tek's rating: ½
DC Super Hero Girls, on DC SHG (YouTube)
DC Database; IMDb; official website (archived); TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia; World's Finest; YouTube
This animated webseries is part of a franchise that was announced in April 2015, and I was kind of excited to hear about it, at the time. However, I had no idea when it was going to actually start. Well, it started in October, but I don't think I realized that until a bit later. And then I didn't get around to watching it until January 2016. I'm mainly interested in the webseries, but the franchise will also include toys, books, comics, and other things. Most of that I'm sure I won't bother with, but I wouldn't mind checking out some comics, which will likely skew a bit older than the webseries (though still younger than me). Speaking of which, I'm obviously not the target demographic, being neither young nor female, but I had to at least check out the show, because it's got so many things going for it that I normally enjoy: super heroes, animation, it's on the web, and by its very existence it subtly chips away at the patriarchy. Also, the cast includes some familiar voices, which is always nice. And the theme song is kinda catchy. (Also I should mention that every season has extra videos that aren't actual episodes.) Oh, and of course there are male students who we see a bit of. The main focus just happens to be on the girls. I also want to mention that the episodes are misnumbered on YouTube, both in terms of skipping a few numbers altogether, and sometimes in terms of the actual order. But it's not really important.
Season 1 (October 2015 - February 2016)
The series begins with Principal Amanda Waller (Yvette Nicole Brown) introducing us to Super Hero High. For the first episode, we just see various students, rather than hearing any dialog from them. (We also don't hear Vice Principal Gorilla Grodd speak yet, but he will eventually be voiced by John DiMaggio.) In the second episode, Wonder Woman (voiced by Grey Griffin, better known as Grey DeLisle) arrives at Super Hero High for the first time. (Like most of the characters on the show, she's reimagined here as teenager. Though luckily, her name is not changed to "Wonder Girl"; she's still Wonder Woman.) The first student Wonder Woman meets is Bumblebee (Teala Dunn), who is an ambassador to new students. Wonder Woman's roommate (who calls her "Wondy") is Harley Quinn (Tara Strong, doing a reasonable imitation of Arleen Sorkin's Harley from Batman: The Animated Series). So, yes, some of the characters in the show are normally villains in other continuities, but here they're training to be heroes. Aside from Wondy, Bumblebee, and Harley, the main characters of season one will include Poison Ivy (Strong) and Katana (Stephanie Sheh). Another important character is Barbara Gordon (Mae Whitman), who isn't a student there, but works in the school's IT department. (She isn't Batgirl yet, but she already wears the costume in the opening credits.) Wonder Woman's main antagonist will be a student named Cheetah (Ashley Eckstein, who voiced Ahsoka on Star Wars: The Clone Wars), who pulls some nasty pranks on Wonder Woman.
Some minor characters include Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) and Starfire (Hynden Walch), which is pretty cool, because they're the same voice actors those characters previously had on Teen Titans. (It's not until season 2 that Cyborg gets a speaking role, but he's voiced by Khary Payton, who also voiced Cyborg on Teen Titans. Booyah!) Well, there are lots of minor characters we see around campus, some of whom even have a few lines. They include Hawkgirl (Nika Futterman), Frost (Danica McKellar), Star Sapphire (Jessica DiCicco), Lady Shiva (Tania Gunadi), Catwoman (Cristina Pucelli), and Miss Martian (Pucelli), to name a few. (Miss Martian pretty much only ever says "Eep!" right before turning invisible, because she's shy.)
Anyway, the first season is pretty short, with only 13 regular episodes (all under 4 minutes). Not a lot happens besides the students getting into humorous situations with class struggles, and social interactions. Though students do occasionally have to respond to the "save the day alarm." And there's a minor plot thread in a few episodes, about how Wonder Woman has to design her own hero suit for a class taught by Crazy Quilt (Tom Kenny). Some teachers we see less of include Lucius Fox (Phil LaMarr) and Red Tornado (Maurice LaMarche). Also there are occasional "Hero of the Month" episodes, in which Principal Waller narrates clips of that month's hero doing what they do, and their fellow students talking about what makes the winner deserve the title. I expect the show appeals more to young kids (the target group is 6-12), and it doesn't seem to me that the writers try as hard to appeal to older demographics as some kids' shows do. So I don't enjoy it quite as much as I'd hoped I would, but it's a reasonably cute and amusing show.
