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Stargirl Pilot Review – Is It Stream-Worthy?

Promo poster for STARGIRL starring Brec Bassinger and Luke Wilson courtesy of DC Universe / The CW.

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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.

 

Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. had a cameo on the hit series Justice League Unlimited.

 

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.

Courtney Whitemore (Brec Bassinger) holds the Cosmic Staff for the first time. STARGIRL / The CW.

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.


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Lorenz Bacani is a pop-culture enthusiast who's trying to watch as many good comic-book movies and TV shows as superhumanly possible. He received a bachelor's degree in Journalism and New Media at California Baptist University. Wrote for a news tabloid, worked for a couple of non-profits, and dabbled in some photography (mostly for Instagram purposes). He is probably currently binge-watching an old TV show for nostalgia.

Netflix

Who Will Die On ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4B?

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Who Dies on Stranger Things Season 4B?

Stranger Things Season 4 was quite a bloodbath, but we haven’t seen anything yet.

While Vecna claimed a handful of victims in the first eight episodes of the season, none of them were part of the core cast. 

That’s all about to change come Season 4B, which does not go easy on our Hawkins best and brightest. 

The final two episodes — both feature-length in duration, clocking in at over two hours a piece — have been teased by Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson) as absolute “carnage.”

Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) has been doing the press rounds and hinting at a major character death, and truthfully, all signs point to Steve Harrington. 

Think about it: His death would have the largest emotional impact. He’s a fan favorite, he’s the “dad” of the group often taking on the protector role and keeping the kids safe when their parents are literally nowhere to be found, he’s an overall good guy, and he has so much momentum and chemistry with Nancy right now, it’s insane.

Per Insider, Joe Keery’s character wasn’t supposed to survive the first season in the Duffer Brother’s original plan, but they simply couldn’t let him go. 

And it’s exactly why his death would destroy a whole fandom, crumbling them at the core. It’s a death that will hit both fans and characters equally as hard. Some might argue that Steve is the glue that holds it all together, never taking himself too seriously but also going boldly right into the danger zone.

Matt Duffer didn’t exactly confirm that Steve would be the big death of the season, but he also didn’t deny it either.

“If he’s going to die, it’s not going to be from the bat bite,” Matt told Variety, which is almost reassuring. He did acknowledge everyone is “worried about Steve,” so maybe his death is too obvious.

If we’re all prepared for it, it won’t be as effective, right?

Who Dies on Stranger Things Season 4B?

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Eduardo Franco as Argyle, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, and Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

In that case, could it be Nancy Wheeler? At the end of season 4, Nancy is stuck in the Upside Down in a trance as Vecna explains his origin story to her. It’s unclear why he chose to be honest with Nancy, but that’s a good journalist for you — getting the story even when it could cost her her life.

Of course, Steve is in the Upside Down with Nancy, so I don’t think she’ll die there just yet. There’s no way he’d leave her behind without bringing her to safety. But if Nancy is already connected to Vecna, that means she’s running out of time and unless she can find a foothold in the real world to keep her safe a la Max’s “Running Up That Hill,” she might just be his next victim.

Other possibilities:

Dr. Benner or Dr. Owens — Both of them care for Eleven and want to help restore her powers so that she can defeat this evil once and for all. But the FBI is coming for them, and they don’t take kindly to betrayal. I can see them sacrificing themselves to help Eleven escape for the greater good. Owens would be slightly more upsetting because Brenner might just deserve it.

Eddie — Eddie is a fan favorite, and if look at the show’s track record of killing off the lovable, new guy, well, it doesn’t bode well for the newcomer. He’s already been to the Upside Down, and based on the teaser, we know he returns there for some epic guitar solo. Maybe that’s his triumphant moment before death?

Jonathan — The only way that Nancy and Steve could work is if Jonathan is out of the picture. And while it’s cruel to kill him off for the sake of another relationship, there’s also not much that Jonathan is actually contributing to the storyline anymore aside from getting high with his friend Argyle. His death, however, would shake the core group as he’s Will’s brother and rock.  

Eleven — It’s unlikely that the series would risk killing their biggest asset, but she is gearing up for her biggest battle yet. It’s going to take everything that she has. Some might say, you don’t make it out alive after using up all that power. And Eleven loves her friends deeply, so we know she would sacrifice everything for them.

