They did it. The bastards actually fucking did it. They made a Doom Patrol show and it’s goddamn glorious.
First off, I want to say that my initial misgivings were completely wrong: yes, the show is pretty meta and, well, gets even more cheeky than you can sometimes handle (blargh to Mr. Nobody’s “The critics are going to hate this show” line), but it’s also nicely balanced out by how much the show gets us to care about the characters. None of them are perfect, but they are all given extensive flashbacks and looks into their past so that we understand them and what they are going through. Especially Cliff Steele — god does Brendan Fraser kill it as Cliff, both pre-Robotman and just as his voice. Who knew that just hearing Brendan Fraser could be soothing?
And then there’s Crazy Jane. I was worried that they might either tone down her DID or turn it to eleven, making her pure crazy, but they don’t. She’s like how she is in the comics: she has good days and bad days. And then there’s the scene — the scene that comes directly from Grant Morrison’s comic, with Jane painting in the rain and Cliff saying, “Come on in out the rain.” The show realized it needed that scene because that scene was the heart of the Doom Patrol.
I love April Bowlby’s ‘50s acting. I love Matt Bomer acting sardonic about, well, everything. I love all the tweaks they did to their origin stories, which all make perfect sense for the show, but also provide us with overarching mystery, like: how old, exactly, is the Chief? What has he been doing to get such weird enemies like Mr. Nobody? In the comic, he made the Doom Patrol into a superhero team, but in the show, he seems to regard them as more as group therapy. (Also, Timothy Dalton as the Chief is goddamn amazing, but I knew he would be — somehow, he makes the Chief seem less sinister than before even though we know he’s holding back information from everyone.)
Also, there’s a farting donkey. Who can somehow fart messages into the air.
If you are a fan of the Doom Patrol or of weird superheroes in general, watch this show. If you’ve already seen it, what did you think?