courtney returns home and heads down to the basement where she stumbles upon photos of her Father and the Justice Society. She also finds pictures of Pat and Starman too. As she starts to understand her origins, it causes the chest behind her to open up and reveal a powerful staff that she’s inexplicably able to wield.
The staff whisks her off through the air and Courtney finds herself at a drive-thru cinema where the same bullies from school happen to be. She sabotages their car and single-handedly dispatches all three boys as the staff has a mind of its own.
Back home Pat confronts Courtney about the Cosmic Staff and tells her how dangerous it is. Guessing that Starman may be her Father, she deduces that this may explain why the staff works in her hands. Pat then goes on to talk about being a sidekick to the JSA and for now, she agrees to keep this a secret from her Mother.
In a nice twist, one of the bullies from earlier in the episode happens to be the son of Henry (Brainwave from the opening scene at the house) and he learns about the staff, believing Starman has returned. This prompts Henry to phone through to Jordan (Icicle) in London where he warns him of the fight ahead, believing this was a planned attack specifically against his son.
While out training with her staff, Courtney is attacked by Brainwave who questions why she attacked the car. Reading her thoughts, he picks apart her memories one by one, pausing momentarily on the subject of her Father. It’s enough time for her to escape and as she rushes out the warehouse, she comes face to face with Pat, who happens to be standing before her in a mech-suit.
On paper, Stargirl’s first episode is incredibly simple but the execution has all the right ingredients to make this a bright star in an otherwise murky and grim superhero world. Brec Bassinger does well as the spunky loner Courtney and the backstory involving her Father may be cliched but it’s enough to entice you to keep watching this one.
The playful and magical musical score does so well to reinforce the lighter tones running through this one and already you get a unique feel from Stargirl compared to the other DC properties. The visual effects early on with the house fight is a smart move, teasing what’s to come later on, while the simple character issues set up a compelling teen drama to follow over the weeks.
It may not be the most original origin story you’re likely to see, but it’s certainly a tidy and promising one; an episode that shines a light and may just tease a new star in town.