In Doom Patrol, you can save the world no matter how broken you are

Most television shows are not weird enough. Weird things occur in them – everyone has seen Twin peaks and he loves a tribute, but really weird TV shows are weird. Rarer still are shows like Doom patrol, a series that is really strange and unexpected at all times, but is also as interested in empathy as it is to get sick or make you laugh. Calling it a “superhero show” feels like bad service; It’s more like a therapy featuring superheroes as well as cockroaches and paintings that people eat.

Doom patrol He returns this week for a second season after jumping to HBO Max from his previous home on the DC Universe app (where it can still be streamed), and features one of the most unusual protagonist characters you’ll see on any show, much less a comic.

In the Dool Patrol of the same name, there is Cliff Steele, a former runner with his brain now in a robot body (the runner is played by Brendan Fraser, the robot body by Riley Shanahan); Jane, a system of 64 different personalities, each with their own superpower (most are played by Diane Guerrero); Rita Farr, a golden age actress whose body can be turned into a goop (played by April Bowlby); Larry Trainor, a horribly marked pilot who shares his body with a “negative energy spirit” (played by Matt Bomer in voice and flashbacks, and Matthew Zuk in his fully bandaged suit); and Vic “Cyborg” Stone, an aspiring superhero who became part of the machine after an accident (played by Joivan Wade).

This gang of misfits has been rounded up by Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton), who is immediately kidnapped by the mysterious and seemingly all-powerful Mr. Nobody. Despite their clear lack of chemistry and very few noble intentions, the ad-hoc team embarks on a mission to find the man who united them, encountering all sorts of strange threats along the way.

The tone of the elevator for the Doom patrol the comic is that they are the “weirdest superheroes in the world”, and as they were created by Bob Haney, Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani in the 1960s, which mostly meant a team of outcasts that the outside world regarded as ” monsters “facing the strangest villains. its creators could dream, like Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, a type that was part plant, part rock and part dinosaur. the Doom patrol The TV show has many of those classic comics in its DNA, but it takes the major cues from comic book reinvention in the late 1980s by writer Grant Morrison and artist Richard Case, an acclaimed series of stories that led to the team. in a surreal direction, with Dada villains who wanted to immerse the world in the absurd and characters like Danny The Street, an intelligent non-binary apple that travels from town to town.

The result is a program that is perhaps the most beautiful disaster on television. Broken people who barely understand each other face incomprehensibly strange threats. Then they must overcome these threats by understanding themselves and others better, even if they don’t necessarily get along, or if the limits of good taste are far behind. (Avoiding a particular apocalypse involves being eaten by a talking giant cockroach, and convincing it that it’s really horny for a similar giant rat. Another involves a pocket dimension in a donkey’s ass.)

A bunch of Doom patrol, especially in the first two episodes, is misleading in how it is delivered dead Pool-Self-conscious antics style. Its main antagonist, Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk), is an unpleasant being who exists beyond time and space and is aware that he is in a streaming television program, and will not hesitate to tell you when he sees a trope deployed or avoided. But like most of its characters, who are abrasive and annoying to avoid having to be vulnerable, the show finally opens to reveal heartbreak and pain and show what it’s like to do the difficult job of overcoming it.

It’s a story about misfits who is actually interested in what makes people marginalized, not just as an excuse for abrasive characters and sharp pranks. All the characters in the show are on the outskirts of society and could not be accepted if they wanted, not with the world as it is now. They are not optimistic, a better world is not likely to come, but they can do their part to prevent it from worsening and seek out others like them whom society has deemed too damaged to be worthwhile.

Sure, there are fights in Doom patrol – big, ridiculous fights, with killers made from letters that people never send, or butts full of teeth, or strange cultists from a world of snow globes, but fighting is never the answer. Speaking it is. Loving yourself is. Acceptance is the line that all Doom Patrol members try to clear, but can never reach. That is fine though. Each time, they get a little closer.

Another simpler reason to enjoy Doom patrol is that he completely throws himself into the absurdity exclusive to comics at its best. The comics make up the structure of the show: the characters travel to a pocket dimension hidden in the blank space between the panels of a comic, another character comes directly from one, and the past, present and future exist side by side .

Season 1 topped a lackluster premiere to become a show where anything can happen, slowly building the team before pulling the rug out from under them in an ending that opened a gap between the crew. The second season continues to come with a premiere that begins immediately after that, featuring the team in a Darling I shrugged the kidsadventure style, trying to help a girl whose imaginary friends can lead a terrifying life.

Superhero fiction is obsessed with the idea of ​​”saving the world,” and that saving usually comes down to hitting the right people. Doom patrol you think it’s more difficult than that. Someone is always hurt, always overlooked, always losing the support they need. People who help the broken are also broken. These are heroes who don’t know what a better world is like, they’re not sure what better version of themselves It seems. But they do know what is honest. That is something they can work on. This is how they can help everyone.