March 2020 was not an easy time to be a teenager. So if you missed the debut of DC’s “Stargirl” last year, that’s understandable. However, the inspirational character of Courtney Whitmore, the teen girl who becomes Stargirl, is not one to be ignored. Courtney, played by Brec Bassinger, is having a pretty terrible year herself as the story opens in Season 1. Yet her courage and perseverance lead her to some amazing discoveries, and she becomes a hero indispensable to the Justice Society of America.
“Stargirl” was created by executive producer Geoff Johns and is based on the DC comic “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.,” which debuted in 1999. The character Stargirl has appeared in several comics as a member of the Justice League and on two DC live-action shows before appearing in her own series.
Stargirl’s powers, her costume and her sidekick, mechanic Pat Dugan (who builds a giant robot mech suit to help her fight crime), are inherited from Starman (a previous generation’s DC hero who has since disappeared.) Earlier versions of Starman include the Star-Spangled Kid, who appears in Action Comics as early as 1941.
Neither Courtney nor Pat Dugan, who is also her stepfather, have superhuman abilities of their own. Instead, they rely on skills and equipment.
Courtney is a gymnast and martial artist with exceptional athletic skills. She is resourceful — upon finding Starman’s suit, she goes to her high school’s sewing room to modify the suit to fit her body. This is no easy task, as the suit is so durable it breaks a pair of scissors, but Courtney is also persistent.
Courtney’s very human-but-quite-admirable qualities also include kindness and bravery. It is in the process of protecting a classmate that Courtney discovers she is the only one who can wield a very powerful piece of equipment — the Cosmic Staff.
Pat Dugan is a skilled mechanic. Since the disappearance of Starman, he has repurposed car parts to build a 15-foot robotic suit of armor called S.T.R.I.P.E. Through his mechanical skills and his heart, with the help of his giant mech suit, he makes it his mission to support and protect Stargirl.
Because the characters are so human, the series is as much about their personal journeys as it is about their adventures as Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E.
“Stargirl” is a fresh take on three generations’ worth of DC heroes. If you missed Season 1, which aired on DC Universe and The CW, the good news is that there’s still time to catch up before Season 2 premieres in 2021, exclusively on The CW.