When the Golden Age superhero group the Justice Society of America (JSA) falls, their leader Starman (Joel McHale) passes his Cosmic Staff to his sidekick Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) to find a rightful successor.
Ten years later, Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger), Dugan’s stepdaughter accidentally discovers the staff and activates its dormant powers.
Will she be able to take up the mantle of Stargirl?
Executive producer Geoff Johns, the highly esteemed DC comic book writer responsible for renowned storylines such as the Flashpoint crossover event, created the character Stargirl to honor his late sister Courtney.
Stargirl who debuted in the first issue of Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. in 1999 has been a relative fixture in DC Comics, and boasts membership in several superhero teams including the JSA, Young Justice, Suicide Squad and the Justice League itself.
Johns’ treatment of the character has always had a personal skew for him, but he has always done it with respect to the integrity of DC lore, and this is what makes Stargirl as a show most intriguing – Johns knows the source material by heart.
Therefore, he will likely pour his heart into this project.
During the pilot episode, nods to the comic book were littered from the beginning with the Golden Age JSA battling to the death with the Injustice Society, and it ends with a teaser for Dugan’s superhero persona/robot armor S.T.R.I.P.E. (Special Tactics Robotic Integrated Power Enhancer).
McHale’s brief performance as Starman was particularly notable as he reluctantly hands Wilson’s character his staff.
As Starman falls in battle in the arms of Dugan, he asks him to find a worthy successor while comically reiterating “Definitely not you.”
For over ten years, Dugan was either unsuccessful or unwilling to impart the powerful relic from his dead friend to another, and this begins the story of Stargirl.
The show is set in the fictional Blue Valley, Nebraska where Dugan along with his son Mike (Trae Romano), wife Barbara Whitemore (Amy Smart), and stepdaughter Courtney move from California to look for a fresh start as a family.
The cinematography and soundtrack of the show elicit an old-timey vibe when the scene shifts to Nebraska, and it’s reminiscent of Marty McFly going back in time on Back to the Future.
There’s even a great scene highlighting the difference in culture between California and Nebraska when the Whitemore-Dugans walk around town, and people greet them with a smile.
As Mike and Courtney are bewildered by what they see as odd behavior from strangers, Dugan and Barbara reply plainly, “They’re just being friendly.”
When the step-siblings have their first-days at school, Mike integrates among the nerdy click fairly well, and claims they have more time for video games because there’s nothing to do in Nebraska.
Meanwhile, Courtney struggles as she finds out there is no gymnastics team, and she quickly finds herself on the “loser” table with a bully immediately picking on her.
The new high school scenes are as cliche’ as they come, and is a far too familiar a trope as any, but it’s the pilot so it’s a forgivable bit for now.
As it turns out, the bully Henry (Jake Austin Walker) is the son of Dr. Henry King, Sr. / Brainwave (Christopher James Baker), and Courtney encounters both after inadvertently awakening the Cosmic Staff.
Moreover, this version of the Cosmic Staff has limited sentience, similar to Doctor Strange’s Cloak of Levitation in the 2016 film, and is a unique trait that’s never been used in past incarnations.
Where will the show go moving forward?
The main drive of the Stargirl character has always been to bring the glory of the JSA back to contemporary times, and during the pilot, the pieces of the story were put into place with an enjoyable tone.
Luke Wilson brings his comedic chops to support the fresh face of Brec Bassinger as a teenage female superhero lead, which is uncharted territory for the most part.
The chemistry between Wilson and Bassinger is already filled with humor and heart, and it’s a stepfather-daughter relationship that could be interesting to watch as it evolves.
However, the teenage demographic might be a tough audience to crack since there is a myriad of shows available on several streaming services already, and though there is a place for teenage superheroes, based on the recent successes of Young Justice, Titans, and Cloak and Dagger, Stargirl could be lost in the shuffle.
Because unlike those aforementioned shows, Stargirl, relatively speaking is less dark, less mature, and seems a bit too old-fashioned, which is exactly the point of the character in the first place, and it could either work for or against the show’s success.
VERDICT: Probably not worth streaming – for now.
Stargirl seems to want to pay homage to the Golden Age of Comic Books, and in doing so has set itself apart from other contemporary teenage drama shows that seem to always want to subvert expectations and desecrate long-standing sacred source material – looking at you Riverdale and Titans.
The problem is though, it plays like a familiar movie we’ve all seen a million times, and is it worth seeing the same movie again over the course of a series-long narrative?
True, the characters are relatively new to the average viewer, but the encompassing premise is simply not.
Nevertheless, Geoff Johns’ personal pet project started off well, its cinematography is excellent, and has definitely done the source material justice (pun intended).
