Showing posts with label stargirl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stargirl. Show all posts

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

DC's Stargirl returns this August

The first season of DC's Stargirl was a delightful surprise when it was released last year on Amazon Prime (affiliate link) in the UK. Although the second season of The Boys had recently dropped, a school friend had passed away (not COVID-related), and I was looking for something with hope for the future.

An uplifting DC Comics superhero series for all ages, evoking Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with production values worthy of HBO Max stablemates Swamp Thing and Watchmen. DC's Stargirl bucked the trend of The CW's DCTV spin-offs.

DC's Stargirl moves from the DC Universe to The CW for its second season, but with no loss in quality. The CW has released an official extended trailer introducing Jade (Ysa Penarejo), the daughter of Green Lantern. She confronts the titular Stargirl (Brec Bassinger).

Eclipso (Nick Tarabay), teased as this season's big bad, is described as 'terrifying' by series showrunner Geoff Johns.

The second season of DC's Stargirl begins on 10th August.

Are you looking forward to the return of DC's Stargirl? Let me know in the comments below.

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, 24 August 2020

Welcome to the FanDome

DC FanDome is over and I missed it! Mostly because of DC Comics' debatable decision to use its own online portal and not livestream the event on YouTube.

So, I opted to watch DC's Stargirl, streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime in the UK. Geoff Johns' live-action series is a superhero gem comparable to the early seasons of The CW's The Flash and Supergirl with a Wizarding World twist.

However, Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, don's a virtual cowl to save the day (night if you were watching from the UK).

Guest post by Nick Smith

Unlike San Diego’s Comic-Con@Home event, a lot of which is still viewable on YouTube, the DC FanDome was live and direct, only existing for a giddy 24 hours. While some of the teases, trailers and concept art are now out and about on the internet, if you want to see Gal Gadot and Chris Pine playing Werewolf 1984, you’re out of luck.

With its FanDome, (presumably located somewhere beyond the Thunderdome round the corner from the Pleasuredome), DC Comics made a brave and bold attempt to embrace the interactivity of the internet, with rolling comments on the right-hand side of their Hall of Heroes (“Tweet with #DCFanDome for a chance to be featured”) and, in the main portion of the Hall, cast and crew talking to each other and answering questions from fans.

While the day had its tentpole movies to pitch, such as Wonder Woman 1984, The Flash and a Shazam! sequel, some of these flicks aren’t due for a couple of years and the ones in production – like The Batman, about 25% complete – whetted the appetite but weren’t worth holding your breath for (you would run out of air waiting for the release date). The trailer for The Batman looks great, suggesting that the Bat will be treated right. But more on that later…

Ironically, comic books didn’t really get a look-in; the closest we got was a laid-back, diversity-honouring interview with DC Comics Chief Creative Officer/Publisher Jim Lee (his favourite character as a kid was Matter Eater Lad!), a ‘Legacy of the Bat’ panel and a ‘Surprise DC Comics’ panel. The latter was about the return of Milestone Comics, with God Amongst Artists Denys Cowan amongst the panellists along with Lee, Reggie Hudlin, and actor Phil Lamarr (Static Shock). Yes, a Static film is on the cards – so even on a comic book panel, movies reared their powerful head.

Lee also reviewed portfolios of fan art focused on supervillains, a rare chance to hear opinions from the mentor and motivator. Other fan art was featured during the day, adding to the ‘for the fans’ aspect of the event.

A clip from the Joker documentary, “Put On a Happy Face,” included appearances by Jack Nicholson, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Frank Miller, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Hamill, Stan Lee, Christian Bale, and a whole pack more. Any film that draws attention to Mark Hamill’s incredible talents is well worth a watch.

“I’m Batman: The Voices Behind the Cowl” was a panel that brought overdue attention to actors who voice the superhero. Not just the English-speaking ones, like LEGO Batman’s Will Arnett, but Jaron Löwenburg (who dubs a German version), Sergio Gutiérrez (Spanish), Claudio Santamaria (Italian), Iván Marín (Colombian) and others.

The Sandman is receiving an audio adaptation and there was a panel to prove it, featuring Neil Gaiman, Dirk Maggs and Michael Sheen. The panel also covered the new spin-off comic (The Dreaming: Waking Hours) and the forthcoming Netflix show. The big news: the Netflix version of The Sandman will be set in the present day rather than the 1980s/’90s setting of the original comics.

