With Warner Brothers executive still restricting which characters can be used on TV, perhaps now is the time to make a show using characters that will likely never appear on film. They are the world’s strangest heroes trapped in the most surreal storylines you can imagine: they are the Doom Patrol.
An hour-long action/adventure superhero show for the CW.
Doom Patrol is a show about the strangest superheroes who ever existed. It’s a show about a group of people who suffered through various forms of trauma and are now trying to deal with the aftermath of that trauma. It’s a show about the bond formed in hospitals and rehab groups between sufferers of sickness and mental illness. It has action and adventure, yes, but it is the characters that make the show, that set the show on its course. It will always come back to the characters, to show them as they try to overcome their individual traumas with various degrees of success.
The main point of view character in Doom Patrol is Cliff Steele, a race car driver who suffers a catastrophic crash in the first scene of the show. After the crash, he wakes up in a hospital bed, seemingly unharmed, but soon learns that his body was broken beyond repair, so he was transferred to the Caulder Hospital and Institute for Experimental Fields where his brain was transplanted into a prototype android body. Cliff has had, for all intents and purposes, a full body amputation and he begins to suffer mental problems due to it.
After a conversation with a nurse, Rita Farr, Cliff befriends two other patients at the Caulder Hospital: Larry Trainor, a former test pilot who encountered and merged with an insubstantial alien creature, and Kay Challis or “Crazy Jane,” a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder – she has at least 64 different personalities and each one has a different superpower due to the fact that she was hit by a dark matter wave in Central City. Together, they form a friendship with each other, helped along by Nurse Farr.
When unusual pockets of strange activity start showing up around the world, Dr. Caulder asks for Cliff’s help in finding out what’s going on and stopping any potentially dangerous situations that arise. Cliff is persuaded by Rita to form a group with Larry and Jane in order to investigate pockets of what Dr. Caudler calls “chaotic instability.” Together, they are the strangest superheroes of all: the Doom Patrol.
Each of the shows set in the “Arrowverse” have been about protagonists shaped by some form of trauma: Oliver Queen in Arrow was shaped by his father’s suicide and subsequent survival on Lian Yu, Barry Allen in The Flash was shaped by his mother’s murder and search for her killer, and Kara Danvers in Supergirl was shaped by her entire planet being destroyed. Even the characters in Legends of Tomorrow were pretty much all shaped by loss and trauma, exemplified by the fact that they are considered outcasts and screw-ups. In Doom Patrol, however, their trauma is their superpower. Each one of them has internalized their trauma and that trauma has, in turn, become the power they use: Cliff uses his artificial body, Larry uses the negative spirit inside him, and Jane uses her different personalities, all as their own superpowers.
Doom Patrol isn’t just about those shaped by trauma; it’s about overcoming that trauma and using it to make the world a better place.
- Male, late 20s-late 30s. Cliff was a race car driver until a crash not only ended his career, but broke every one of his bones. His organs were failing one by one and he would have died had Dr. Caulder not donated a prototype android body to house his brain. Cliff’s new body is stronger and tougher, but it feels weird and different to him, like being made of phantom limbs.
- Female, late 20s-early 30s. Rita was a former actress who suffered an on-set accident that made her skin pliable and plastic-like. It was Dr. Caulder who found her and helped her with her condition, so she is almost completely loyal to him, even becoming a nurse at his hospital. She has an easy demeanor and becomes friends with Cliff when he stays at the hospital.
- Male, late 20s-late 30s. Larry was a former experimental test pilot. During one test, he encountered a creature in the upper atmosphere that looked like a shadow. The shadow creature entered his plane and then entered him, resulting in him crashing the plane, but mysteriously surviving. After the crash, he learned he was radioactive and Dr. Caulder found him and made him special bandages. He also learned that he still has the creature inside him and can let it out for short periods.
- Female, late 20s-late 30s. Kay was already in a mental institution when the Particle Accelerator exploded and a wave of dark matter washed over her. She was suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder – she had 64 different personalities, the dominant personality being “Jane Morris” or “Crazy Jane.” After the dark matter wave, she learned that each of her personalities had a different ability and was quickly transferred to Dr. Caulder’s institute. Jane may seem somewhat frazzled and fragile most of the time, but if she feels threatened, a different personality will take over and protect her at all costs.
- Male, late 40s-early 50s. The rarely seen director of the Caulder Hospital and Institute for Experimental Fields, Dr. Caulder has a long history studying abnormal physiology and is particularly interested in the new phenomenon of “metahumans.” He believes that all metahumans are a result of pockets of chaos caused by the Earth’s immune system. He believes that there is some crisis the Earth is trying to prepare for, hence the creation of metahumans. The formation of the Doom Patrol has been a life-long dream.
- Cliff Steele wakes up in the Caulder Hospital after a bad crash. During his recovery, he befriends Rita Farr, a nurse; Larry Trainor, a bandaged pilot; and Kay Challis, a damaged woman with multiple personalities. When he learns about mysterious events happening across the world, he allows Dr. Niles Caulder to put him in the Doom Patrol Program, figuring out the secret mysteries of the world.
- Jane always had her Friends from the Underground to help her. But then one morning, she woke up and all her Friends had superpowers. Now she lives at the Caulder Hospital and she helps Cliff and Larry when they need help. But what about when she’s not in charge? How can she help then?
- Larry Trainor was a test pilot. Larry Trainor went too high in an experimental plane and something got inside. Inside the plane and inside Larry. Now, when he wants to, Larry can let this thing out from his body in order to help people...but not for too long or he’ll die.
- Rita Farr wasn’t always a nurse at the Caulder Hospital. Years ago, she used to be an actress, until there was an accident and she found herself growing beyond what she was. Then she met Dr. Caulder and he helped her control her power. But what happens when she loses control?
- It is time for the Brotherhood of Dada to strike! And with their first strike, they unleash a carnivorous painting that eats Paris. The only hope is for the Doom Patrol to go inside the painting...but can they do that without losing their minds?
- Inside the painting that ate Paris, the Doom Patrol try to survive and not go crazy. Or are they already crazy? Some appear to have lost their minds or lost their souls or just become lost. How can they find their way back? And who is the “Fifth Horseman”?
- The Doom Patrol and the Brotherhood of Dada finally find the being in the center of the painting, the artist who made it, the Fifth Horseman. Now the only question is: what have they unleashed and can they survive it?
- Rita Farr has a date with inventor Steve Dayton. But does Dayton want more from her than she thinks? And what does the rest of the Doom Patrol do on their day off?
- Why have the Doom Patrol been brought to a windowless house? Who is Red Jack? And who is the young girl he is keeping captive, the girl who can create things from her imagination?
- It’s Jack vs. Jane, with Dorothy as the prize. Place your bets!
- Cliff has to venture inside Jane’s mind in order to help her out of her coma. But the Undergound can be a dangerous place for someone who isn’t one of Jane’s personalities.
- Codsville is a small fishing village in Maine. So why are the Doom Patrol suddenly living there – and living normal lives? And now that they’ve found normality, do they really want to leave?
- The end is finally here. In the small fishing village of Codsville, the Doom Patrol meet their fate.
So...what do you guys think?