“Doom Patrol” is an episodic, character-driven TV adventure into the real world of mental illness and redemption, mixed with the bizarre nature of comic book absurdity.
The series stars Branden Fraser, April Bowlby, Matt Bomer, Diane Guerrero, and Jovian Wade as a group of superpowered lowlifes who have been given a second chance at life and try their best to better themselves, while also overcoming their own flaws.
I don’t want to get too in-depth about each character, because there’s too much to go over, and it should be experienced, not told.
Unlike most superhero media today – which often seems to rely on needless setup for future franchise installments and a plethora of mindless CGI fight scenes, – “Doom Patrol” is all about interaction. The series tells a self-contained story about believing, improving, and embracing who you are, no matter how weird or broken you may be.
Countless superhero movies and shows have tried to pull off a realistic take on superheroes in the modern day, and many often miss that mark, coming across more as cynical, silly, or a bizarre mixture of the two – I’m looking at you, “Batman v Superman.”
“Doom Patrol” does the opposite.
It embraces the goofiness of the world it’s in. While it takes the characters’ flaws quite seriously, it knows not to take itself too seriously, by throwing the team into a snow globe to somehow stop an eye in the sky from destroying the world.
It knows exactly what it is.
Never have I seen a show quite like this, where it always feels as if I’m both being punched in the gut and tickled in the funny bone. I laughed, I cried, I sang along to the show performing its own cover of “People Like Us” by Kelly Clarkson, and yes, I did cry.
The show thrives on the idea that nothing is as simple as “good or bad.” Every character has their own unique tale of trauma and misfortune, some caused by themselves, others caused by the people around them – but they all have scars.
The viewer watches each of these characters make mistakes and bad decisions, and struggle to do the right thing – and it’s hard not to root for every one of them.
TV shows always have that one “fan-favorite character” who manages to steal the spotlight every time they’re on screen. With “Doom Patrol,” everyone’s the “fan-favorite.”
Despite the constant self-ridicule about its silly comic book style, everyone manages to talk and feel like real and relatable people.
Even the side characters get their fair share in the spotlight, and none of them are forgettable. It’s hard to forget characters like “Danny the Street,” a sentient genderqueer street, and “Flex Mentallo,” a proclaimed hero of the beach, who can warp reality with the flex of his muscles.
Each episode feels like its own story that can be watched by itself, but it all meshes together for one perfect seasonal arc.
I’ve finished this series five times over, and I’m still not sick of it. I just want to keep rewatching.
I don’t want it to end.
If I had one complaint about this series, it’s the exclusivity of the streaming service “DC Universe.” Thankfully, the first season will be released on Oct. 1, 2019, and will eventually come to HBO’s upcoming streaming service, “HBO Max.”
“Doom Patrol” isn’t just a good comic book turned TV show – it’s a fantastic TV show in its own right. It’s an example of what a comic book adaptation should strive to be. It’s weird, unique, and full of things to say.
Characters like Superman were created with the idea of being someone to look up to, and I’ve never felt that watching the dozens of comic book movies thrown at us over the decade.
However, “Doom Patrol,” despite trying to steer away from titles like “superhero,” left me feeling genuinely inspired.