The Twitter brigade jumped on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s comment that his Black Adam was willing to kill, while Superman was not. Henry Cavill’s Supes knobbles General Zod, they tattled. The Rock’s Q&A session was a highlight of the FanDome, as he enthused about his 2022 movie Black Adam, revealed that the Justice Society of America (specifically Atom Smasher, Hawkman, Doctor Fate and Cyclone) would be involved. The project has been in development for over 10 years. The star described it as a passion project and a dream of his.

Mr. Rock likes Adam’s grey-area position on heroism (‘superhero, anti-hero… villain?’). He wants Adam to fight with Superman. I’d spend money in a comic shop where you can have a conversation with The Rock about superhero morals. This was as close as you could get.

In the new Suicide Squad game “Kill the Justice League,” they have good reason to - Superman kills somebody (he’s being controlled by Brainiac). The graphics (you can see Boomerang’s twitching whiskers!), character interplay and sense of fun made this look like a must-play from Rocksteady, developer of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Will Arnett teleported into the ‘Fanzone,’ as he called it, cracking silly jokes and interviewing Rocksteady’s steadfastly British Creative Director and Co-Founder Sefton Hill. Will proved he knew his stuff by dropping a Taskforce X reference and asking about the through-lines from the Arkham games. According to Hill, they will come to fruition in the new project.

Gotham Knights was the other game featured; Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin and Red Hood take up Batman’s mantle after his death. I guess Batman doesn’t know about this whole death thing since he has a movie coming out too, in which he’s played by Robert Pattinson. The pointy-chinned actor gave a watchable performance in Water for Elephants but I’m not on Team Edward. However, after watching director Matt Reeves talk about the gritty film – a kind of Batman: Year Two – and seeing the trailer, with Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred and Zoe Kravitz with a tea cosy on her head, I’m sold.

‘Just like the OG animated series!’ enthused Tweeter Andre Saint-Albin. ‘The detective and the myth that is “The Batman”! Matt Reeves saying all the right things.’ Such as name-checking classic films Chinatown, The French Connection and Taxi Driver. What we really got from Reeves was an extended pitch for the movie and he’s excited, informed and intent on treating Batman as seriously as a playboy millionaire’s heart attack.

In other movie news, Aquaman 2 got a mention in a fun mini-panel with director James Wan and Ocean Master Patrick Wilson, discussing production of the first movie and the sight of, ‘Dolph Lundgren on a tater-totter.’ Wan admitted that nothing was easy underwater. Wilson reminisced about sitting on a blue oil drum, grateful he was made aware of the digital world that would be built around him. He compared the non-sets with, ‘black box theatre where there is nothing… that’s why we get into this business in the first place… we concentrate on relationships.’ Wan was friendly and confident, having done a great job with his team of creating creatures and making people look floaty in the first film.

Shazam 2’s title was announced (Fury of the Gods) in a splendidly goofy Shazoom meeting, and we were teased about the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League; Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot formed part of the panel. The four-hour version of the Justice League epic will premiere on HBO Max in 2021.

With their Hall of Heroes day, DC Comics really attempted to provide variety and appeal to different ages; the Rock Q&A, for example, was accessible but he didn’t talk down to viewers/users/visitors. A different Q&A with an animated Harley Quinn was a lot sillier and filled with bleeped-out expletives. Like the Marvel Comics contributions to SDCC, their Distinguished Competition never forgot to be slick or fun.

This was the place to see actors from Wonder Woman 1984 play a whodunnit game – a little hard to follow but still fun. As one Tweeter said, ‘the cast… playing Werewolf on video is actually a fun and great idea for an event. Very creative #DCFanDome.’ For a Titans TV show segment, clips were shown then the panellists responded. The new season will visit a Gotham inhabited by the Scarecrow and Commissioner Barbara Gordon. CNN acknowledged real-life heroes around the globe, including the USA, India and our precious old Blighty.

A nod to Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary next year was too short and we didn’t really get the ‘celebration’ we were promised, but it was worth popping in to see Gal Gadot and Linda Carter together. We didn’t get too much information about The Flash movie but we did get confirmation that Ben Affleck would return as Old Man Bats.

