Doom Patrol season 2 review: still one of the best superhero shows on TV

[[[[Ed. Note: This Doom Patrol season 2 review includes spoilers for season 1.]

In quality, 2019 Doom patrol The TV series was there with HBO Watchers. His comic book father debuted in 1963 as an uglier and more misanthropic version of Marvel. X Men – until Grant Morrison and Richard Case’s acclaimed 1980s career in the series took that idea on and followed through, leading the group of superhero misfits in a series of surreal adventures. the Doom patrol The television series took that idea and ran even further, creating something that was stranger, more colorful, and much, much more joyously cheerful than what the public had seen on television or mass-market superhero movies to date.

Unfortunately, it was only available to DC Universe subscribers. But with the show’s second season launching on DC Universe and the high-profile HBO Max this week, it’s worth asking: Can you Doom patrol continue like this for the second year in a row?

Judging from the first three episodes of the season, the answer is: “Well … a bit. “

Let’s start with what is missing in the second season, because that answer is simultaneously simple and a little more complex. It is no surprise to anyone who has seen Doom patrol season 1 that Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) would not be present this year. However, the show suffers from its absence; Not only was it one of the show’s most obviously amusing elements, but without its self-aware narration and its constant aim at the show’s claim and tendency toward emotional melodrama, what remains is … the claim and the trend from the program to emotional melodrama.

Not that those are necessarily bad things. Taking the lead on his comic book inspiration, Doom patrol He’s as interested in the inner lives of his characters as he is in more traditional stories of superpowers, fights, and how the two collide for an endless show. When it comes to constantly using increased powers and abilities as a substitute for emotional states, he falls short of the longtime champion of that particular metaphor, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Timothy Dalton as the Head of the Doom Patrol who uses wheelchairs.

Image: Warner Bros. TV

If anything, the metaphor was only amplified in the opening episodes of the new season, with a renewed emphasis on the trauma of the characters and their emotional needs over the expected episodic demands of a superhero show. What appears to be the plot A of each episode? Can the group be restored to full size after last season’s cliffhanger? Can the team find the rare mineral that the Boss needs? – take a clear back seat of what goes on inside the characters’ heads, literally in the case of Crazy Jane (Diane Guererro) and newcomer Dorothy Spinner (Abigail Shapiro).

The show’s focus on the emotional states of its characters pays off, and is helpful in differentiating Doom patrol of the countless other superhero movies and shows out there. But for every successful zinger about shared psychological pain, no entirely It would be a bad thing if the creators paid a little more attention to the plot from time to time. Pacing and structure are recurring issues in the first three episodes of season 2 in a way that wasn’t the case in the show’s debut year, in large part because Alan Tudyk was there to provide curt commentary and quick escapes from the scenes before things went too far. Away on the way to the navel.

There’s also the problem that, even considering the last episode, it reveals that the Chief (Timothy Dalton) was responsible for the accidents that turned Cliff (voiced by Brendan Fraser), Rita (April Bowlby, easily the underrated highlight of the show) et al In the self-described monsters that they are, each of the main characters has already completed their emotional journeys. There are subplots surrounding how Larry (Matt Bomer) feels his absence from their children’s lives as they get older, or Rita’s desire to become a superhero, but at this stage of the season, they feel disappointed and unnecessary, especially compared to what happens in other places at the same time

Fortunately, not everything is second-year depression. As dark as the season premiere of “Fun Size Patrol”, the show’s humor returns to the fore in “Tyme Patrol”, the second episode, with a centerpiece that also restores some of the quality of the camp that made the first year was so special. It is true that a confrontation with a scientist who travels in time permanently trapped in a disco in the 1970s is not quite everyone’s favorite transgender sensitive street comeback, but Danny the Street is still Danny the Brick, and he almost guarantees he’ll be back in no time.

Despite the plot imbalances, the show’s character’s work remains perfect, with showrunner Jeremy Carver and his writers managing to find new depth and connections to characters seemingly exhausted decades ago in their comic book incarnations – there are parallels between Jane. and Dorothy here who feels completely fresh, while also finding ways to explore and expand comic book stories that first appeared more than a quarter of a century ago.

Cyborg, Negative Man, Robotman, Rita Farr, Crazy Jane, Danny the Brick, Dorothy Spinner and the Boss in a poster for season 2 of Doom Patrol.

Image: Warner Bros. TV

And the cast is as good as ever. Bowlby’s uptight Rita is still a favorite, but everyone involved offers a good job and seems to be enjoying doing it. There is a particular joy in Brendan Fraser’s increasingly frustrated exclamations as Cliff that is almost impossible to describe, and Jane de Guerrero remains charmingly subtle even as her story demands more and more of her transformations. Seeing Timothy Dalton have more opportunities to interact with the cast as Chief is equally exciting, as it is a scene where Dalton demonstrates an infallible ability to purposely sing badly, or demonstrates that no one can do that “Mrs. Brown, you have a lovely daughter “sounds good. (It is true that the case is not clear).

Doom patrolThe second season might not be as punctual as its debut year was. But based on its first three episodes, it’s still a show that zigzags where others lag behind, and manages to find new spaces and new stories to explore in a genre that feels increasingly crowded. Even if it missed a step when it starts again, it’s still one of the best superhero shows on TV, and worth watching.

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