Doom Patrol, season 1, episode 1 “Pilot” aired on Feb 15th, 2019.
Warning: Full spoilers will follow
Doom Patrol has arrived with a considerable amount of promise from their guest appearance in the fourth episode of Titans season 1 and based on this episode alone, the show is now the best excuse to have a DC Universe subscription.
Let’s get weird.
Doom Patrol is a Titans spin-off in name only, you don’t need to watch that episode to get up to speed. Right from the jump, the show has a different sensibility. The pilot is beautifully shot and it occupies a sweet spot between Legends of Tomorrow and Legion than just cannibalizing Titans’ tone and it bears a heavy influence from Grant Morrison’s iconic run of stories.
“More TV superheroes, just what the world needs. Have you hung yourself yet?” says Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) which establishes the show’s self-awareness and absurdist humor (there’s even a donkey that farts words). Doom Patrol is in a lot of ways DC’s answer to X-Men as the nearly hour-long episode follows each of the gang and the trauma that binds them and how they exist in a world that wants nothing to do with them.
Fearing what they don’t understand.
The backstories surrounding each of the Doom Patrol are unique and it fits each of the characters. Timothy Dalton’s Niles Caulder, also known as the Chief, takes in embattled, hotshot driver Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser) and implants his brain in a robotic body. Larry Trainor/Negative Man (Matt Bomer), a former test pilot who’s bandaged from head-to-toe to keep a spirit of pure energy intact. Rita Farr/Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby) a Hollywood actress who’s literally falling apart and the wildest of wild-cards, Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) who suffers from dissociative identity disorder which she has 64 personalities.
Method to the madness
The acting is terrific across the board. Dalton brings a much more fatherly Chief than Bruno Bachir’s manipulative mad scientist take. He’s still has an edge and I love how this show sticks with the cast that was established in Titans. Guerrero works serious Orphan Black magic as Crazy Jane and watching her go from persona to persona in the span of 30 seconds. Fraser also steals the show as a former a-hole who’s trying to do right in a new body. Alan Tudyk’s a lot of fun as the fourth wall breaking Mr.Nobody.
The VFX are terrific. Rita’s one-woman homage to The Blob was awesome as well as Crazy Jane morphing into a giant with a flaming head!. The music choices are also top-notch and there are changes to the characters such as Larry being a an LGBT character.
Overall, I came away from Doom Patrol’s pilot wanting more and this show got the job done with authority. Its offbeat sense of humor blended with the pathos of its cast makes for an intoxicating hour of television.
(images property of DC Universe)
(Featured image: DC Universe)