Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray TV series).

I have to confess not to being sure how the Doom Patrol would transcribe from comicbook to TV series. The photographs make it pretty clear it would be a mix of the original team with Crazy Jane (actress Diane Guerrero) from a later grouping, so obviously had a dash of Grant Morrison in the mix. The origins of Cliff Steele aka Robot-Man (actor Brendon Fraser/body Riley Shanahan) and Larry Trainor aka Negative Man (actor Matt Boner/body Matthew Zak) have a bit more tragedy added to them.

To some extent, Rita Farr (actress April Bowlby) aka Elasti-Girl/Woman follows the traditional origin except she should be called enlarged puddle-girl, having more similarities with…er…no one really, not enlargement of body parts or size. They literally do nothing but hang around the Chief, Niles Caulder (actor Timothy Dalton), house for 30 years before realising they need to do something with their lives. More so when Caulder is lost in a whirlwind cauldron that took out the nearby town of Cloverton.

Crazy Jane attempts to rescue him but is also lost until she is evicted out of a donkey’s rear. Eventually, the whole town returns. Expect surreal as a matter of course. More so, as Victor Stone aka Cyborg (actor Jovian Wade) and his dad, Silas (actor Phil Morris), are added to the mix.

The stories were coasting along to number five, Doom Patrol Patrol’ which brought together elements of the second Doom Patrol from the 1970s comicbooks and then, WOW! It really hits the mark. Much of it is character study than super-heroics but it hits with a bang merging at least 3 versions of the Doom Patrol and adding some depth to the original characters that wasn’t there in the first place but reasonably plausible. There are frequent flashbacks to their earlier lives, elements moving away from the simple origins of the 1960s but using and embellishing them. None of them are particular super-heroic but clearly human with their own problems. Importantly, it is as intriguing as it is fun.

The twist in episode 12, shows the problem of encountering someone who can physically twist reality and the repetitions are a good twist. Mr. Nobody/Eric Morden (actor Alan Tudyk) has been turning up from time to time but how much he has been influencing things is only realised in the last few episodes. So much is spoiler.

The Doom Patrol is portrayed as a dysfunctional super-team which does make me wonder why no one has thought of doing the Inferior Five as, based off this series, they could probably pull it off and have more comic moments.

Something that is odd is having two characters, Cliff Steele and Larry Trainor, who have immobilised features and certainly can’t see their mouths working although it does get away with it. Lip-sync not required although you do have to ask how Trainor eats, unless he retreats to his room.

Although Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani, the original creators of the Doom Patrol are noted in the opening credits, it’s a shame that Joe Staton, Paul Kupperberg and most certainly Grant Morrison weren’t included when so much of the second and third versions are included. If you know your history of the comicbook Doom Patrol, then there are so many details used that it becomes a delight. Watch out for Flex Mentallo and Danny the Street. The performances of the cast are a good match and oddly endearing.

The extras are confined to 8 deleted scenes, a 5 minute gag reel where the best bit is seeing the cast dancing on the lawn and ‘Come Visit Georgia’, 5 minutes looking at how the production team turned a town into Cloverton, amongst others.

The biggest drawback is that both the blu-ray and DVD are American region only and no indication when the European region is released. This is one series that should have had a global release. If you have a multi-region blu-ray player that isn’t a problem but that’s the only blemish. Can’t wait for the second season and, hopefully, the Brotherhood Of Evil, which got mentioned a couple times.

My enthusiasm should speak for itself. ‘Doom Patrol’ hits so many marks that I came away a happy fan. Watch when you can.

GF Willmetts

March 2020

(blu-ray: Region A: pub: Warner Bros, 3 blu-ray disks 775 minutes 15 * 52 minute episodes with a few extras. Price: about £22.00 (UK). ASIN: B07TNVX3MS)

cast: Diane Guerrero, April Bowlby, Matt Bomer, Brandon Fraser, Timothy Dalton, Jovian Wade and Alan Tudyk

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