Who Dies on Stranger Things Season 4B?

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Tom Wlaschiha as Dmitrti, Brett Gelman as Murray Bauman, Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, and David Harbour as Jim Hopper in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Joyce, Murray, Dmitri, and Hopper are in a dangerous situation in Russia, but considering that they’ve managed to survive a plane crash, Siberia, imprisonment, and a Demogorgon, I have full faith in them! 

Who do you think is going to die on Stranger Things Season 4B?


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Only Murders in the Building

Only Murders in the Building Season 2 – Who is the Killer? We’re Logging Every Clue on the Murder Board

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Who Is the Killer on 'Only Murders in the Building' Season 2?

Only Murders in the Building season 2 carries the torch of the first season, putting a unique spin on the murder mystery genre.

The killer, who is most likely also the person framing Mabel, Charles, and Oliver (who are all persons of interest) likely won’t be revealed until the final episode, but we’re creating an online murder board to keep track of all suspects and possible clues hinting at this person’s identity.

Join us — and the characters who attempt to solve the whodunnit on their podcast via new weekly episodes that air every Tuesday on Hulu– as we theorize who is responsible for the latest murder at the Arconia!

*Cue the theme song*

 

Victim: Bunny Folger

Her Last Words: 14 and Savage

Cause of Death: 8 stabs wounds

Murder Weapon: A knife (not a knitting needle) that has yet to be located

Place of Death: Mabel’s apartment

 

Possible Suspects

 

Alice Banks

Played by Cara Delevigne, Alice slides into Mabel’s DM’s shortly after she lands the front page of the tabloids as “Bloody Mabel.” The art artist collective owner invites Mabel to a gallery opening in an attempt to cozy up to her and get her to open up. Maybe she just sees past Mabel’s flaws, but considering the whole mystery hinges on a missing painting by the artist Rose Cooper (who also died a mysterious death), we simply cannot rule it out. Maybe she wants the painting… maybe she wants Mabel. Honestly, maybe Rose was Alice’s mom who was murdered by Charles’ dad, her lover, and Alice is trying to get revenge on him by getting close to Mabel. Also, Alice Banks doesn’t sound like it would be her real name, so she’s suspect #1 for now.

 

Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer is playing an exaggerated version of herself who just moved into Sting’s former penthouse. She’s a fan of the podcast — almost to an obsessive point — who wants the rights to it so she can turn it into a streaming service series and channel her inner Jan. You need a murder mystery in order to have a successful podcast… and then a show, I’m just saying. Plus, I have to believe that there’s a reason the series included her character! 

 

Uma Heller

I’m sorry to do this to you Uma, but there’s no one that knew Bunny better than her best friend. She not only knew about the painting, but she knew its worth. Maybe jealousy got the best of her?

 

Nina Lin

We don’t know much about Nina other than the fact that she’s the New Board President. Howard says she has wanted the gig for a long time, which gives her motive. And he also warned the trio not to be fooled by her “maternal glow,” comparing her vibe to Rosemary’s Baby instead.

 

Leonora Folger

Killing your own daughter is certainly cruel, but crazier things have happened. Leonora wasn’t really phased by her daughter’s passing, but she was very interested in finding her painting. She even came with the original bill of sale in order to retrieve her prized possession. Yes, she’s technically blind and can’t cut a piece of cheese to save her life, but it could’ve all been an act. And there’s also the whole affair with Charles’ father that she casually mentioned after informing Charles that she knew exactly who he was this whole time. She clearly knows way more than she’s leading on. 

 

Cinda Canning

If she’s devious enough to blatantly steal a podcast, she’s not above murder. A murder suspect has to benefit from the crime, and Cinda sure does! By giving the Arconia another murder victim, she deepens the mystery and secures herself a compelling season.

 

Ursula

I don’t ever want to think badly of Ursula, but she was really suspicious when angrily throwing out a random box of documents and looking around to make sure there weren’t any witnesses. What’s she trying to hide? This couldn’t have been a routine dump.

 

Rose Cooper

Yes, she supposedly went missing in the ’50s and is believed to be dead, but no one ever found a body. There could be so many unknown twists and turns about her identity that we have yet to discover. What’s her true connection to all of this? Or is Rose Cooper actually Leonora?

