Doom Patrol Review: Mocking Superheroes, But Never Alone


A few seconds after the start of the DC Universe session Condemn PatrolMr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk), narrator, villain of the show, chuckles: "More superheroes of television, everything the world needs." He is, rightly, completely exhausted.

Beyond Marvel's Netflix shows, her ABC series, her Hulu series, her upcoming Disney, Fox and FX streaming series X Men DC's Arrowverse, there are hundreds of hours of superheroes to do what they have on TV, not to mention their big screen, big budget counterparts. Doom Patrol, which debuts today on the DC Universe broadcast platform, is in itself a spin-off of Titans, another program on a streaming service that almost nobody has subscribed. What are we doing even more here?

But Doom Patrol is kind of funny enough The show follows the team of unsuitable superheroes trying to protect a small town. There is Robotman (voiced by Brendan Fraser), the brain of a racing driver named Cliff Steele, plunged into a bulky metal body. There is Negative Man (voiced by Matt Bomer), a World War II pilot possessed by a nebulous energy being and transformed into a deeply worried version of the Invisible Man. There is Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), a scary actress of the 50s who gelatinizes in the face of stress. And there's Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), who has a super different power for each of her 64 personalities.

These are all rather generic and well-known origin stories, but Doom Patrol manages to get through the rhythms once again, mainly by playing them for comedy: in the first five minutes of the show, we see Fraser as a raised and refined version of Robotman in flashback, dressed in his royal outdoors of the years 80 his nanny. (This could be enough to justify Doom PatrolThe existence of events that give the team its powers is itself depressing and banal: Elastigirl falls by a sidewalk and bangs his head, Robotman is caught in a car accident during a fight with his wife, Negative Man crashes a flight. The members of Doom Patrol are essentially the products of horrific workplace injuries.

This is part of Doom PatrolThe wider desire to make jokes, which allows him to avoid the seriousness of many properties of superheroes. (Even all the ribbing in your average Marvel movie is still used with the ultimate goal of creating a myth.) That's certainly part of the formula. Doom Patrol s playing with – if there is a creative decision more reliable than a superhero trick, it's mocking the superheroes. But rather than going forward with the clumsiness of something like dead Pool, Legends of tomorrow, or even Teenage Titans are going, Doom Patrol is throwing itself into a sort of breakup of opera, as a version of Suicide team where everyone is a little more self-conscious but just as deadly serious.

The stories of superheroes are getting bigger and even the cases where they plunge completely into the narrative fantasy rest on a degree of gravity: Consider every photo of Willem Dafoe solemnly tilting his head. Aquaman, easily the highlights of a wonderfully ridiculous movie. But without immediate access to Willem Dafoe's aura, how is television supposed to react?

Doom Patrol circumvents this problem mainly by using the vocal talents of his big stars. The Robotman robot of Fraser is physically played by Riley Shanahan, while the negative man of Bomer is played by Matthew Zuk. At least in the pilot project, Bomer and Fraser appear only for brief flashbacks describing the bodies of the characters before their transformations. As Dr. Niles Caulder, Timothy Dalton seems ready to present himself a few minutes every two episodes before disappearing in the sixth season of Penny Dreadful of my dreams. This decision minimizes the characters a bit, but that's part of the joke.

In this vein, Doom PatrolThe main force of recognizes a fundamental truth of superhero stories: The villain is often, if not always, more interesting than the hero. In this case, it is Alan Tudyk in the role of Mr. Nobody, a man to whom Nazi science gives the power to distort reality. Although we do not know the full extent of these powers, at least one of Mr. Nobody's abilities sucks the attention of other characters – Tudyk recounts Doom Patrol, and almost everything in the series happens on its terms. He is also aware of the fictional nature of the series.

At one point, Dr. Caulder asks who he is talking to and Tudyk responds, "Grant Morrison fans, Reddit trolls with DC subscriptions and the three new fans who stayed after the donkey party." flashing narration type has been done before, but if Alan Tudyk is making fun of the madness of your series, you can relax.

More than that, the gags emphasize what could be Doom PatrolThe greatest strength, or greatest weakness, is more like a regular TV show than an attempt to tell a story about superheroes. None of the members of the team knows how to use his powers. Instead, the cursed patrol has, in a way, spent decades hidden in their hiding place. (With the possible exception of Crazy Jane, none of the team members appears to be aging.) When the super-unsuited team of banned superheroes are forced to take action to save people, the driver's highlight is entirely motivated by members of Doom Patrol. is; When Elasti-Woman panics, she goes to great lengths and threatens to consume the main street of the city. Their most impressive use of super powers is just Robotman who picks up a stretch of road to stop him.

In addition to costumes, Doom Patrol could be any other group of conscientiously "weird" television characters, living in an idyllic, comical city that resembles a soundscape and reproduces a classic 1950s American vibe with strangely clean customers. . and readers. (We have not seen a drive-in yet, but I'm sure they exist.) That's quite logical: the creator of the series, Jeremy Carver, spent a few years working on Supernatural, another series that uses all its strange signs of gender in the service of a soapy, Byzantine story and yet, improbably rooted. Doom Patrol It will probably not be fourteen seasons of drama series at Winchester, but I will be happy if space is enough to create a family as strange as ever.

Eric Thurm is the founder, facilitator and general manager of Drunk Education, which started as a party at his home and to which many people had to be trapped. He is also a writer whose work has been published in GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club, and other publications, and the author of a book on board games published by NYU Press in 2019.

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