In the meantime, unless you’re a fan of the comic or simply want to support a likely groundbreaking female teenage superhero lead of our time, then streaming Stargirl might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
‘Berlin’ Is the ‘Money Heist’ Spinoff We Never Knew We Needed
Berlin is the Money Heist spinoff we never knew we needed… but we’re so glad it’s almost here.
Since Berlin (Pedro González Alonso) was hands-down the most captivating (and problematic) character in the Spanish heist drama, fans always wanted to get to know more of him, especially after he sacrificed himself in the season 1 finale for his team, largely due to his terminal illness, redeeming himself in the process.
Quickly rising the ranks as a fan-favorite, the writers kept Berlin’s spirit alive in the following seasons via flashbacks, noting that he always had a hand in the planning of the heists, even if he wasn’t around to see them through. And it became more and more clear that there was an unsatiable thirst from audiences to explore additional parts of the character’s origin story; thus, a prequel to Money Heist focusing solely on Berlin’s prior escapades only made sense.
As seen in the later season of Money Heist, or La Casa de Papel, Berlin garnered even more intrigue when his son, Rafael (Patrick Criado) joined the heist. The former Electronics Engineer from MIT is Berlin’s prodigal son, whose only request was not to end up a thief like his father, also drew attention after entering a relationship with his father’s wife, Tatiana. It’s a lot to unpack, clearly, but it’s also proof that there was nothing boring or mediocre about Berlin’s life in the slightest, at any point.
So, again, it warrants a spinoff that digs even deeper into this complex, charismatic, and morally questionable character we’ve all come to love.
When he joined the Professor’s group in the series, he was already one of the most seasoned robbers of the bunch, having a plethora of experience mapping out and executing heists of ranging scales.
With Berlin: Money Heist, we’re not only going to get to see one of those previous heists in action, but we’re also going to get a sense of the man he was before attempting the biggest heist in history, which made him the beloved criminal we’ve come to know.
Capitalizing on the love already established for the series—one of Netflix’s most popular shows of all time—the prequel finds Berlin, in all his glory as Andrés de Fonollosa, the mastermind behind a heist targeting the biggest auction house in Paris to steal €44 million.
The series trails the planning of a new heist as he recruits his crew: “Michelle Jenner (Isabel) plays Keila, an eminence in electronic engineering; Tristán Ulloa (Fariña) goes into the skin of Damián, a philanthropic professor and Berlin’s confidant; Begoña Vargas (Welcome to Eden) plays Cameron, a kamikaze who always lives on the edge; Julio Peña Fernández (Through My Window) brings to life Roi, Berlin’s faithful squire; and Joel Sánchez plays Bruce, the relentless man of action in the gang.”
While it’s mostly an all-new cast, we’ll see a few familiar faces with Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri) and Raquel Murillo (Itziar Ituno) appearing at some point, though it’s unclear what their connection is to the storyline. Is it possible that their paths have always crossed and Berlin was always on their radar way prior to the action at the Royal Mint?
We may not be getting the version of Berlin from the original series, but don’t fret, as the teaser trailer evidenced, he’s still as ruthless, dapper, and flirtatious as ever, meaning that they really did this character–and prequel—justice. The fact that it hails from the original showrunner, Alex Pina, is also a sign that it won’t let the fandom down.
“It’s a trip through the golden age of the character, when he robbed around Europe crazy in love,” Pina previously told TUDUM, adding, “That’s the most surprising, the comedy. You’re going to make people laugh a lot.”
Berlin in his prime, in love, and flexing his comedic bone? As the beloved criminal says in the trailer, “it’s all the things worth living for.”
The full synopsis for the series reads:
“There are only two things that are sure to turn a bad day into a great one: love, and a payday worth millions. They’re what keep Berlin going through his golden years, a time when he still has no inkling of his illness and hasn’t gotten trapped like a rat in the Spanish Mint. This is where he starts preparing one of his most extraordinary heists: making jewels worth 44 million disappear like some sort of magic trick. To do it, he’ll enlist the help of one of the three gangs he’s ever stolen with.”
Watch the Berlin trailer below:
Berlin arrives a few days prior to New Year’s Eve on Dec. 29, 2023, which means you’ll have plenty of time to binge watch while counting down to 2024.
To prepare, you can stream Money Heist on Netflix and read our coverage here.
7 Steamiest Moments on ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’
It’s been a month since The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 wrapped up, and naturally, I’ve been replaying all of the best moments (read: the ones that give you butterflies) between Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah, to fill the void.
TSITP hinges on a love triangle between the two brothers and their longtime family-friendly, and when romance is the main focus of a young adult drama, well, you can anticipate that the series will have its fair share of hot and steamy makeout moments, along with plenty of heartbreak… more on that here.
With two seasons currently available to binge-watch on Prime Video—and we patiently await the third season—we’re breaking down all the steamiest moments on the show thus far.
