The Doom Patrol live action series that launched on the DC universe App. this year is a mix of the classic series and Grant Morrison’s groundbreaking run. The team consists of the original members – Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl, and the Chief, but also includes Crazy Jane from Morrison’s run on the title. In addition, Cyborg, from the Teen Titans and the Justice League, is a loose member as well.
The series’ first season is both an origin story and a whacked out, Doom Patrol style adventure. The Chief is abducted by the villainous Mr. Nobody, leaving the others to fend for themselves. Their first outing as superheroes in an attempt to save the town is less than successful. Cyborg, hearing about the destruction of the town, arrives to help them and together they set out to find the Chief.
Brendan Fraser’s performance as Robotman is a powerful one. He manages to capture the heart of Cliffe Steel (aka Robotman) and the emotionally powerful, tragic element of the character’s life. April Bowlby is simply amazing as Rita Farr (aka Elasti-girl). She not only looks like Rita stepped off the page of a Doom Patrol comic but her voice and mannerisms are spot on as well. Alan Tudyk of Firefly fame captures the insanity and fun of the show’s villain, Mr. Nobody.
While there are some changes from the source material, the Doom Patrol remains pretty true to Grant Morrison’s original story lines. Perhaps the best change is Rita Farr’s powers as Elasti-girl. Where the series begins, she hasn’t learned to use them and more often than not turns into an amorphous blob of living flesh when she gets emotionally upset. This take on the character’s powers is pure genius and allows Doom Patrol fans to watch Rita Farr grow into what she is meant to be.
The one huge drawback, however, is the over the top cursing. The Doom Patrol as a comic always pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable and strove to be offensive in a manner that made the reader question things and think. However in the show, the cursing is overdone to the point of being unrealistic and immature. It detracts from the more powerful moments of the show and even leaves viewers feeling like the writers are only trying to appeal to a teenage audience. That said, the Doom Patrol is still worth watching if you’re a fan of the characters and the comics, providing you can endure it.