DC’s DOOM PATROL has just concluded its first season. Featuring a group of misfit meta-humans who are anything but heroes, DOOM PATROL hopes to provide a unique and uncommon look at the weirder elements of the DC universe. Does it succeed? Find out in our DOOM PATROL season review.

DOOM PATROL Season Review: The Plot

Based on the DC Comics series by Grant Morrison, DOOM PATROL follows a group of broken individuals who have all been in accidents, leaving them with extraordinary abilities, or their recoveries being likewise extraordinary. Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton), also known as the Chief, is responsible for their rescue and providing the means for their recoveries. Living together in his mansion, the Chief’s charges are safe from the world and the world from them. They don’t really see their abilities as gifts. To them, they are more like curses.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
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When the Chief leaves the mansion on a trip, the group attempts to discreetly visit a nearby town. They royally fail, which brings the attention of Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk), a villain with an ax to grind with Niles. He kidnaps Niles, who leaves the Doom Patrol to try and get him back for the rest of the series, while also trying to figure out who they are and their places in the world. Fighting Swiss Nazis, the Bureau of Normalcy, apocalypse cults, their own issues and baggage, DOOM PATROL has plenty of odd and unique twists and turns. No episode is the same. It definitely keeps you on your toes.

A New Frontier for the Superhero Genre

DOOM PATROL takes the superhero genre to a place it hasn’t been thus far. The only thing that’s even close to it would maybe be CW’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. However, this is only in the respect that both series have wild concepts episode by episode. DOOM PATROL takes itself a little more seriously with its overarching plot and focuses more on its individual characters. The plot is bold, smart, surprising, and carries with it some pretty strong emotional beats. It shows that having powers or abilities doesn’t necessarily make you a hero or make your life better. It can make things worse, depending on how you or others view them. Having powers is only the first part. It’s the choices you make with them and about yourself in spite of them that make the difference for good or bad.

DOOM PATROL Team — Cliff and Jane

Next up for our DOOM PATROL season review, let’s look at the members of the Doom Patrol themselves. First and foremost, the show’s primary focus is its characters and their individual arcs coming together. All of these characters are broken. Not one of them is the typical definition of a hero, if you can even label them as heroes at all. Regardless, they still end up trying to do as much good as they can.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
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Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser) is the first member of the Doom Patrol we meet on the series, and the newest member to join the Chief. Once a famous race car driver, Cliff Steele was decapitated in a car accident. While his wife dies, the Chief is able to recover his brain, putting it inside of a robot body. Cliff can remember his past life but is now unable to feel like a normal human would. Much of his arc deals with reconciling his past sins as a normal man, and grappling with whether or not he should reconnect with his adult daughter, considering what he’s now become.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
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Next, we have Crazy Jane. Jane suffers from an extreme case of multiple personality disorders. It’s extreme firstly due to the fact that she has 64 different personalities. Furthermore, several of them each have their own unique superpower. Jane constantly struggles throughout the series to determine who she is and why she should try to take care of all 64 personalities at all. At the onset of the series, all she wants to do is numb the pain and the noise going inside her head and her surroundings.

A Bold and Stubborn Pairing

Cliff and Jane pair up most often during the series. Cliff sees a lot of his daughter in Jane, wanting to protect her and be there for her. However, Jane is much too stubborn to appreciate his help. Even so, after Niles’ kidnapping, Jane and Cliff were the first to want to look for and rescue him. They’re the bolder ones in the group, unwilling to sit around and do nothing. It’s a pretty fun relationship because it’s really not one either of them wants.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
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Cliff initially likes Jane as he subconsciously sees her as a substitute for his daughter, and Jane initially couldn’t care less about him. However, their relationship develops over time where she tolerates him and they work together as a sort of kindred spirit. The relationship exists in the comics as well, and the show pays a lot of homage and references to that. Their first conversation even has Jane out in the rain painting just like in the comics.

DOOM PATROL Team — Rita and Larry

Moving on, we have Rita Farr, who was once a famous actress in the 1940s. While working on a film in the Congo, Rita falls into the river, becoming exposed to a unique volcanic gas that makes her entire body mass unstable and elastic. This led to the end of her career and her rescue by Niles, allowing her to hide from the world. Eventually, Rita gets a better handle on her abilities, as well as faces the bad choices she made to be famous. She discovers that doing good and trying to help make her feel better than she ever did on a set.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
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Lastly, we have the Negative Man, who was once Larry Trainor, an Air Force pilot with a wife and kids. However, he also had an affair with serviceman John Bowers. While flying an experimental jet in the atmosphere, his plane crashes, turning his body radioactive and harboring a negative energy being. He wears protective bandages to keep the radiation from harming others. Larry’s arc largely deals with him trying to find a compromise and work together with the being living inside him, as well as dealing with his inner conflict over his sexuality.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
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A Cool Headed and Fun Pairing

Rita and Larry are the oldest residents to live in Niles’ mansion. As such, they are more inclined to sit and wait for Niles to potentially return. They’re initially resistant to taking action, desiring more to hide from the world as well as from the dark pages of their past. However, they realize that there’s more good that they can do with the rest of the team, and they can be more than what they once were. Their past doesn’t have to define them.

