Doom Patrol was adapted for TV from the DC Comic series of the same name, created by writers Arnold Drake, Bob Haney, and artist Bruno Premiani. The Max original is a reimagined look at an unconventional group of superheroes, Robotman (Cliff Steele), Negative Man (Larry Trainor), Elasti-Woman (Rita Farr), and Crazy Jane, all led by modern-day mad scientist Niles Caulder (The Chief).
The series premiered on February 15, 2019, originally for the DC Universe streaming service. It later moved to HBO Max, with both streaming services releasing episodes and later exclusively on HBO Max.
Doom Patrol succeeds today where shows like Star Trek TNG and X-Men (The Animated Series) left off in the 1990s and early 2000s. These shows educated viewers by raising awareness on difficult topics and didn't shy away from real issues past and present. The Star Trek franchise has always had a core message for viewers that discussed acceptance and understanding of different cultures.
X-Men (The Animated Series) focused on how we (as people) deal with hatred, prejudices, and discrimination. What Doom Patrol's message does brilliantly is it turns the focus back onto the individual character.
Front and center in each episode are the different mental health struggles people suffer from, creating a greater connection to the story and characters in this series. The characters themselves range from young adults to middle age, and each at some point suffered a real tragedy that would gravely affect any average human. While some superhero shows will try to shock viewers with a what if the hero turned evil, Doom Patrol offers a different perspective.
What if the hero with the superpowers didn't feel so super? These unique special abilities do very little to protect against mental health issues. This is not the only thing that makes Doom Patrol a great relatable show.
"The worst thing about not knowing your own past is that you’re doomed to repeat it." - Mr. Nobody
Season 1 Episode 2
“Don’t waste a goddamn minute, 'cause you never know when your time is up”
“Here’s to the good things that make no sense.” - Clara
Season 1 Episode 11
People who see their abilities as deformities, physically transformed by tragic accidents, and who because they are different feel forced to live in seclusion. Each of these stories (to quote Spock) is fascinating. Elasti-Girl (Rita Farr) recites the name of a person she no longer wishes to be in order to maintain her shape.
Cyborg (Victor Stone), suffering from PTSD, must live with the fact that he caused his mother's death and struggles to maintain a trusting relationship with an overbearing father. Crazy Jane shares her body and brain with sixty-three (different) personalities, each with their own abilities.
This looks nothing like the superpowers the Justice League members display. But who cares about the powers, when the back story of each of these individuals is so damn interesting. We watch as they are learning to adjust their situations and attempt to live what they perceive to be normal lives even as they find out with each positive step forward darker secrets about their own past.
Negative-Man (Larry Trainor) is battling a multitude of issues within himself. Trainor merges with an alien known as Negative-Man and is (horribly) burned in the process. Before the accident, he was involved in a strained love affair and raised two kids with his loving but neglected wife. The alien inside Trainor forces him to relive and see how his choices affected those he loved.
Unlike Star Trek's Data, who never could taste, feel, or smell until much later in the series, Cliff Steele, A.K.A. Robotman, knew what it meant to have these simple abilities. Now a living brain inside of a machine, all that's left, are memories of what it meant to taste food, smell perfume, and feel the touch of his daughter's hand. It sounds like a lesson out of a Twilight Zone episode.
The writers and actors made this character's story the scariest. There are moments where it feels like Cliff's soul is trapped, without the ability to release emotion through expression, touch, or something as simple as crying. I never thought about the possible downside of transferring human consciousness into a machine. Is it still human consciousness without any emotional abilities?
What impressed me most is that viewers are (really given) a chance to build connections with the characters. A funny, beautiful, sad, and weird TV show that deals with child abuse, molestation, survivor's guilt, death, depression, and PTSD. How these characters develop and form a team with all these issues completely captivated me.
The kid in me loved all the gross scenes, and my inner nerd loved the weird superpowers and funny villains. I was emotionally moved by these heroes' struggles, beautifully told throughout the first season. The relationship between Larry Trainor and John Bowers was a heart-wrenching romance to watch. My reaction to Larry and John's story surprised me because I did not realize that I was so emotionally invested.
Dr. Harrison, one of the 64 personalities within Crazy Jane, stops to listen to her disciple's ideas and opinions. A story where a soon-to-be hero listens to the thoughts and ideas of ordinary people. The supervillain, Mr. Nobody, described her actions perfectly as "utterly and marvelously insane."
We need more Dr. Harrisons in this world. Admiral Whiskers (a rat) invading Cliff Steele's body is a perfect metaphor for the little things in life that unexpectedly drive us all crazy. The strangest parts of this story as it unfolds will grab your attention and provoke thought.
"Control is a weapon for the fascists" - Jane
Season 1 Episode 3
"You can’t live for other people, you have to be true to yourself."
- Larry Trainor
Season 1 Episode 4
"Once upon a time, my world was big and filled with monsters. But now the world is small… And I am the monster." - Dr. Harrison/Jane/The 64
Season 1 Episode 5
Doom Patrol is not the typical WB/CW teenage angst superhero show. It's filled with great comedic moments and action scenes. It has dramatic topics that enhance the viewer's connection to the story and characters. Set designs and technology used created beautiful scenes in each episode.
The main actors and guest stars perform beautifully together. A message about needing to heal mentally, knowing your worth, and finding a community of people who will respect, love, and accept you as a person, is the message that echoes throughout this first season.
This world… is a beautiful, horrible place. It’s spectacular. You don’t need the burden of ending it. - Rita Season
1 Episode 4
"Some girls may need to play little games. I’m a woman. I know what I want, and I’m not afraid to say it."
Season 1 Episode 6
We can’t keep running from Mr. Nobody. A bully only has power over you if you give it to him. - Rita Season
1 Episode 13
"I‘m sick of having someone else tell my story. Badly, I might add. Therefore, I shall be narrating my own tale from now on." - Rita
Season 1 Episode 13
"I know what it’s like to be a nobody. But as bad as that felt, I’d rather be a nobody than nothing. And that is exactly what you’re going to be if you don’t stop feeling sorry for yourself." - Rita
Season 1 Episode 15
"If you give up now, your story is a forgettable, disappointing defeat, but if you take up your narration once again, you can turn your tale into something beloved by all, told and retold time after time. A comeback." - Rita
Season 1 Episode 15
“Normal ain’t nothing but a state of mind."
- Ms. Maura Lee Karupt
Season 1 Episode 8
I am proud of the person I see in the mirror. My face is Beat. My look is flawless, and I am dusted from head to toe. The only thing I am not is scared of you. - Ms. Maura Lee Karupt
Season 1 Episode 8
"We have to own our mistakes no matter how terrible."
Edward Asner/Hospital Patient
Season 1 Episode 13
I don't want these characters to be called 'superheroes' because the connection to them and the story feels stronger without that heavily used and abused title. These DC Comic characters don't feel out of reach. Doom Patrol is a group of people who use their strange abilities to help others in need.
That's it, no title, just a description of a group of people learning to deal with life. You need to see Doom Patrol! Speak up for the showrunners, writers, actors, set designers, and everyone else working hard on this show. See it because it's that good and because this story deserves your voice. It was a great show that ended too soon and should not be forgotten.
I need to thank @TribeOfPug (On Twitter), TV and Streaming Shows have been created so quickly lately that I would have missed this one if not for the recommendation. I'm adding this show to my favorite reruns because I know I will be watching it again, but it still hurts that series ended so soon.
You made it this far, thanks for reading, if you watched the series, leave a comment below, and let me know your thoughts on DC Comics Doom Patrol.
Keep It Interesting and Stay Channel Surfing - Damian
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