DC Universe is off to an amazing start with Titans and Doom Patrol. Readers and podcast listeners are aware that I am a big fan of Titans and DC in general. Having no familiarity (other than the Doom Patrol episode of Titans) with the titular group of heroes, I didn’t know what to expect going in. What we got was a hilarious, character driven, superhero dramedy that is almost as self aware as Deadpool and brings life to no name characters in a way that Guardians of the Galaxy did for those characters.
The pilot sets the tone immediately with Mr. Nobody narrating the series and letting us know that he knows it is a story. He makes quips about viewers not wanting to watch another superhero story and sets the mood so perfectly for what the show is going to be. After watching the Titans episode, I was skeptical about the show as that episode was easily my least favorite of the season. The writers absolutely changed things up before Doom Patrol came out. I went back to the Doom Patrol Titans episode earlier this week after freshly finishing Doom Patrol and the characters hardly resemble the fully fleshed out versions we get from this show.
Cliff AKA RobotMan (Brendan Fraser) steals each scene he is in to the point that I was always excited to see him on screen. While Cliff is my favorite, one of the best aspects of the entire show is how well each character is fleshed out. There is an episode dedicated to each member of the team that allows the viewers to get to know them better. Seeing Larry’s background of growing up as a gay man in the 50’s, Rita being persecuted by severe sexism in the film industry, Jane and her internal demons, and Cyborg with all his physical and emotional trauma as a result of his accident are some of the greatest moments in superhero television. I feel like I truly got to know the characters over the course of its 15 episodes. Over the last 10 years we have seen a LOT of hero based content from DC, Marvel and more. There are a lot of action heavy sequences and special effects in all of these various movies and TV shows. Doom Patrol certainly has its share of action and special effects but it doesn’t lean on it. The show is rooted in developing characters and telling a story that is dictated by the relationships of those characters.
Take the driving force behind the series which is to track down Niles Caulder AKA Chief who was abducted by the sinister Mr. Nobody. We get a deep look into their history with Niles as well as the history between Mr. Nobody and Niles. These insights add such an enriching element to the story that I couldn’t help but be deeply invested in the outcome. Without spoilers, there are reveals throughout the story, first to the audience and later to the characters that threaten their relationships with Niles and each other. These reveals don’t take too long to arrive and they are earned. Too many shows these days rush or wait far too long to let a story arc come to fruition. Doom Patrol found the absolute perfect balance between letting us wait for some added suspense and drama without the audiance getting bored and forgetting about the plot point altogether.
Eric Morden, more commonly know as Mr. Nobody is one of the other highlights. The team members of the Doom Patrol are clearly the main characters but Nobody gets plenty of backstory and development as well. I wouldn’t say I ever felt sorry for him per se but we get some information that makes his character more relatable. His goals throughout the story are trivial and immature but make perfect sense for the character. Niles and Nobody’s history adds an extra layer to the drama of the show. As I mentioned earlier, Doom Patrol is a Dramedy above all. Alan Tudyk soars in this capacity bringing countless laugh out loud moments that established the tone of the story. Acting as narrator, Tudyk speak directly to the audience making us think he is completely in control of the entire narrative (which is he is for the most part). As a viewer, you get to know Nobody and wonder how the Doom Patrol is ever going to take him down considering the immense amount of power he wields.
I refuse to spoil the end of the series but it played out far differently than I could ever have anticipated. Full of twists and turns, scores of laughs and its fair share of drama, Doom Patrol is the best made show I have seen in a long time. While I prefer Titans purely due to the fact that it is more adrenaline pumping, Doom Patrol is the better produced, written, acted and directed show and it deserves the perfect rating I am giving today. While no movie or TV show is perfect, Doom Patrol comes about as close as it gets. If you haven’t checked out the DC Universe show yet, don’t wait. If all you have seen is the dismal representation in their Titans episode, please give them another chance. With news of the renewal for season 2, now is a great time to jump in and see what you are missing.
5 out of 5 Couch Cushions!!!