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Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season (2019)

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/1/2019

All Ratings out of




Extras: 1/2


Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/16/2019

You don’t have to watched all three hours of the Emmys to know that television is much, much more than just ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox anymore.  HBO was the first network to penetrate the old bubble, but the streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime destroyed that bubble.  There are now literally hundreds (thousands?) of shows out there and the number is growing each day as many more streaming services are on the way.  The obvious upside to this is that there is a great deal of variety and choice out there these days.  (The downside is there are far too many shows and one can’t possibly watch them all…or even be familiar with most of them.)  Beyond this, there is another aspect of non-network television which isn’t widely discussed and it’s one with Doom Patrol truly epitomizes.

Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton) is a scientist who has spent his life recruiting and aiding “Meta-Humans” who has special powers.  He has opened his home as a haven to these individuals.  Rita Farr (April Bowlby) was a movie star in the 1950s.  After falling into a river and ingesting something (?), her body now dissolves into a blob when she’s upset.  Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser) was a race-car driver whose body was destroyed in a car wreck.  Caulder saved Cliff’s brain and placed it in a metallic robot.  Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer) was a test pilot whose plane flew through a cloud of radiation.  After surviving the crash-landing, it was learned that an entity now shared Larry’s body.  Jane (Diane Guerrero) has 64 personalities, each of which has a special power.  She has little control over this and hates the world because of it.  Victor Stone (Joivan Wade) was a high-school star athlete until an explosion almost killed him.  His father, Silas (Phil Morris), saved him by making most of his body bionic.  These five “misfits” depend on Caulder in order to function in the world.  So, when he disappears, they realize that they must use their “unique skills” to try and find him.  Venturing back into the world forces them to look at their lives and look at all of their defects.  Meanwhile, Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) is waiting in the wings to destroy this reluctant team of “heroes”.

Doom Patrol is based on a series of DC comic books and Executive Producer Greg Berlanti, who oversees CW shows like Supergirl, The Flash, and Arrow, is a part of the production team.  Therefore, one would assume that this is just another superhero show.  (My wife actually refused to give the show a try because she’s so sick superhero stuff.)  And sure, the series does focus on “Meta-Humans” who have superpowers, but this is far from being a superhero show.  There are only a few occasions where the characters use their powers or fight a villain.  In reality, this is a sci-fi drama which falls closer to something like Lost than any of the shows named above. 

This is a broad swipe, but DC has always been more idealistic and saccharine then Marvel.  One of the things which separated the two companies in the 60s was that Marvel’s stories merged real-world problems with their heroes crime-fighting adventures.  This is the park in which Doom Patrol plays.  Not unlike Lost, the various episodes take an individualized look at the character’s pasts and we see that being a superhero is often the least of the problems.  Larry’s sexuality, Rita’s vanity, Cliff’s family, Jane’s history of abuse – all of these things play into the makeup of the characters and this is what the show is really about.  In fact, some episodes play as if they are going to be a typical comic book adventures, but then go in a different direction.  While this will frustrate those looking for low-brow thrills, the show actually becomes a moving drama.  While the characters are often obnoxious and off-putting, we start to care for them as time goes on and become invested in their stories.  On top of this, the show is laugh-out-loud funny at times, with many of the laughs coming from Cliff’s sheer bewilderment at the odd things happening around him.

Speaking of odd, it’s time to re-visit my initial point.  Yes, streaming and cable can bring us a number of choices, but it also allows an almost unheard level of creative freedom.  In the sense, Doom Patrol gets to be as weird as it wants to be.  There are a lot of “out there” ideas on this show and those with an open mind will love just how wacky this show gets.  While shows like Succession and Fleabag use the medium to be shocking at times, Doom Patrol plays like underground literature and not since Ash Vs. Evil Dead have we seen a show with such an anything goes attitude.  It also isn’t afraid to show off its liberal attitude as well.  In a world where superhero stuff has become somewhat indistinguishable at times, Doom Patrol certainly stands out.  The show is challenging and goofy, while also deep and touching.  It’s unlike anything else on TV and that’s saying a lot.

Doom Patrol features more donkey that the Democratic Convention on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.  The three-disc set contains all fifteen episodes from the show’s first season. The show has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 18 Mbps.  The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials.   The colors look very good, as the show often offers bold tones to juxtapose the dark material, and the image is never overly dark or bright.  The level of detail is good, as we can see the intricacies of Cliff’s metalwork, and the depth works nicely.  The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.1 Mbps.  The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects.  The surround sound effects work well in the action sequences and are especially noticeable when the characters are hearing voices coming from all around them.  The stereo effects often let us know when things are happening off-screen.

The Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Disc contains a few extra features.  Disc 1 brings us six DELETED SCENES which run about 5 minutes.  Disc 2 offers one DELETED SCENE which runs about 1 minute.  The remainder of the extras are found on Disc 3.  This kicks off with seven DELETED SCENES which run about 8 minutes.  We get a 5-minute “Gag Reel”.  “Come Visit Georgia PSA” (5 minutes) allows some of the crew members an opportunity to discuss how the Atlanta area is utilized to create the locations and sets for the show.  This includes some on-set footage and before-and-after stills of the mansion. 

Review Copyright 2019 by Mike Long