Conrad and Belly Visit the Cousins House in the Winter
The moment when Conrad and Belly let their love totally consume them takes the top spot simply because of how intimately romantic and pure it is. Conrad showed so much care for Belly, making sure that she felt safe and ready. Nothing mattered except for the love and passion they felt for each other in that very moment; the world could melt away as they spent the evening together, cuddled up warmly by the fire. It’s one of the most pivotal Conrad and Belly scenes because it’s followed by so much anger and heartbreak as their relationship takes a nosedive and ends with an explosive argument at Conrad’s mother’s funeral.
Belly and Jeremiah Decide to Be Together
Okay, this kiss, was undeniably hot because it came from such a place of happiness and fullfillment. Belly knew what she wanted, and she went after it. They’d been skirting around their feelings for much of season 2, but there was nothing standing in their way anymore, so they both finally embraced their lust and completely gave themselves over to it. The little tug on his sweater indicated how crazy Belly was about him and how badly she wanted him, making everyone’s heart skip a beat while watching at home. The scene was delivered and executed perfectly by the duo (they understood the assignment)—but the Beyonce soundtrack simply elevated it into one of the most monumental romantic moments on television. It was a dream kiss, so even if you’re not Team Jeremiah, you couldn’t help but be completely enamored by this scene.
Belly and Conrad’s First Kiss on the Beach
There are so many romantic parts to this scene—the apology, Conrad’s honesty about needing and wanting Belly, and Taylor Swift’s “This Love (Taylor’s Version),” all culminating in the moment she’s dreamt of forever—the first kiss during a sunrise on the beach. After putting Belly through such an emotional rollercoaster through the whole season, Conrad made up for it with an absolutely perfect moment.
Belly and Jeremiah’s Makeout
With Conrad, it’s romantic and sensual, but with Jeremiah, it’s passionate, hot and charged. It’s almost as if Belly and Jeremiah cannot wait to get their hands on each other—and in this case, Jeremiah was waiting. He was waiting for his time with Belly to come, and when it did, he bared his soul to her about his feelings before they embraced in a hot and heavy pool makeout session that’s on every girl’s summer bucket list.
Belly and Jeremiah’s First Kiss in the Car
After Belly’s skinny dipping incident, Jeremiah and Conrad come to the rescue, but she makes it a point to go back home with Jere so she can apologize for ditching him during the volleyball tournament and to thank him for picking her up. In place of their usual playful vibe, there’s an intense chemistry that builds up to their first kiss. Sparks fly in a moment that feels both safe and right, because it’s Jeremiah, but also extremely hot and dangerous, because it’s Jeremiah. Jere checks in on her, proving that he values her and cares for her, while Belly boldly makes the first move, placing his hand on her chest, as her heart pounds in a way that indicates a strong and indescribable connection & attraction—it’s a sign that their romance-to-be was inevitable in season 2.
Belly and Jeremiah on Conrad’s Car
Listen, this scene did a lot of damage to both fandoms, in good and bad ways. They couldn’t hold off on those feelings anymore, simply embracing each other in the heat of the moment, but man, it was poor timing. Conrad walked in on them locking lips on his car, at his college, while he was taking a test. It wasn’t ideal, but it had to happen so that Belly and Conrad could put their relationship behind them (for now) and Jeremiah could finally, officially get his moment. Also, it continues on the “hot and heavy” trend for these two, and despite being Team Conrad, I can’t argue that I see the appeal of Jelly because of their raw and real chemistry and longing for one another.
Steven and Taylor Car Hood Makeout
When you’re young and in love, you make out on and in cars a lot, as evidenced by TSITP. Shortly after Belly and Conrad’s controversial car makeout, Steven and Taylor declared their love for each other in a cute lip-locking moment that came on the heels of a very vulnerable one; Taylor pushing Steven away because, for the first time in her life, she actually cared as much as the person she was in a relationship with. Not only are they both forcing each other out of their comfort zones, but their relationship built up to this moment organically, and it’s so adorable that we can’t help but ship them.
2023 Fall TV Schedule—16 Reality TV and Game Shows That Are a Must-Watch
The fall TV season is upon us, and with the ongoing strikes from the WGA and SAG-AFTRA putting many scripted shows on an indefinite hiatus, the schedule is leaning heavily on reality television and game shows.
Now, if you’re a fan of competition shows, this is music to your ears as it means that there will be plenty for you to watch throughout the fall and winter months.
We’re breaking down our favorite new and returning programs that have made it onto your 2023 fall TV lineup!
The Masked Singer – Sept. 10 on FOX
Season 10 of the reality singing competition already kicked off, unleashing its biggest name to date—spoiler alert—with Anonymouse unmasked as vocal powerhouse Demi Lovato. And there’s plenty more where that came from for the rest of the season, which includes the return of celeb panelists Ken Jeong, Nicole Scherzinger, Robin Thicke, and Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg along with host Nick Cannon.
