No, seriously, Luke Wilson in a GIANT ROBOT.
LUKE WILSON IN A GIANT ROBOT!!!
Okay, wait, give me a second. …Alright, I’m calm.
Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) is a sophomore in high school who has just moved with her family to the seemingly innocent small town of Blue Valley. Naturally, she quickly becomes a social outcast for standing up to bully Henry King, Jr. (Jake Austin Walker), resulting in her sitting at the “losers” table with delinquent Rick Tyler (Cameron Gellman), nerd Beth Chapel (Anjelika Washington), and former popular girl Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal). However, she finds a strange glowing staff in a box in her basement which gives her superpowers. It turns out that her stepfather, Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson inagiantrobot), was the former sidekick to superhero Starman (Joel McHale) and the only surviving member of the Justice Society of America. It turns out that Blue Valley is under the control of the Injustice Society of America, run by Icicle (Neil Jackson), Brainwave (Christopher James Baker), Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins), Gambler (Eric Goins), Dragon King (Nelson Lee), Wizard (Joe Knezevich), and Solomon Grundy. Courtney decides to take up the fight as Stargirl and Pat guards her by fighting in a giant robot.
I have no idea why I love the idea of a giant robot speaking like Luke Wilson, but I’m gonna say that it amused me to an obviously unhealthy degree. Beyond that, this show just surprised me with how much I enjoyed it in general. Yes, it’s filled with basically every superhero trope and every high school show trope at the same time, but somehow it manages to play them together in a distinct and interesting way. Since the show airs on the CW the day after it premieres on DC Universe, it was never going to be able to try and be the “edgy, adult” show that Titans wants to be (or that Swamp Thing actually was). However, since it’s airing on DC Universe, it didn’t have to focus on getting an audience quickly in order to stay on television. These factors seemed to combine in a way where the show spent a lot of its first two episodes trying to set up a large number of threads for the future, something I previously praised The Flash pilot for doing. In this case, the show opens 10 years in the past, showing what happened to the previous Justice Society of America, as well as showing how interconnected the high school and superhero plotlines are going to be, since several of the supervillains have kids around Courtney’s age. Actually, now that I type that out, that means that almost all of the supervillains had kids between the ages of 4 and 8 when they took over the city of Blue Valley. I would love for the show to go deeper into how the hell parenting worked as a wanted supervillain, which they might, since we’re only on episode 4.
A big part of the show’s success is definitely Wilson and Bassinger. Despite the fact that we’ve seen two different versions of the character on Smallville and Legends of Tomorrow, Bassinger’s take on a new and inexperienced Stargirl is distinct. Her performance captures the combination of fear and excitement that someone would feel if they suddenly found themselves in possession of superpowers. There are some corny comic moments, but a lot of it comes off as sincere, including her fear when actually dealing with a supervillain. Wilson, meanwhile, is a combination of awkward sidekick (he’s always been older than the superhero he aids) and awkward stepdad (yes, they do the “you’re not my real dad” thing). It’s important that they maintain strong presences given the extremely large supporting cast that the show has introduced. I can only assume that we’re going to start getting more episodes focused on other characters soon, which will make some consistent, strong characters even more important.
Overall, I really think this show has a lot of potential. Give it a try on the CW.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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