 

Oscar

Mabel’s sort-of ex. What happened to him? Why are they moments away from the friend zone? Are we to just believe the streamer couldn’t get him back this season, or is there another reason he’s staying away… I don’t know, maybe like framing your girlfriend and her friends for murder?

 

READ ALSO:

Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Premiere Review – Bloody Mabel

Only Murders in the Building Review – Framed (2×02)


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Stranger Things

‘Stranger Things’ TikTok Theory About Vecna and Ms. Kelly Will Blow Your Mind

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'Stranger Things' TikTok Theory About Vecna and Ms. Kelly Will Blow Your Mind

Stranger Things Season 4A was a lot. 

Each episode was a full-length movie, every character was busier than ever, and a new big bad started making the residents of Hawkins his lunchtime snack. So, naturally, there were also a lot of theories swirling around on the internet. 

One that caught our attention links Ms. Kelly (Regina Ting Chen) and Vecna in a way that might blow your mind. 

This might be a good time to point out that if you haven’t finished binge-watching S4 (but you should because we’re only a handful of days away from the 4B premiere of on July 1), you should probably close out right now because — SPOILERS AHEAD

Both Vecna and Ms. Kelly are brand new characters this season, though, one is much more menacing than the other. Or so we thought…

Vecna makes a bold move in the first episode by making Chrissy the cheerleader his first victim. The poor girl can’t escape the mindscape that she’s trapped in, and when Vecna takes hold, she levitates to the ceiling as her joints snap like little pretzel sticks. It’s disturbing on many levels — just ask key witness Eddie Munson, that is if you can find him in the void between our world and the Upside Down. 

Vecna’s second kill is Nancy’s nerdy journalist friend Fred, who, at first glance, has absolutely no connection to Chrissy.

Again, or so we thought. 

Vecna then sets his sights on Max. Some might think it’s because Chrissy, Fred, and Max all spent a significant amount of time at the trailer park where Vecna could’ve taken hold, but if that theory were to hold true, everyone else would also be in Vecna’s crosshairs. 

So, why these three?

As Max establishes, they are all patients of the Hawkins high school counselor, Ms. Kelly.

'Stranger Things' TikTok Theory About Vecna and Ms. Kelly Will Blow Your Mind

Credit: Netflix

It gets even more disturbing when you realize that Vecna pretty much feeds off of their traumas, using their fears against them to weaken and break them.

That in itself is enough to make you wonder if the sweet and helpful school counselor might be up to something more sinister, but then, 

While Ms. Kelly seems innocent enough, there’s another significant clue that might seal the deal on this theory — Ms. Kelly wears a necklace with a clock and a key pendant. Who else has a thing for grandfather clocks? Vecna! 

 TikTok’s Midwest Marvel Guy’s theory (watch it HERE) points out that there’s a lot of clock symbolism when it comes to Ms. Kelly, including a mini grandfather clock in her office and even clock ticking sounds when Max is around the guidance counselor.

You can also explore this Reddit theory for more insight! 

Some believe that it’s possible Ms. Kelly is the grown-up version of Alice Creel, Henry Creel’s sister, which tracks since Henry, Vecna, and 001 are one in the same. Yes, Alice supposedly died the night of Henry’s attack in the Creel House, but he survived, so it’s possible that she did as well. 

However, I’m more inclined to think that Henry/Vecna crossed paths with Ms. Kelly when she was his guidance counselor (even for a short time) and somehow mind controlled her into essentially becoming his foot soldier for all these years. After all, he needs to have some kind of hold on the mortal world, right?

The only plot hole in this theory is that Lucas’ basketball friend, Patrick, also becomes Vecna’s victim, but as far as we know, he is not a patient of Ms. Kelly’s. We don’t know for a certain that he isn’t, though, so the theory could still hold true!

With the final two installments of the season arriving Fourth of July weekend (with episode 8’s runtime of 1 hour of 20 minutes, while the ninth and final episode clocks in at 2 hours and 20 minutes), there are plenty of theories floating around. One even suggests that somehow, Henry/Vecna/001 is Eleven’s biological dad.

I guess we’ll have to wait to see it all fall into place. There will surely be plenty of surprises as actor Joseph Quinn (Eddie) teases that fans should expect “absolute carnage.”

Do you have any fun theories about Stranger Things Season 4?

And check out TikTok’s Midwest Marvel Guy break down the theory right HERE


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