After months of anticipation, the pilot episode of DC’s Stargirl premiered Tuesday night on the CW. The pilot episode opens with a major battle between the Justice Society of America, also known as the JSA, and the Injustice Society. Starman’s (Joel McHale) sidekick Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) tries to save the JSA but fails to do so. Before dying, Starman asks Pat to take his cosmic staff and find the next person who is worthy enough to wield it. The show then flashforwards 10 years and we’re introduced to Courtney (Brec Bassinger) and her family. Pat married Courtney’s mother (Amy Smart) and encouraged them to move Nebraska. While unpacking, Courtney discovers Pat’s files on the JSA, including the cosmic staff. Having picked up the staff, Courtney is chosen to be its wielder, which comes with a whole new set of consequences.
I was quite surprised with Bassinger’s portrayal of Courtney. I’ll admit that I’m not too familiar with any of the Stargirl comics, but it’s evident that Bassinger took a unique approach to the character’s portrayal. Rather than just being the typical teenager who is angry at the world, her anger is justified. Feeling abandoned by her father and moving to a different state, Courtney’s anger isn’t that surprising. She also struggles with having the cosmic staff and doesn’t immediately take up the mantle of Stargirl. Not only does this help her character but the show’s narrative as well. We’ll get to see her transition into a heroine while also dealing with her own insecurities. This makes me want to root for her even more since she’s not immediately made to be a heroine.
One of the best things about Stargirl’s pilot episode was its incredible cast. In other CW superhero shows, it will usually take a while to get used to the cast, especially if changes were made. Fortunately, I found the cast to be extremely likable by the end of the episode. Wilson’s take on Pat as a quirky sidekick who is willing to do anything for his family was great. It’s usually the father figure in CW superhero shows that’s more guarded and firm. Courtney’s mom, who essentially raised a child by herself, has a strong relationship with her family. It’s evident that she sees the importance of family and wants to do everything to get Courtney and Pat to get along. Even though we don’t see much of Courtney’s new friends, the way they were introduced is well established. They’re labeled as outcasts in their school but that will surely serve as the motivation for their character developments.
Since this being Stargirl‘s pilot episode, there were bound to be multiple elements and storylines that needed to be established. With a run time of about 50 minutes, it would be easy to assume that there would be major difficulties in terms of how much could be set up. However, the overall pacing of the episode allowed for just enough to be implemented and revealed. Whether it was the ominous threat of the Injustice Society or Courtney’s troubled relationship with her father, the way in which these two major plot elements were established was superb. I was left wanting more by the end of the episode, especially after finding out that several scenes were cut due to time constraints.
I have to give Stargirl major props because of the way that the pilot episode was filmed. Comparing it to other CW superhero shows like Arrow and The Flash, the camera quality of this show was incredible. The direction of every scene was well-paced and never seem to jump-cut with extraneous dialogue. The episode felt completely cinematic, which came with its own set of benefits. The CG never looked out of place, which can’t be said for some of the show superhero shows on the CW. Most of this came from the fact that the show was originally going to be on the DC Universe streaming service. I just hope that the quality of the episodes doesn’t completely plummet as the show progresses or if it’s given a second season
One of the more puzzling things about the pilot episode of Stargirl was the lack of action. Yes, the episode does open with a fight between the JSA and the Injustice Society, but no other fight scenes take place until the very end of the episode. I understand that not every episode needs to have multiple fight scenes or any fight scenes at all, but I would’ve expected for Courtney to have taken on her first villain and won. However, the limited fight scenes help establish Courtney as someone who still doesn’t know how to be a heroine yet. It’s a perfect set-up for the heroine’s journey, which will be a bigger benefit for the show as a whole.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching the pilot episode of DC’s Supergirl. I went in expecting the show to follow the already-established formula of CW superhero shows but was completely blown away by what I actually saw. Although Courtney has not taken the mantle of Stargirl yet, the way in which her character is played was intriguing. The likable cast is a major benefit for the show as a whole and I’m looking forward to seeing what storylines they’re given. The pilot episode was well-paced and the way it was filmed will surely provide a major boost for the entire season. I have hope that the rest of the season will continue to deliver high-quality episodes.
New episodes of Stargirl premiere every Tuesday at 8 P.M. EST/5 P.M. PST on the CW Network.
'Stargirl' Season 1, Episode 1 - Pilot
Overall, I really enjoyed watching the pilot episode of DC’s Supergirl. I went in expecting the show to follow the already-established formula of CW superhero shows but was completely blown away by what I actually saw. Although Courtney has not taken the mantle of Stargirl yet, the way in which her character is played was intriguing. The likable cast is a major benefit for the show as a whole and I’m looking forward to seeing what storylines they’re given.