Showing posts with label batwoman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label batwoman. Show all posts

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Stargirl shines bright in dark times

Last summer, I discovered DC's Stargirl, streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime (affiliate link) in the UK, and became enthralled by a superhero series that harkened back to director Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie.

I'd fallen out of love with DCTV due to becoming overwhelmed by all The CW spin-offs. However, Stargirl's production values mirrored those of HBO's Game of Thrones and His Dark Materials. The cinematography was worthy of the big screen.

Over the holiday season, I pestered, I mean enthusiastically encouraged Nick Smith to find out if it was just wishful thinking (on my part) during a global pandemic or did we have a superhero Scooby Gang for troubled times? Having cleaned himself up after Swamp Thing...

Guest post by Nick Smith

Judging by its first episode, Stargirl is a cute family show aimed at mid-teen girls and Disney channel devotees. For the second episode on, though, it gets dark and surprising and, at times, wonderful.

Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) becomes a newbie at Blue Valley High School when her mom Barbara (Amy Smart) and stepdad Pat (Luke Wilson) move to a small Nebraskan town. When she discovers a staff with cosmic powers in the basement, Pat admits to her that he used to be Starman’s sidekick Stripesy. Courtney is inspired to become Stargirl, a high-flying superhero who is aided by Pat, leading to some heart-warming father-daughter moments.

Unfortunately, the little town is a hotbed of villainy. Disguised as respectable citizens and sensible parents, the Injustice Society of America wants to make the country great again. Stargirl needs help to stop them, so she enlists the help of misfit school friends to rebuild the Justice League. Her parents are justifiably concerned, especially when she gets the stuffing knocked out of her by the daughter of one of the bad guys. To complicate matters, Barbara could be working for the ISA’s head psychopath too. Did I mention that Solomon Grundy’s locked up in a cell, ready to clobber the kids?

Stargirl feels like a Shazam-style movie, taking the 1940s style and all-American values of the original JSA and transplanting them into the modern day. In this alternate version of DC lore, the Justice Society was destroyed by its evil counterpart 10 years ago; anachronistic names like The Star-Spangled Kid fit with the ‘parents are quaint’ mentality of this show’s primary target audience.

Geoff Johns, who created Courtney and this show, co-developed The Flash and Titans and has been involved in the Arrowverse for years. Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., which set up Courtney’s character, was the first DC comic he wrote for back in 1999, so he must be pleased as punch to see a televised version.

In the 22-year interim, TV and comics have popularized the trope of villainous parents (Heroes, Runaways). But there are enough twists in Stargirl to keep the series interesting. Johns packs in a multitude of characters and challenges, building an arc plot worthy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Two of Stargirl’s friends hit the books like Buffy’s Scooby Gang; Courtney has to navigate the pitfalls of high school friendships and keeping secrets from her mom. Pat is the Rupert Giles-type mentor, training the team, knowledgeable about the past. If not Giles, then Pat is like a DC Forrest Gump, goofy and long-suffering, playing gooseberry to the Seven Soldiers of Victory and chauffeur to the JSA. As Pat, Luke Wilson adds Hollywood charm and confidence to the production, which focuses on newcomers like the sprightly Brec Bassinger (Stargirl).

All of the cast are entertaining; standouts include Anjelika Washington as Beth, who revels in playing a nerd, and Cameron Gellman who makes his sulky James Dean-type character of Rick Tyler likeable. The themes explored - bullying, forgiveness, believing in yourself, relationships with siblings, broken families - all have consequences and have satisfying resolutions.

Stargirl plays like a 13-hour feel-good movie with lots of death and destruction and just enough hints dropped for a second season, scrambled up with Easter Eggs like movie posters for Prez and The Unknown Soldier.

With little references like those and a long-earned understanding of what makes entertaining television, Geoff Johns has taken Stargirl’s simple premise and created a love letter to the comics of his youth that works as an adventure for all ages.

Have you watched Stargirl and are you looking forward to the second season? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Supergirl hangs up her cape

The CW's Supergirl is to end with season six. This is surprising news soon after DC FanDome.

Whilst I ultimately stopped watching, due to superhero series saturation, Melissa Benoist embodied the titular role and was always a standout during the annual Arrowverse crossover events with stablemates Arrow, The Flash, Batwoman, Black Lightning and DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

“To say it has been an honor portraying this iconic character would be a massive understatement. Seeing the incredible impact the show has had on young girls around the world has always left me humbled and speechless. She’s had that impact on me, too. She’s taught me strength I didn’t know I had, to find hope in the darkest of places, and that we are stronger when we’re united. What she stands for pushes all of us to be better. She has changed my life for the better, and I’m forever grateful,” Benoist touchingly wrote on Instagram.