Rita and Larry are the more cool-headed of the group, and they also do a great job supporting one another. There are some very funny moments where Rita will speak and make decisions on behalf of them both. Larry usually just goes with the flow and agrees. It’s a pretty fun relationship. I think I like Cliff and Jane’s relationship more, but nevertheless, their team-ups are pretty cool too.

The Inclusion of Cyborg

Next up for our DOOM PATROL season review, we look at the show’s addition of Cyborg, who is most likely the only previously well-known character by the average viewer. This is due to Cyborg’s higher profile as a typical member of the Teen Titans and most recently the Justice League as of 2011 in the comics, and on film with 2017’s JUSTICE LEAGUE. At first glance, it would be easy to assume that Vic Stone’s inclusion was for this reason, bringing in a familiar and popular face to attract and sell the show to more hesitant viewers. However, going deeper this is probably only half true. Cyborg’s arc contains some pretty strong ties to the rest of the Doom Patrol as well as to that of the Chief.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
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His position in the show creates a really interesting dichotomy between his origins and that of the others we see. He tries the most to be a hero and the reasons for his creation are much different. His father turned him into Cyborg in order to save him. It came from a place of love. In contrast, the reasons for Niles’ work on the Doom Patrol is much different and darker. Vic didn’t see this at first, which caused him some significant conflict with his father. I honestly thought that his inclusion would pull him away from the show, but his arc worked really well. The writers made efforts to make their additions natural and improve the overall narrative they’re shooting for.

Plenty of Other Weird Characters Beyond The Team

Several other DC Comics DOOM PATROL characters get cameos and moments as well in the show, too. There’s the Animal Vegetable Mineral Man, who is a combination of exactly what his name implies. There’s Danny, the teleporting, transgender, sentient small town’s main street. Yes, you read that right.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
Image from DC Entertainment

There’s also Flex Mentallo: Man of Mystery, a strongman whose muscles have different powers when flexed. Needless to say, DOOM PATROL features a variety of characters beyond the usual suspect comic book characters one typically thinks of. It’s a wild ride for crazy people.

DOOM PATROL Season Review: Alan Tudyk’s Mr. Nobody Is Perfect

Oh my gosh. Alan Tudyk nails this role. Eric Morden wants nothing more than to be a villain of merit. To be known. Unfortunately, his efforts are wasted and he’s kicked us out of the Brotherhood of Evil. His girlfriend dumps him and calls him a nobody. This leads him to Paraguay where he undergoes an experiment from an ex-Nazi scientist.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
Image from DC Entertainment

Now, Morden is able to control and alter reality. He can also create small pocket dimensions. In the series, Mr. Nobody also acts as the narrator, often breaking the fourth wall. He holds the knowledge that DOOM PATROL is a series. When Niles asks him who he’s talking to in the second episode, he honestly responds:

“Oh, Grant Morrison fans, Reddit trolls with DC subscriptions, and the three new fans who stuck around after the donkey fart.”

Here’s the interesting thing about Morden. He doesn’t try to kill Niles or the Doom Patrol. Instead, he tries to drive them insane, putting their fears and past sins in front of them. He forces them to confront and deal with them. He’s also a bit of a loser, which prevents such a powerful being from reaching his full creative potential, providing the opening for weaknesses. Alan Tudyk’s performance is amazing, and I very much enjoyed his character. While I have more than a few elements I like from this show, Mr. Nobody is probably the most positive thing you should take away from this DOOM PATROL season review.

DOOM PATROL Season Review: Tackling DC’s Weird Side The Right Way

To conclude our DOOM PATROL season review, the overall takeaway should be to expect the unexpected in the best way possible. DOOM PATROL is not afraid to explore the weirdest corner of the DC Universe. The cast is stellar, its antagonist is awesome, and so is the story. While somewhat typical in the overall sense, it does stay unpredictable episode by episode. The journeys from typical beat to typical beat are unique. It’s certainly the best series on DC UNIVERSE thus far, and I’m pretty excited for next season. The characters are certainly worth seeing more of, whether they desire to do good, bad, or don’t care either way.

DOOM PATROL Season Review
Image from DC Entertainment

Rating: 8.5/10

DOOM PATROL’s full first season is now streaming on the DC UNIVERSE service.

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