News

Stargirl First Reviews: A Nostalgic, Action-Packed 'Must See' for DC Fans

Critics say DC Universe's newest TV offering is a fun throwback to the Golden Age of comics with heart, adventure, and a star-making turn from Brec Bassinger.

by | May 1, 2020 | Comments

Not to be confused with the Disney+ movie of the same name, DC’s Stargirl series is here to shake up the superhero genre with a big dose of fun.

The TV show, which is inspired by the Geoff Johns–created comic series Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E., tells the tale of the Justice Society of America’s demise and the subsequent rise of a young new hero. That hero is Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger), who goes from innocent yet lively high school teenager to a spry, acrobatic, staff-wielding vigilante-in-training. The series kicks off with Courtney’s family moving from Los Angeles to Blue Valley, Nebraska; her mother Barbara (Amy Smart) and new stepfather, Pat (Luke Wilson) are looking to start a new life in this small town. But it’s not long before Courtney discovers her stepdad is not who he seems. 

After discovering some peculiar items in the basement — and becoming acquainted with the late Starman’s (Joel McHale) Cosmic Staff — the teenager learns Pat was once known as S.T.R.I.P.E., superhero sidekick to the JSA. As you’d expect, Courtney quickly embraces her new role as budding superhero, with Pat’s reluctant guidance, and takes on the mission of upholding justice in the face of old foes, while inspiring the rise of an entirely new generation of heroes. 

Stargirl (DC Universe)

Stargirl is the first series partnership between DC Universe and the CW, and every episode will premiere on the streamer before hitting the network a day later. This all makes sense given the involvement of Arrowverse mastermind, Greg Berlanti; the events that went down in The Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover resulted in the creation of a new Earth-2, which helped spawn this show. And in this realm, the legacy of the Justice Society of America lives on.

It’s worth noting that Johns (Titans, Wonder Woman, Doom Patrol) not only gets a co-creator credit here, but he also writes a number of episodes. Given the personal connection Johns has to the story — the comic was inspired by his sister Courtney who died in the 1996 TWA Flight 800 disaster — we’re surely in for an emotional rollercoaster.

“She’s the first character I ever wrote in comic books and created her in my very first comic book,” Johns told EW. “She was inspired by my late sister, so it means a lot to me personally to have come off the page and onto the screen like this, and to work with the crew and the cast that I did. It was amazing.”

So, how is the new series? Here’s what the critics are saying about Stargirl.


Stargirl

(Photo by © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)


Newcomer Brec Bassinger is perfect as Stargirl

Bassinger is an inarguable star. She makes the show; it’s a performance where you can track the character’s progression from fish-out-of-water to bonafide hero just from the way Bassinger carries herself. — Vinnie Mancuso, Collider

Brec Bassinger dazzles as our lead, and with the entire show on her shoulders, she proves to be a very capable lead actress. — Ferdosa Abdi, Geeks of Color

…the actress embodies the Courtney Whitmore from the source material more often than not, showing her sweet and fun side away from those irritable family moments. — Kyle Wilson, Lamplight Review


Stargirl

(Photo by Jace Downs/The CW)


Luke Wilson shines as Stargirl’s superhero sidekick stepdad

The real standout, however, is Luke Wilson as the put-upon Pat. While Wilson has worked steadily for over two decades, he’s been somewhat under the radar since his early-2000s heyday. But he shines in Stargirl, perfectly balancing Pat’s roles as awkward new stepfather, exasperated elder, and superhero sidekick, making for a thoroughly appealing character. — Cynthia Vinney, CBR

Wilson, by the way, is an absolute gift to this show. He sells every single line, even the most far fetched ridiculous ones. — Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer



The action sequences and special effects are surprisingly strong

If you are or have ever been a fan of the Arrow-verse, then Stargirl will be right up your alley. However, it will be that little bit sweeter thanks to the big budget attached to the show – allowing it to be very visually pleasing in hand with some great action-packed set pieces. Stargirl is a must-watch for any DC Fan. — Alex Page, Discussing Film

The amazing action-packed opening sequence completely blew me away in size and cinematic scope – it might just be the best thing DC has ever done on the small screen. The visual effects are particularly impressive and on par with Swamp Thing, with a number of powers, including the cosmic staff, wonderfully brought to life. — Nicola Austin, We Have a Hulk

So how does Stargirl compare to the likes of Supergirl and The Flash? Budget-wise, the special effects are a slight step up from what Arrowverse fans might be used to. Courtney’s gymnastic skills are put to great effect here as she flips around baddies using her cosmic staff. Props must be given to that extremely impressive prop too, which genuinely feels like a character in its own right thanks to some fun visual quirks. — David Opie, Digital Spy


Stargirl

(Photo by © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)


It’s a fun, family-friendly throwback to DC’s Golden Age

Time and again when watching DC’s Stargirl — especially the first couple of episodes, out of the five I screened — it very much evoked the Walt Disney films of “old,” namely the ones in which college student Kurt Russell was accidentally bestowed with one power (invisibility) or another (supersmarts), and rightly geeked out. — Matt Webb Mitovich, TV Line

It’s big, epic, and cartoonish in a very fun way. — Alex Cranz, I09

There’s something nostalgic and purely fun about DC’s Stargirl that makes it nearly irresistible. The series has a reverence and love for a simpler time, yet still firmly plants itself in the modern with a similar, but more guarded sense of optimism. — Kyle Wilson, Lamplight Review


Stargirl premieres Monday, May 18, on DC Universe and Tuesday, May 19, at 8 pm ET/PT on the CW.

