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Today the DC Universe original series Doom Patrol returns for its second season, and this year it also airs on HBO Max, which means a lot more folks will be able to see it! In the first season, over the course of several decades, wheelchair-bound scientist Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton) welcomed various enhanced humans to live with him in his giant mansion, known as Doom Manor, where he tried to help them control their powers. It’s not unlike The X-Men, but these super-powered beings have a lot more personal and emotional baggage to deal with (which we found out about through flashbacks), plus they are a lot less heroic (at least initially).
The team includes 1950s Silver Screen starlet Rita Farr (April Bowlby), who, while shooting a film in 1955 in Africa, fell into the river and was transformed into Elasti-Girl. When her emotions run high, Rita loses control of her body and becomes a massive blob – a far cry from her normally-glamorous Hollywood self. In 1961, Air Force aviator test pilot Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer) was on a test flight in space and encountered cosmic radiation. A Negative Spirit entered his body, and his plane plummeted to Earth, bursting into flames, severely burning his body. Now Larry is constantly covered in bandages, looking like a mummy. The Negative Spirit inside of him can exit his body, but when it does so, it leaves Larry in a lifeless, immobile state – he has become dependent on this cohabitant to stay alive. In the 1970s, Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) found her way to Doom Manor. The troubled young woman has 64 personas, each with her own superpower. Jane cannot control which one of the personas controls her body – it could be anyone from the tough Hammerhead, to the teleporting Flit. Even Caulder hasn’t seen all of Jane’s personalities. In 1988, philandering race car driver Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser) was in a horrible accident, and only his brain survived. Caulder built Steele a brand-new robotic body, turning him into Robotman. And the latest addition to the team is high school football star Victor Stone (Joivan Wade). An explosion at STAR labs left his mother dead, but Silas Stone (Phil Morris) rebuilt the majority of his son’s body using nanites and other high-tech means, turning Victor into the crime-fighting superhero known as Cyborg.
In the first season, the team found itself up against a powerful supervillain known as Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk), who had kidnapped The Chief (Niles). As they ventured out of Doom Manor and into the surrounding small town of Cloverton, Ohio for the first time in decades, things almost immediately went horribly wrong, as none of them really had control over their powers. The group soon found itself up against things like Apocalyptic cults and other inter-dimensional obstacles. At the same time, Mr. Nobody was playing mind games with them, trying to make them turn against one another, using their past emotional tragedies against them.
As the season came to a close, the metahumans learned that Niles Caulder had actually been involved in the accidents that caused each of them to obtain their powers. He had been using them as test subjects in his quest to unlock the secret to immortality, in hopes to prolong his own life long in order to protect his daughter, who has the ability to alter reality. Things got very odd and surreal as the team entered the painting of Danny the Street to take on Mr. Nobody and rescue Niles’s daughter, managing to escape just before a nuclear explosion collapsed the dimension inside the painting, trapping Mr. Nobody and the Bead Hunter in the White Space dimension. Afterwards, Niles introduced the team to his daughter, Dorothy Spinner.
The series has a very unique tone, which is largely comedic. The violence and language can be graphic and over-the-top at times, taking full advantage of the fact that this is not a broadcast network DC show. It has a very Deadpool sort of feel to it. The first season episodes were narrated by Mr. Nobody, who constantly made sarcastic remarks, often breaking the fourth wall, referring to the series itself. The world itself is also quite insane, from a flatulating donkey, to a sentient teleporting gender-queer street named Danny, to the talking Ezekiel the Cockroach (Curtis Armstrong) bent on world domination, to The Beard Hunter (Tommy Snider) a man with the power to learn everything about a person just by consuming their beard.
The show knows it’s crazy and embraces it and just has fun, while also exploring some really dark, dramatic moments. I’m curious to see where the series goes this season and what new characters will be introduced. Will the group still be bitter about Niles’s involvement in their conditions? How will Niles’s daughter fit in with the team? Is Mr. Nobody really gone, and if so, who will be the big bad this season and who will narrate the episodes? I am really happy that the series will be airing on HBO Max this year, as I don’t subscribe to DC Universe. Today the first 3 episodes (“Fun Size Patrol”, “Tyme Patrol” & “Pain Patrol”) will be made available, with a new episode launching each Thursday thereafter. Unfortunately, the second season is going to be short, with only 9 episodes, versus 15 in the first season.
I’ll also be watching/recording Holey Moley, Don’t, To Tell the Truth, Broke, and Celebrity Watch Party.
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