Do a search for “teen drama,” and you might not like what you find. In the drive to be the grittiest, the most shocking, the most “thrilling,” (read: sex and violence,) are there any producers still interested in telling a good story that inspires kids to become better people?
A Bright Star to Chase Away the Dark
Why yes, there are some devoted to telling the stories of heroes, and executive producer Geoff Johns is one such person. His series “Stargirl” aired its first season in 2020, with a second season set to be released in summer 2021.
“Stargirl” is a superhero teen drama based on a 1999 DC Comic, “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.” Though its characters are plenty complex, flawed, and human, “Stargirl” bucks the trend of making hero stories darker and grittier, with dark and depressing civil wars that make you wonder if there are any “good guys” at all. True to the DC comics of old, Stargirl is ready to stand up for what is right, and she recognizes that she cannot do it alone.
A Giant Mech-Suited Sidekick
Stargirl’s first link to the previous generation of heroes comes in the form of her stepdad, Pat Dugan, a mild-mannered mechanic who, in a previous life, was the sidekick to the original Starman. Though he tries to dissuade the young hero from pursuing this dangerous path, Pat soon realizes that the best way to protect his young stepdaughter and her aspiring hero friends is to join their quest to recreate the Justice Society of America.
To do this, he leverages his mechanical skill – and builds a fifteen-foot mechanical suit of armor, called S.T.R.I.P.E. How cool is that?
The family dynamics underlying Stargirl/Courtney Whitmore’s story are just right – flawed enough to feel real, with her disappeared father and strained relationship with her stepdad, but still driven by a strong desire to protect and care for those who you call family.
New and Old Villains
In season 1, just as Stargirl began to realize her own powers and to form a team around her, the sleeping Injustice Society of America began to reassert itself. While at first Stargirl’s quest to find or replace the members of the JSA was driven by the hope that her own father might be found among them, very quickly their newly recruited adversaries in the ISA become the threat that makes forming a new JSA necessary.
As season 1 closed, we learned that one Injustice Society member is now in possession of a black diamond shard of the Heart of Darkness. This means that Eclipso, one of DC’s most powerful and ancient evils, will be awakened. What Eclipso will do is anyone’s guess. He is known as an agent of chaos who can corrupt the minds and control the wills of even the most powerful heroes.
For the new season, Stargirl and her team will need to face the ultimate evil and the true test of any hero – the potential for evil within themselves. Sure, the kids will be alright – but they are going to need a bright light to shine in the darkness.