Comic books have become a massive creative inspiration for several television shows, movies, and video games. DC’s Stargirl, the superhero action/drama that has aired on DC Universe and The CW, is no exception. With at least two seasons under its belt, the series has several features that make it unique amongst its contemporary small-screen adaptations.
1. Comic Book Creative Crew
Most comic book adaptations usually do not involve the original creators. They are usually either disconnected to the project, following it and giving their approval, or working on a small capacity as creative consultants. Stargirl differs by having Courtney Whitmore’s co-creator Geoff Johns serving as executive producer and writer. James Robinson, who is known for his Justice Society of America comics and his revamp of season two villain The Shade, is also a producer and writer.
2. Bright and Optimistic Tone
Comic book characters have relatable problems that captivate audiences. Modern adaptations try to recreate these themes by crafting darker, dramatic, and more cynical stories. However, these characters can also offer heroic inspiration and hope. As such, unlike Johns’s dark and gritty comic series Geiger, this series embraces optimism and a brighter outlook. While Courtney and the JSA members have issues, they ultimately do the right thing and help themselves and others. The show’s tone portrays heavy moments in a family-inclusive manner.
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3. Different Setting
Most superhero stories take place in real or fictional cities since they provide a large number of characters, bigger environments for action scenes, and greater stakes. Stargirl takes a different approach by setting the story in Blue Valley, Nebraska, a small, quiet town where everyone knows each other. Pat Dugan moves his family there due to its peaceful nature. However, it also secretly houses the Injustice Society of America and is located near the abandoned JSA headquarters. Blue Valley is also unique in its anachronistic nature that combines the 1950s and the 2020s.
4. Untouched Lore
Due to the growing popularity of superhero comics, there are more adaptations that go beyond Batman, Superman, and the Justice League. This series gives a protagonist role to Stargirl, who is usually a supporting character in non-comic media. Additionally, the JSA and their villainous counterparts, the ISA, also gain a strong focus. While they have been featured in shows like Smallville and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, this series is the first time where characters like Wildcat, Dr. Mid-Nite, and Shining Knight have lead roles.
5. Multiple Recurring Villains
Most live-action superhero shows follow the Villain of the Week formula, with a main villain or two pulling the strings for each season’s story arc. Stargirl differs in that the first season focuses on ISA members such as Icicle, Dragon King, and Brainwave as they engineer a major plot the heroes must stop. This plot structure fits the intimate Blue Valley setting and allows the villains to fully develop strong relationships. Season two shakes things up by establishing both Eclipso and Shade as dual major threats.
There are several comic book adaptations on television, but some can truly stand out. This unique blend of elements establishes this show’s identity to new and returning viewers.
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