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Doom Patrol is a different kind of superhero show

Posted on October 1, 2020 by Vauxhall Advance

By Cole Parkinson
Vauxhall Advance

In the age of superhero TV shows and movies at every turn of the head, I feel there’s one particular TV show that has been overlooked by the vast majority of casual fans.

That show is DC’s Doom Patrol, which is currently available on Crave here in Canada.

And I know you’re probably thinking ‘so what, another superhero property, how could it be different?’ and normally I wouldn’t disagree.

Especially since DC has butchered the vast majority of their connected cinematic universe at basically every turn, but Doom Patrol is a breath of fresh air.

Having already read the Grant Morrison run from the late 80s and into the early 90s, which the show borrows from quite heavily, Doom Patrol is quite the trip.

I’ve never done LSD and I have zero intentions of ever doing so but reading Morrison’s Doom Patrol, I feel that’s probably a pretty accurate feeling of what it’s like.

Between robots, supernatural beings, multi-dimensions and a vast amount of unbelievable characters, it really is not like most other comics that came before it.

And while people have tried to recapture that magic, I have yet to find another writer to match Grant Morrison’s weird and wonderful storylines in every comic run he’s been a part of.

It’s crazy, zany and off the rails for the vast majority of the four year run and thankfully, most of that is brought over to the television screen.

For those who may not be familiar with the “World’s Strangest Heroes”, of which there have been many variations throughout the years, the show primarily hosts the original team of Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton), Rita Farr aka Elast-Girl (April Bowlby), Larry Trainor aka Negative Man/the Negative Spirit (Matt Bomer/Matthew Zuk) and of course Cliff Steele aka Robotman (Brendan Fraser/Riley Shanahan) along with Morrison’s own creation Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero).

Where the show really deviates from the comics is Cyborg (Victor Stone) played by Jovian Wade, who is also part of the team, which I’m sure many people recognize from the DCEU film Justice League, though this is a younger Cyborg who’s on the path to the JLA and obviously played by a different actor.

Alan Tudyk plays another Morrison creation in Mr. Nobody, who starts to wreak havoc on the team as he seeks revenge on Niles Caulder.

From there, and because I don’t want to spoil a second of what you’ll see and experience, I say prepare for a wild ride that is honestly one of my favourite superhero adaptions of the past several years especially since the characters are so well written and it’s hard not to care about what happens to them.

What I can say though is the cast does an incredible job throughout the two seasons currently available, with a third coming in the near future.

Guerrero as Crazy Jane is a particular highlight as she steals almost every scene she is in and considering she’s playing one character with several other characters inside of her brain, she has a lot to work with.

I also never knew I needed Brendan Fraser as Robotman but man, is he so good in this role and now I can honestly say I couldn’t see anyone else as Cliff.

The action is great, it’s incredibly funny and they’ve adapted arguably the best stories from the Doom Patrol’s history.

For a TV show, the CGI is incredibly well put together and I can’t think of a time where it really stood out as a negative.

And I know people probably passed on the show because the characters weren’t the ‘A’ list of DC heroes but I can confidently say it is the best of both the TV shows and movies that DC has been pumping out, and most of those do contain your recognizable DC properties.

Another reason I could see why people may have ignored Doom Patrol would be because of the ‘Arrowverse’ from the CW Network which features Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and a few others.

Having been a fan of the early seasons of Arrow, none of the other series really gripped me, particularly because of the long 22 episode season which featured more than enough filler.

But there’s none of that with Doom Patrol because it is a DC Universe/HBO vehicle which means plenty of adult-type content which is exactly the right way to approach something like Doom Patrol.

And while Morrison’s long run on the Doom Patrol comic had plenty of light and funny moments, most of which are carried over, there are still plenty of dark, foreboding moments as well, particularly with Crazy Jane’s backstory.

The blending of humorous moments with dark stories is something DC has been trying to do with their cinematic movie universe for the past several years and nothing has connected nearly as well as Doom Patrol.

While the first season has 15 episodes, with hardly a second of filler, in my opinion, the second season only consists of nine episodes.

While 10 were planned, the COVID-19 pandemic forced production to shut down and they were unable to finish the last episode.

The good news though is it leaves you with 24 episodes of superhero television and I can guarantee it’s worth your time.

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