Like Wonder Woman and Buffy the Vampire Slayer before it, The CW's Supergirl championed inclusivity, something that is needed more than ever in these troubled times.

“I’m so excited that we get to plan our conclusion to this amazing journey, and I cannot wait for you to see what we have in store. I promise we’re going to make it one helluva final season.”

The Arrowverse is in transition. Arrow ended last year with the death of Oliver Queen, but a Superman & Lois spin-off series is in production.

Supergirl may be hanging up her cape, but DC's Stargirl picks up the mantle with a breakout first season worthy of anything shown on HBO Max. The second season moves to The CW. So, expect Stargirl to crossover with The Flash and friends.

Will you miss Supergirl? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Kevin Conroy's Bruce Wayne in Crisis on Infinite Earths

The CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths is shaping up to be the biggest Arrowverse crossover event yet with much speculation surrounding it, including a merger with the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). This would finally put DC Comics on par with Marvel in terms of transmedia storytelling. DC Comics continues to play second fiddle to Marvel, and Disney+ will only serve to widen the gap with its roster of exclusive live-action series from Loki to WandaVision.

From Brandon Routh (DC's Legends of Tomorrow) reprising the role of Superman (he was great in the underrated Superman Returns) to rumours Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman), Burt Ward (Batman) and Tom Welling (Smallville) will all appear in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Now, Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) is officially confirmed to be playing "future" Bruce Wayne. To say I'm stoked about this would be a gross understatement. For a generation of animation and video game fans, Conroy is Batman.

During the seventies and eighties, Marvel UK monopolised my comic book reading (with the occasional diversion into 2000 AD, Eagle and Battle Action Force) and DC Comics' Crisis on Infinite Earths passed me by. So, I've bought a digital copy of the reissue to catch-up before the crossover is broadcast later this year.

Are you looking forward to Crisis on Infinite Earths and who would you like to see make a cameo? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Batwoman first look as The CW ends Netflix deal

The CW has released a first look trailer for Batwoman. Ruby Rose plays the titular crime fighter in the latest Arrow spin-off series joining The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.

Netflix has had a first-run deal with The CW since 2011 in the US, but Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene won't automatically be available as owners CBS and Warner Bros. look to capitalise on the streaming space themselves. It's becoming increasingly crowded and, with Apple TV+ and Disney+ entering the fray later this year, not everyone is going to succeed. The streaming wars have begun in earnest...

Thursday, 9 May 2019

The CW releases a teaser trailer for Batwoman

The CW has released a teaser trailer for the upcoming Batwoman spin-off series.

Batwoman, played by Ruby Rose, was first introduced in the amazing Elseworlds crossover event on Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl. Despite an apathy towards too many superhero series, I always make a point of watching crossover storylines and this year's Crisis on Infinite Earths will be no exception.

"Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane (star Ruby Rose) soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope."

Batwoman premieres on The CW later this spring and the pilot episode is directed by genre stalwart David Nutter (Game of Thrones).

Friday, 1 February 2019

Aquaman beats Batman and The CW renews DCTV

As Aquaman, directed by James Wan (Furious 7), eclipses The Dark Knight Rises to become the most successful DC Comics movie of all time. According to Deadline, The CW has renewed DCTV hit series Arrow, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Black Lightning. Batwoman is set to enter the fray with her own spin-off following a successful introduction in Elseworlds.

My DCTV viewing has lapsed due to the abundance of genre series available. However, with the cancellation of Marvel Netflix series, including Daredevil and Luke Cage, I'm catching up, and am following DC Unlimited's live-action series Titans on Netflix outside the US with interest, too.

Rumours abound this year's annual Arrowverse crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, will finally witness DC Comics' television and movie franchises merge into the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), on par with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) ahead of a new decade.

What series are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Batwoman pilot gets Game of Thrones director

The CW's annual superhero crossover upped the ante by setting up Crisis on Infinite Earths, based on the ambitious comic book series of the same name from 1985, in Elseworlds. Elseworlds is also notable for introducing Batwoman, played by Ruby Rose, to DCTV. Batwoman, AKA Kate Kane, is Bruce Wayne's cousin and fights crime in Gotham.

The CW has greenlit a Batwoman pilot directed by genre stalwart David Nutter, who has not only overseen episodes of Arrow and The Flash but also Dark Angel, Roswell and The X-Files. Nutter's most recent work includes Game of Thrones for HBO.

"Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane [Rose] soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope."

In related news. Netflix starts streaming Titans, a DC Universe exclusive, outside the US from 11th January.