‘Stargirl’ Season 1, Part 2 Review

by Frank Martin

When comic book fans think of campy TV, the Adam West Batman series — now known as Batman ’66 — comes to mind. It’s goofy and corny in all the right ways. But the problem with taking that approach is that the stakes for our hero are very low. There’s only a certain amount of danger and darkness the show can depict while still being campy. But Stargirl proves that a show can have both. With its classic superhero uniforms and teenage superhero approach, it’s impossible to say that Stargirl lacks campiness, but it also has real stakes and violence. It’s a bizarre mix that proves very addicting.

In order to fully be absorbed in the world, the viewer has to give in to the show’s fantastical elements. There’s a certain amount of give on that part, but there’s definitely a reward for it too. Other shows on The CW do something similar. The Flash certainly comes to mind. But The Flash’s twenty-plus episode season works against the suspension of disbelief. Stargirl, by comparison, only has 13 episodes per season. This shortened episode count allows for much quicker pacing and a danger that emphasizes the stakes our heroes are up against.

Usually, superhero shows dealing with secret identities take time to develop the relationship between hero and villain. There are several episodes of cat-and-mouse that prolong the season for the sake of tension. Stargirl doesn’t have this luxury. The shorter season and plethora of characters forces battles with real consequences and actual danger as anyone can be killed off at any moment. Yet, on a show that features a retractable football field that reveals a gigantic array of satellite dishes, it’s hard not to roll one’s eyes from time to time. But again, it’s this merger of the ridiculous and the dangerous that make Stargirl a very entertaining, escapist show.

Stargirl is now streaming on HBOMax.

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