Shazaam! star Zachary Levi hit the nail on the head when he jokingly described this day as trotting out known names to sell something. There was definitely a reliance on currently popular characters like the Joker (thanks to the excellent Joaquin Phoenix movie), Aquaman (thanks to hunky Jason Momoa), the much-anticipated Wonder Woman 1984, a follow-up to the hit Arkham Asylum game, and the ever-popular Batman. Thankfully, amidst all the Hollywood hoop-la, it was made clear that comics won’t go away – if nothing else they are a great testing ground for new ideas.

With hosts from around the world, including the US, Australia and New Zealand, and fan questions from as far afield as Brazil, DC Comics showed how global its reach truly is and how its fans help to spread the comic book gospel far and wide. By acknowledging the fans, there’s an inherent intent to do right by them, placing them all in a virtual Hall of Heroes.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

How to watch DC FanDome

DC FanDome, a stay-at-home 24-hour online event covering all things DC Comics, is this weekend.

As a lifelong fan of Batman, reruns of Adam West's camp crusader were synonymous with Saturday morning television and collecting die-cast Corgi toys in the mid-to-late seventies, Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter was a childhood crush, and Superman, Christopher Reeve's silver screen incarnation will always be definitive underscored by Hollywood composer John Williams' heroic soundtrack (Superman: The Movie was the second film I saw at the cinema, after Star Wars, and I still have a Superman pin from the screening), I'll be watching for sure.

To kick things off, Joker: Put On a Happy Face is available for free on Apple TV. The compelling documentary celebrates the cultural impact of Batman's archenemy and argues why The Crown Prince of Crime is the greatest comic book supervillain of all time.

DC's Stargirl has begun streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime (affiliate link) in the UK. The live-action series, based on Geoff Johns' superhero (a poignant tribute to the comic creator's late sister), is on par with Swamp Thing and Watchmen. In a move surprising no one, DC Universe's original shows are moving to HBO Max as part of a wider organisation reshuffle in the wake of major layoffs.

During lockdown a childhood passion for toy photography was reignited. Beginning with Wonder Woman 1984's Golden Armour action figure, from McFarlane's DC Multiverse line, shot on my iPhone SE.

To watch DC FanDome, simply visit here. Stay tuned for Nick Smith's coverage of DC FanDome. DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse is scheduled for 12th September.

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

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Warner Bros. announces free DC FanDome

On Tuesday Warner Bros. announced its own free 24-hour online-only event for DC Comics fans (myself included) 22nd August. This follows news of the free Comic-Con@Home from 22nd-26th July.

DC FanDome will include virtual panels for The Batman, Wonder Woman 1984, The Suicide Squad, Stargirl, more details from the Snyder Cut of Justice League for HBO Max and much more.

“There is no fan like a DC fan," said Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO of Warner Bros. "For more than 85 years, the world has turned to DC’s inspiring heroes and stories to lift us up and entertain us, and this massive, immersive digital event will give everyone new ways to personalize their journey through the DC Universe without lines, without tickets and without boundaries. With DC FanDome, we’re able to give fans from around the world an exciting and unparalleled way to connect with all their favorite DC characters, as well as the incredible talent who bring them to life on the page and screen.”

What do you most hope to see at DC FanDome? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

DC Universe's Titans coming to Netflix

DC Unlimited's live-action series Titans will be available on Netflix outside the US. This follows a similar deal with CBS All Access to stream Star Trek: Discovery.

Titans will focus on a group of young superheroes including Dick Grayson (AKA Robin), Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and more. The series stars Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft, Ryan Potter, Minka Kelly and Alan Ritchson.

DC Unlimited launched in September, promising exclusive content including Titans, Doom Patrol, Stargirl and Swamp Thing, and is currently US-only with plans to expand into Canada soon. The nascent service has entered an increasingly crowded streaming space with Disney about to launch its own with exclusive Marvel and Star Wars live-action series.

Partnerships with existing services is a good idea, mitigating risk and will mean many of us won't need to subscribe to yet another service. At least for the time being.

It'll be interesting to see how successful these live-action series are, especially given the popularity of DCTV on The CW.