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Monday, September 30, 2019

DOOM PATROL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON -- Blu-ray/Digital Review by Porfle




(Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this blog post. The opinions I share are my own.)

It's binge-watching time again with another entertaining superhero-centric season set, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's 3-disc Blu-ray DOOM PATROL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON. 

I never read the classic DC comic book (which inspired Marvel's "The X-Men") as a kid, but these 15 episodes proved, for the most part anyway, to be some of the most fun, engaging, and utterly surreal superhero stuff I've seen on any screen.

The pilot/origin story tells how the seemingly benign but unfathomably eccentric wheelchair-bound scientist Dr. Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton) rescues various people from horrific physical injuries, mental and/or biological catastrophes (such as suddenly turning into a monster, etc.), rehabilitates them in some way, and assembles them into a motley gang of super-powered misfits who are expected to save the earth from all manner of extreme evil and paranormal calamity.



Thus, much of the action is as mental as it is physical, leading to some real "Twilight Zone"/"X-Files" type plots with the same dark, mind-expanding "sense of wonder" as a good Clive Barker novel but with a rich vein of often lowbrow humor running through all the deeply weird, sometimes downright bizarre character drama.

It's good to see Brendan Fraser (BLAST FROM THE PAST, THE MUMMY) with such a meaty role again even if he does resemble a robot version of Ron Perlman as former race car star Cliff Steele, whose horrific auto accident turns him--with Dr. Caulder's help--into the group's version of the Tin Man. Cliff's tragic loss of his wife and daughter add to the complexity of his character even though he provides most of the show's comic relief.

Joivan Wade plays Cyborg, the closest thing to a real "superhero" on the team (I couldn't figure out where I'd seen the character before until it finally hit me that he'd been one of the Teen Titans) but subject to his own problems due to technical malfunctions in his semi-robotic body in addition to doubts as to the motives of his own father (Phil Morris), a brilliant scientist who saved his life by making him less than human.


April Bowlby plays the former movie star who, through a weird on-set mishap, frequently turns into a pulsating blob against her will. Matt Bomer is Larry "Negative Man" Trainor, an aspiring Mercury astronaut who, during a high altitude test flight, picked up a strange alien hitchhiker now residing in his body and giving him unpredictable powers.

But most unpredictable of all is the volatile Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), an incredibly disturbed young woman with 64 different personalities, each with its own unbridled superpower. 

The result is a fascinating and mostly likable bunch of anti-heroes (with special emphasis on the "anti") who spend much of their time getting into each other heads (in one episode Cliff literally gets into Crazy Jane's head and almost doesn't make it back out) or trying to fathom the deep, dense mysteries of Dr. Caulder himself.


What looks at first as though it's going to be mostly comedic eventually becomes deeply moody and introspective, subjecting the characters to episodes of heavy soul-searching that often result in their acting out in reckless superhero style. 

Still, some of the episodes are heavy on the action, such as when an evil government organization bent on wiping out anything or anyone who's too "abnormal" captures our heroes in their underground bunker, which becomes the site of a battle royale.  During it all the team members are still learning how to use and control their own powers, often resulting in chaos.

Direction and photography are endlessly kinetic and eye-pleasing (especially in this pristine Blu-ray edition) and performances are uniformly fine, with Fraser, Dalton, and the versatile Guerrero as the standouts. Alan Tudyk (A KNIGHT'S TALE) tries his best as the team's arch-enemy, Mr. Nobody, but despite the show's intention to make him a strongly engaging (and funny) villain I never really found the character all that effective.


This is especially true in the season finale, a poorly-conceived episode that I prefer to consider apocryphal in relation to the mostly excellent fourteen episodes which precede it. When the team's final adventure of the season ultimately features a giant kaiju cockroach and a giant kaiju rat locked in a passionate French kiss in the middle of town with various members of the Doom Patrol crawling around in their stomachs, I found myself hoping that the writers would calm down, go back to the drawing board, and get a fresh start for season two. 

Be that as it may, the majority of episodes in DOOM PATROL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON are first-rate fantasy/sci-fi/superhero entertainment that's just brimming with fun. Rather than giving us one "origin story" episode followed by various adventures, the entire season is an ongoing origin tale where everything that happens is yet another step in the evolution of these reluctant heroes and their bumbling yet earnest efforts to save the universe.


DIGITAL FEATURES

    Gag Reel 

BLU-RAY & DVD FEATURES

    Gag Reel
    Deleted Scenes
    Featurette: "Come Visit Georgia"

15 ONE-HOUR EPISODES

    Pilot
    Donkey Patrol
    Puppet Patrol
    Cult Patrol
    Paw Patrol
    Doom Patrol Patrol
    Therapy Patrol
    Danny Patrol
    Jane Patrol
    Hair Patrol
    Frances Patrol
    Cyborg Patrol
    Flex Patrol
    Penultimate Patrol
    Ezekiel Patrol

Read our original coverage HERE

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Great 3 Stooges Running Gag: "Piano Lid Crunches Larry's Fingers"



Larry sits down to play the piano. 

(which he could really do in real life!)

But someone takes issue with this... ...and slams the lid on poor Larry's fingers. (threestooges.net)


DANCING LADY (1933)
LOCO BOY MAKES GOOD (1942)
BRIDELESS GROOM (1947)
HULA-LA-LA (1951)


 I neither own nor claim any rights to this material. Just having some fun with it. Thanks for watching!


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