Before the Doom Patrol were introduced in Titans, I never knew much about these super-powered misfits, other than they were the group that Beast Boy originated from in the comics. But after their introduction, I knew, instantly, that I was on-board to see more of this quirky supergroup.
!WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Doom Patrol consists of Robotman aka Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser) a former race car driver who was injured that badly in a crash, his brain was transplanted into a robotic body, Elasti-Woman aka Rita Farr (April Bowlby) a former actress, who was exposed to a toxic gas that gave her the ability to stretch, shrink and grow, Negative Man aka Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer), a former ace pilot who was exposed to negative energy during a test flight, leaving him radioactive and now wearing bandages, he has the ability to release a negatively charged energy being from his body, Crazy Jane aka Kay Challis (Diane Guerrero) who has 64 distinct personalities, each displaying a different super power, and their leader, the wheelchair-bound genius Niles Caulder aka the Chief (Timothy Dalton).
The pilot begins with a voice over from the series big bad, Eric Morden aka Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) “Ready for a story about Superheroes? more TV superheroes — just what the world needs! Be honest: Have you hung yourself yet?”.
We see Morden, a third-rate baddie, a nobody, who is transformed by a Nazi scientist (usual comic book trope) into a crazed extra-dimensional entity, Mr. Nobody, who has the ability to drain the sanity from others, along with other capabilities yet to be explored. He holds a serious grudge against the Niles Caulder.
Niles has spent years investigating the weird and wonderful around the world, becoming a carer for those with special abilities, wanting to give them a second chance. The pilot delves into that with the backstories of Cliff, Rita and Larry. Before Crazy Jane rocks up and convinces the team to visit the local town whilst the Chief is away on work related business.
However, everything that can go wrong, does! The Chief returns after the chaos and explains that their little field trip has serious consequences, which leads the team to their first encounter with the mysterious Mr. Nobody and the disappearance of the Chief.
The pilot ends with a fantastic WTF moment, when a donkey farts and in its gassy green mist appears the saying “The Mind Is The Limit” – referencing a quote Mr. Nobody repeatedly said during the Nazi experiment.
Doom Patrol is aesthetically pleasing and beautifully shot. With filming of the series in Georgia, it’s a vast improvement form all the other DC Shows which are typically shot in Vancouver, Canada. The practical costumes for Robotman and Negative Man work well along with the CGI for used for Elasti-Woman and Crazy Jane.
I particularly like that the show has introduced the seasons big bad in Mr. Nobody straight from the get go along with core team. They know which direction they’re looking to take this series in, they probably learned from the mistakes made with Titans, which felt all over the place after starting out strong.
In the backdoor pilot both Robotman and Negative Man were standouts, and they continue that here. The addition of Crazy Jane is certainly going to liven things up, Guerrero does a good job at pulling off all those personalities, reminds me a bit of James McAvoy in Split. Elasti-Woman has a scene, which pay homage to The Blob, I can’t wait for others to see how good this is. The characters are a joy to watch, and their interactions with each other are a huge part of the shows charm. The recasting of Niles was also a wise choice, I never liked Bruno Bichir’s take, Timothy Dalton is definitely an improvement in all areas. Mr. Nobody is going to be an exciting villain, he’s unpredictable and we only scratch the surface of his powers. I have no doubt’s that he will go on to become a fan favourite.
Cyborg aka Victor Stone (Jovian Wade) doesn’t make an appearance in the first episode.
The pilot is fantastic, and I’m excited to see where the show will go from here, there are a few twists that will surprise fans. Doom Patrol has so much potential, it’s funny, dark and meta all rolled up into one. If you’re not a fan of any other DC show currently, I would say give this a chance as there is nothing else like it on TV. I just want to see more.
Doom Patrol will steam on the DC Universe and will premiere Friday 15th February.
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