Name That Tune – Sept. 19 on FOX
The iconic music guessing game is back in full swing as it resumes season 3. Contestants must compete to correctly identify the songs that are being played by the orchestra or band, sometimes with only a few notes to work with.
Kitchen Nightmares – Sept. 28 on FOX
Gordon Ramsey is back in the 8th season of the series, as he steps foot into restaurants and locales in desperate need of some saving. Throughout the 10 episodes, he will renovate 10 restaurants throughout the New York and New Jersey area.
The Voice – Sept. 28 on NBC
The popular singing competition enters season 24 with a new, yet familiar face, as country icon Reba McEntire replaces Blake Shelton alongside coaches John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Niall Horan, in their 8th, 7th, and 2nd season, respectively. Carson Daly also returns as host.
Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test – Sept. 28 on FOX
Season 2 is putting a new crop of celebrities to the test that’s unlike any other. It’s survival of the fittest as they attempt training exercises led by an elite team of ex-Special Forces operatives who are showing no mercy in the mountains of New Zealand. Celebrities taking on the task this year includeDez Bryant, Tyler Cameron, Savannah Chrisley, Blac Chyna, Brian Austin Green, Robert Horry, Erin Jackson, Bode Miller, Jack Osbourne, Tara Reid, Kelly Rizzo,Tom Sandoval, JoJo Siwa and Nick Viall.
Dancing with the Stars – Sept. 26 on ABC
Your favorite ballroom dancing competition is back with a handful of new celebrity contestants ready to hit the dance floor and show off their moves in hopes of winning the coveted Mirrorball Trophy. You can see the full list of contestants for season 32 here.
Celebrity Jeopardy – Sept. 27 on ABC
As Mayim Bialik takes a step back in solidarity with the union strikes, Ken Jennings taps in to host this season of the game show featuring celebrities putting their knowledge to the test.
Survivor – Sept. 27 on CBS
Entering its 45th season, veteran host Jeff Probst brings 18 castaways to Fiji, as the new season introduces risky elements to the competition for those who will battle it out for $1 million and the title of Sole Survivor.
Celebrity Wheel of Fortune – Sept. 27 on ABC
Pat Sajak (in his final season) and Vanna White will host the starry primetime offshot of American’s beloved game show, which will include appearances from All That’s Kel Mitchell, NCIS Hawai’i’s Noah Mills, Ghosts Danielle Pinnock, Gabriel “Flurry” Iglesias, Wednesday’s Luis Guzman and ’80s pop star Debbie Gibson, amongst many more, for its 4th season.
The Amazing Race – Sept 27. on CBS
Phil Keoghan hosts a supersized 35th season of the long-running reality-adventure series that finds 13 teams trekking the globe in hopes of landing the major $1 million prize, with the journey kicking off at the Hollywood sign and spanning a total of 23,800 miles, including the country of Slovenia for the first time. As usual, the teams that fall the furthest behind will get eliminated, while the group that makes it to their destination first will take the W.
$100,000 Pyramid – Sept. 27 on ABC
Michael Strahan jumps in as host for the 7th season of the word-association game show that finds a contestant pairing with a celebrity partner to solve the phrase before time runs out.
Golden Bachelor – Sept. 28 on ABC
Bachelor in Paradise – Sept. 28 on ABC
Favorites—and least favorites—from the Bachelor franchise get together in paradise for another shot at love in the 9th season. Jesse Palmer hosts as Wells Adams returns to the bar. Brayden Bowers, Brooklyn Willie, Jess Girod and Kylee Russell, Blake Moynes, Rachel Recchia, and more will hit the beach.
House of Villains – Oct. 12 on E!
The tagline iconicly states: “What if you put 10 of reality television’s most iconic and infamous supervillains together under one roof?” The series, hosted by Joel McHale, aims to do just that as it brings together 10 contestants considered villains like Jax Taylor, Omarosa, and Tiffany Pollard into direct competition for a cash prize and the title of America’s Ultimate Supervillain.
FBoy Island – Oct. 16 on The CW
After Max canceled the season after just 2 seasons, it’s getting a new life on The CW. It’s described as an “innovative and modern twist on the reality dating genre,” and finds three women in paradise joined by 26 men, with half who consider themselves “nice guys” looking for love and half as “Fboys” who just want some money. Can the romantic leads figure out whose who? The series is hosted by Nikki Glaser.
Weakest Link – Nov. 16 on NBC
You are the weakest link… goodbye. In its 12th season total, and third on NBC, the series hosted by Glee’s Jane Lynch finds 8 contestants who are strangers working together to bank the most amount of money in each round. They take turns answering general knowledge questions to build chains of correct answers, with incorrect ones breaking the chain and costing them. At the end, they vote to eliminate the contestant they deem is “the weakest” link.
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