Friday, February 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'Doom Patrol' - The Origin Stories of the Doom Patrol Are Revealed as They Rally Together for a New Fight in 'Pilot'

DC Universe's Doom Patrol - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

Tired of being stuck in Doom Manor, the team decides to visit the local town while The Chief is away. However, this seemingly harmless field trip leads to some grave consequences, including an encounter with the mysterious and powerful Mr. Nobody.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of DC Universe's Doom Patrol.

"Pilot" was written by Jeremy Carter and directed by Glen Winter

DC Universe has only existed for six months now. The new drama Doom Patrol marks only its second original scripted series launch as well. Titans proved to be enough of a success to trigger a second season renewal. However, the future of the streaming service may still be questionable because of WarnerMedia's overall plans for the marketplace. But that's speculation for the future. Right now, it's simply better to talk about the quality of the product. Doom Patrol may have featured some of its characters during the first season of Titans. However, it never comes across as an actual spinoff where information is required about what happened in that other show. This is a very expositional pilot. It spans numerous decades to tell the stories of the four central heroes who make up the Doom Patrol. Some of them are prioritized more than others. Brendan Fraser's Cliff is the one actually given a tragic backstory of a life that has been lost because of his horrifying accident. He is in pain from the agony of remembering what exactly happened and what became of his family as a result. However, it's also fascinating how Timothy Dalton's Chief is mostly trying to save lives through innovation without any ulterior motives of creating a superhero team. He understands that the world is a dangerous and complex place. He knows that the people at Doom Manor are special because of the abilities they have. He never sees them as monsters. And yet, he's not training them so that they are masters of the powers they have. With Cliff, it's all about the rehabilitation. He has to find the strength to nod his head and walk up some stairs. He can no longer feel pain but he's in agony over learning that his daughter grew up with no parents and he was robbed of the chance of reuniting with her. The Chief took that decision away from him by saying that she was dead. That's proof that the Chief is lying to the team about all that he knows about this world and the threats that they face. He warns them not to go into town. Crazy Jane makes the suggestion that it would be a fun outing while he's away on his travels. It quickly turns disastrous though. That sequence proves that these people really have no control over their powers. Jane's personality shifts only complicate the situation more when the police start to question her. Rita's need to be physically attractive with a pure legacy makes her literally decay into a gigantic mass once she faces the slightest criticism. And Larry believes that he has no control over how the world sees him as someone with unnatural tendencies. Sure, it's complicated that the show uses Larry's closeted identity to tell a more complex story about Larry's insecurities about people looking at him and judging him. It's a byproduct of the time he came from. However, he doesn't have any lingering concerns about the family he left behind following his accident. He apparently dealt with all those concerns before Cliff joined the team. Cliff is the one who can rally everyone together when a threat appears in the town. He saves a school bus of children from Rita. She just wants to go home. However, this outing has compromised all of them. Not a whole lot is explained about Alan Tudyk's Mr. Nobody. He too has been experimented on and given incredible powers. He clearly knows how to use them which is bound to send this entire world into chaos. For as much exposition as there is in this premiere, it's still a little confusing regarding what's actually going on. There is a farting donkey after all. But that insane and crazy energy helps give the show an inspired tone as well which is a welcome change of pace in this particular genre.