Stargirl – S1 Ep1 – Pilot Review

There is a new hero in town! Courtney Whitmore’s world is turned upside down as she discovers that there is more to her stepfather than meets the eye.

DC’s Stargirl is finally here! Debuting on both DC Universe (DC’s Premiere Streaming App) and the CW, this hope filled series follows high school student Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) who, after discovering the Cosmic Staff, becomes an inspiration for a new group of heroes. Created by Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti, this series truly feels like a comic book come to life (in the best way). Let’s recap!

This stellar pilot episode opens with a thrilling action sequence featuring the end of the Golden Age of heroes. Ten years ago (on Christmas Eve), The Injustice Society of America attacked the Justice Society of America’s headquarters. The ISA (which includes Brainwave, Wizard, Sportsmaster, Tigress, Solomon Grundy, and Icicle) ravage the building eliminating the members of the JSA (Hourman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Wildcat, and The Flash). Pat Dugan aka Stripesy (sidekick to JSA member Starman) rushes to help, but arrives in time to see Icicle (guest star Neil Jackson) fatally wound his partner Starman (guest star Joel McHale). With his dying breath, Starman passes his Cosmic Staff to him for safekeeping until someone worthy of it comes along (which is most definitely not him).

Meanwhile, a young girl named Courtney Whitmore waits for her father to come home, but he never does.

Ten years later, Whitmore, now a sophomore in high school, begrudgingly prepares to move with her family to Blue Valley from California. Her widowed mother Barbara (Amy Smart) is now married to Pat! Dugan and his son Mike (Trae Romano) arrive to pick them up and they journey to their new home. Courtney is less than enthusiastic about the whole situation. She is annoyed by Dugan’s constant attempts to be her “father” and her overbearing younger stepbrother. Her first day at Blue Valley High doesn’t make things better. She finds out there is no gymnastics team, deals with bullies, and is relegated to the “losers” table where she meets Beth (Angelika Washington), Rick (Cameron Gellman) and Yolanda (Yvetter Monreal). When Henry King Jr. (Jake Austin Walker) bullies Yolanda, Courtney stands up for her and picks a fight. She ends up in detention.

Meanwhile, Pat opens up a garage and meets Larry “Crusher” Crock (Neil Hopkins), a local gym owner.

Barbara, meanwhile, starts her new job at The American Dream where she is introduced to Councilman William Zarrick (guest star Joe Knezevich) and CFO Steven Sharpe (guest star Eric Goins).

After a rough family dinner, Courtney goes to the basement to vent and accidentally discovers Pat’s JSA archives, including the Cosmic Staff. Amazed, the Staff immediately forms a bond with her and takes her on a wild ride. Courtney then attempts several tricks with it and begins to learn its power. The young future hero then finds herself at the drive-in where she witnesses King Jr. and his crew tormenting another young patron. Whitmore covers her face and fights them off and accidentally blows up King’s car.

Courtney rushes home and is immediately met by Pat. Dugan ultimately reveals everything about the JSA, his partnership with Starman, and their death. Courtney begins to suspect that Starman was her father as he disappeared the same day as the JSA heroes. Dugan assures her that his friend Sylvester Pemberton is not her father.

Later, a sleeping Courtney is awoken by the Staff and whisked away to practice on a rooftop. After a brief session, she is taken to the local tire factory. There she is thrust into battle against legendary ISA villain Brainwave aka Henry King Sr. (Christopher James Baker). After a harrowing battle, she escapes outside and is met by a giant robot piloted by Pat, who says: “I told you not to touch the staff!”

This premiere episode of DC’s Stargirl was simply fantastic. I originally planned to simply watch the series only on the CW, but I decided to finally join DC Universe as well. This show deserves double the views! As the rest of the Arrowverse wraps up its shortened seasons, this was just what we needed as superhero fans. This show is a great blend of classic 80’s/90’s coming of age films and modern superhero shows. Brec Bassinger is incredible as Courtney bringing an earnest charm to the role. Luke Wilson and Amy Smart continue the tradition of expert parental  unit casting. Wilson’s portrayal of Pat Dugan was a joy to watch. Joel McHale and Christopher James Baker also deliver great performances as Starman and Brainwave respectively. As a fan of the JSA and ISA, the opening sequence was thrilling. It is great to see these Golden Age heroes and villains fully realized on screen, some for the first time. With a stellar cast, compelling story, and exciting visuals, Stargirl offers viewers a fun, hope-filled story that is much needed in today’s world.

I cannot wait for the next episode!

Stay tuned for more recaps & reviews of Stargirl here at Earth-9!