Thumbnail: Smallz & Raskind/The CW

Stargirl: Season 1 (2019)
89%

#1
Adjusted Score: 91.361%
Critics Consensus: A stellar series perfect for anyone looking for a little hope, Stargirl is delightful fun the whole family can enjoy.
Synopsis: About a high-school student who bands together with the Justice Society of America to fight villains, past and present... [More]

Tag Cloud

composers Hear Us Out El Rey 72 Emmy Awards Tumblr TCA 2017 historical drama Rock 2016 Shudder scorecard strong female leads Cartoon Network hist halloween Fantasy foreign richard e. Grant what to watch ratings Baby Yoda 2019 all-time critics FXX disaster 007 2018 TCA Winter 2020 breaking bad psycho Lifetime Christmas movies talk show game show Acorn TV GIFs adventure NYCC Christmas james bond criterion satire Action Tarantino Disney Plus Freeform Elton John medical drama finale Mary Poppins Returns FX Musicals The Purge Lifetime black WGN unscripted spinoff political drama fast and furious travel comiccon GoT binge cops south america comedies psychological thriller free movies Heroines Family CBS All Access TIFF Election deadpool quibi NBC book Comics on TV Superheroes First Reviews DC Universe dragons Discovery Channel mutant children's TV Disney+ Disney Plus Marvel Academy Awards TV renewals nfl ID Crunchyroll mission: impossible Pop classics blockbuster Ovation The Witch Spike sitcom Tomatazos ghosts Sundance crime thriller Showtime BBC One romantic comedy 2015 Universal docudrama FX on Hulu Emmys LGBT child's play discovery dc Kids & Family 4/20 dceu stand-up comedy harry potter YouTube LGBTQ The CW TCA RT21 parents documentaries science fiction crime DC streaming service Musical dramedy Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Arrowverse Apple Adult Swim cancelled Mystery Pixar Hallmark See It Skip It Spectrum Originals joker USA American Society of Cinematographers transformers TV movies Character Guide space BBC America BAFTA Film SDCC witnail Horror screen actors guild Year in Review franchise reviews Marvel Television 20th Century Fox television Captain marvel cancelled TV series toy story San Diego Comic-Con Music The Walking Dead spanish language documentary asian-american Toys HBO Go TLC Cannes PlayStation Ghostbusters Quiz Warner Bros. a nightmare on elm street E3 The Arrangement CW Seed Masterpiece cinemax Opinion Amazon laika robots Crackle hollywood SundanceTV diversity versus Winners stoner period drama Set visit Apple TV+ zombie Photos 2020 A&E cancelled TV shows Biopics Chernobyl Dark Horse Comics ITV Apple TV Plus Watching Series TruTV RT History Television Critics Association Logo Vudu cartoon based on movie Black Mirror Nickelodeon DGA Pop TV game of thrones movie Sundance Now Comedy Central Netflix Christmas movies Rocky ABC Star Wars technology social media facebook Mary poppins Film Festival Sci-Fi VOD MCU The Academy YouTube Premium directors tv talk Travel Channel Peacock Food Network IFC Brie Larson Writers Guild of America romance golden globes anthology spider-man Starz YA japanese Pirates crime drama supernatural Epix Creative Arts Emmys 21st Century Fox OWN fresh Syfy concert Turner werewolf Summer screenings Podcast comics video on demand Black History Month National Geographic cats cults boxing Walt Disney Pictures dogs YouTube Red Paramount WarnerMedia A24 USA Network twilight thriller Funimation Box Office universal monsters Country Netflix IFC Films independent true crime war Esquire GLAAD HBO Max comic books VICE cooking police drama Paramount Network nbcuniversal Grammys Martial Arts Cosplay CBS Hallmark Christmas movies Trailer MSNBC Sundance TV canceled kids Shondaland australia doctor who Tubi Nominations spain 24 frames animated chucky christmas movies SXSW Stephen King Valentine's Day Marathons BBC best batman hispanic DC Comics Oscars MTV boxoffice politics Nat Geo stop motion justice league BET sequel Animation Anna Paquin rotten movies we love Countdown films football Binge Guide french Lionsgate sequels worst TV Land spanish dark theme song indie teaser name the review biography Disney streaming service sports X-Men italian archives Bravo Lucasfilm Sneak Peek Western festival video Star Trek Fox News ESPN Holidays Awards Pet Sematary Hulu PaleyFest 2017 Comic Book Extras Certified Fresh rt archives 71st Emmy Awards natural history revenge cars reboot green book First Look cancelled television Amazon Studios Holiday aliens Avengers Britbox venice Reality Rocketman Comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Red Carpet President TBS Interview superhero Spring TV Drama Rom-Com PBS Premiere Dates canceled TV shows streaming CNN TCA Awards renewed TV shows CMT Polls and Games Thanksgiving nature Mudbound HBO Song of Ice and Fire 45 mockumentary miniseries Schedule Ellie Kemper elevated horror DirecTV Reality Competition Trivia die hard award winner latino History remakes zombies obituary adaptation 99% indiana jones Endgame Video Games Columbia Pictures serial killer series crossover Disney Channel spy thriller blaxploitation worst movies Awards Tour Calendar Television Academy FOX Winter TV jamie lee curtis TCM Infographic vampires Fox Searchlight Alien toronto ABC Family Sony Pictures emmy awards news Amazon Prime Turner Classic Movies Super Bowl APB Pride Month casting halloween tv Superheroe Marvel Studios Disney Fall TV New York Comic Con festivals singing competition comic Best and Worst VH1 zero dark thirty BET Awards scary movies slashers Mindy Kaling Mary Tyler Moore Women's History Month Classic Film OneApp anime TNT Emmy Nominations sag awards rotten E! AMC Teen Amazon Prime Video Trophy Talk