Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer.
Based on the comic book character created by writer Geoff Johns and artist Lee Moder, the Stargirl gang made their first appearance, briefly, in the Arrowverse crossover event, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” before the debut of their stellar 13-episode season, which aired on the DC Universe streaming service and the CW.
The series opens with a flashback to ten years ago when the Justice Society lost a major defeat at the hands of the Injustice Society of America in an epic sequence. Moving to present day, high school student Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) moves from Los Angeles to Blue Valley, Nebraska after her mother Barbara (Amy Smart) marries Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson). Packed among Pat’s things, Courtney finds Starman’s Cosmic Staff (or did it find her?), which she is able to wield, suggesting the hero was her father. Pat was Starman’s sidekick and trains Courtney in secret.
At school, Courtney slowly develops friends. They are Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal), who was humiliated by a school scandal; the nerdy Beth Chapel (Anjelika Washington), and Rick Tyler (Cameron Gellman), who has anger issues after the loss of his parents in a car crash. Rick doesn’t know his father was Hourman and was killed by the ISA. As the season progresses, Courtney gives Rick an artifact that imbues him with his father’s powers (Hourman II) and he wants revenge. She does the same with Yolanda (Wildcat II) and Beth (Doctor Mid-Nite II) finds one on her own.
Also in Blue Valley, the members of the Injustice Society have settled down and started families with offspring that have developed powers. They have a scheme, “Project New America,” that is slowly revealed over the course of the season. Courtney wants to stop them with her friends. Pat tries his best to corral her since she’s a teenager with new powers and they are murderous villains.
The strength of the show in this season is the writing. The staff has created compelling characters, which are brought to life by the wonderful cast. Courtney, her friends, and the villains’ children are authentic as high school teens, dealing with the very same problems some viewers of the same age would. Their action and motivations come across as believable. In addition, the blended family dynamic is also rooted in realism. With Pat spending so much time training Courtney, his younger son Mike (Trae Romano), who typically provides humorous comic relief, is understandably jealous.
In addition, the plot and character arcs are intriguing. There are very good twists and cliff hangers that propel one to the next episode to find out more because the young heroes and Pat stumble before they can succeed. Plus, as identities are revealed among characters, the tension and conflict increases. One of the best examples is Barbara learning what Pat and Courtney have been up to and the anger and betrayal she feels.
The video is presented with a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 2.20:1. The colors pop in bold hues that bring to mind its comic book origins. Blacks are inky and whites are bright, both of which contribute to the strong contrast. Texture detail is fine on all types of objects that appear with a sharp focus at varying degrees of depth within the frame. The CGI effects seamlessly blend with real items.
The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Dialogue is clear throughout. The special effects fill the surrounds and move about during the action sequences and the subwoofer offers solid bass power. Pinar Toprak’s score comes through with great fidelity and does a masterful job of supporting the emotion of the scenes.
Although there’s been a glut of superhero TV shows the past few years, Stargirl feels fresh and is executed so well on all fronts. It will be in my Top Ten of the year and the Blu-ray delivers an impressive high-def experience. Unfortunately, there are no extras, but the 13 episodes are so good, it can be overlooked.