Season 2 (April 2016 - February 2017)
Supergirl (Anais Fairweather) begins attending Super Hero High (even though she'd been seen in the opening credits from the beginning of the series). Actually, her arrival happens between the first and second episodes, in the TV special Super Hero High, though I didn't get a chance to see that until the webseries was a little ways into season 3. Also in that special, Barbara leaves her job in the IT department, becomes Batgirl, and becomes a student at Super Hero High. (So it probably would have been helpful to have seen that special before seeing most of this season, but even without having seen it, it's not like it was hard to figure out what was going on.) Also in season two, some of season one's minor characters become a bit more important. And of course more stuff happens this season, including more action, in addition to the usual humor and friendship stuff.
And in the middle of the season, there was a direct-to-DVD movie called Hero of the Year.
Season 3 (January - November, 2017)
Lena Luthor (Romi Dames) is the new IT girl at Super Hero High, and she releases "Kryptomites" that wreak havoc over a few episodes. (She seems to be an actual villain just pretending to be good.) And I guess the action is expanded even more than it was in season 2. Of course there'll always be plenty of humor. Also there have been a lot extra videos, particularly in April, which was dubbed "Super Hero Month." That event crossed over on another YouTube channel, DC Kids, which is how I discovered that channel. So I started watching that. There have also been some "LEGO DC Super Hero Girls" videos, which I have no idea if they're supposed to be canonical to this series or not.
In the middle of the season, there was a direct-to-DVD movie called Intergalactic Games. There was also a DVD movie called "Lego DC Super Hero Girls: Brain Drain," which I haven't seen.
Season 4 (January - June, 2018)
The season starts with junior Green Lantern Hal Jordan leaving earth for training on Oa. A new ring will be sent to Earth to choose a new Green Lantern to protect that sector of space, but before that happens, Sinestro plans to attack while there is no Green Lantern on the planet. Over the first four episodes, Sinestro abducts several of Super Hero High's students, to take back to Korugar. Meanwhile, a Green Lantern ring chooses Jessica Cruz (Cristina Milizia), who is Lois Lane's camera girl, to become the new junior Green Lantern of Earth. However, Jessica is scared, and doesn't want to accept the responsibility, until Batgirl convinces her to try. So, she finally defeats Sinestro, and then enrolls at Super Hero High, herself. The next story arc introduces another new student, Mera (Erica Lindbeck), an Atlantean who has some trouble fitting in at the land-based school. Then there are eps about students' pets being allowed to come to Super Hero High, most notably Krypto the Super Dog and Ace the Bat Hound. There's a story arc about Wonder Woman's lasso being stolen. Then there's a story arc about Raven (Tara Strong, who also voiced her in "Teen Titans") trying to make a portal out of the Underworld, which ends up causing an earthquake in Metropolis. She helps the SHH students deal with that, as well as with her father, Trigon (Kevin Michael Richardson) coming to Metropolis and intending to destroy Super Hero High. Ultimately, Raven portals him back to the Underworld, and he agrees to let her become a student at SHH. And then a few more random episodes.
In the middle of season 4, a DVD called "Lego DC Super Hero Girls: Super-Villain High" was released, but I haven't seen it. Between seasons 4 and 5, a DVD movie called Legends of Atlantis was released. (Actually, it was shown at Comic-Con a week or so before season 5 began, but it wasn't released on DVD until a few months after season 5 began. The story is definitely set between seasons 4 and 5, though.)
Season 5 (August - December, 2018)
A new teacher named Dr. Seid comes to SHH. Raven creates a portal that takes her to a future that seems bad, but when she returns to the present, she doesn't remember what she saw. And then... there are a bunch of random episodes. But in the season finale, we learn (as if anyone hadn't guessed from the very start) that Dr. Seid is actually Darkseid. And he tries to take over the world, but of course his plan is thwarted.
After the season ended, the YouTube channel switched to showing a series of Super Shorts based on the new TV series which is also called DC Super Hero Girls, but with a totally different continuity, animation style, and voice cast than the webseries and its various spin-offs. (Well, there might be a few of the same actors, but in mostly different roles than in this webseries.) For now, I'm not sure whether the original DC Super Hero Girls webseries is ever going to continue or not. (Probably not.) The webseries's title was later amended to "DC Super Hero Girls at Super Hero High."