What’s the story?
Doom Patrol follows a team of superhumans who all received their powers through calamity and tragic incidents. Shunned by society, they all find solace forming a society of sorts in the mansion of the Chief, a medical doctor who offers his mansion for the Doom Patrol to live in.
The stars of the show are, of course, the Doom Patrol themselves; the first members to join the team are Jane, a woman with dissociative identity disorder who received powers for each identity after an experiment, and Rita Farr, a former Hollywood actress with a gelatinous body who struggles to retain her human form.
Following Jane and Rita are Larry Trainor, alias Negative Man, a man with a negative energy entity living inside him; Cliff Steele, a NASCAR driver who suffered an accident and had his brain transplanted into a robot body. Later on, the team adds an unexpected member in the form of one of the legendary Titans, someone audiences might remember from the Justice League movie.
The first season of the show follows the team’s rescue of the Chief from the hands of Mr. Nobody. In the Doom Patrol comics, Mr. Nobody is well known as one of the team’s main antagonist, so seeing him interact with the live-action Doom Patrol is just what the fans of the franchise wanted to see.
The Doom Patrol also has to learn to deal with their own traumas, as they each have an obscure past that haunts them in their daily lives. As they fight their inner demons, they also have to adapt to working as a team, as some of them feel that the task of being a superhero might be too much of a tall order for them.
This idea of the Doom Patrol being more of a family than a superhero team is developed a bit more in the series’ second season, where the Patrol has to deal with a sickness that threatens their very way of life, and might leave them with more responsibilities than they’re willing to handle.
Is it any good?
At first glance, it might sound like the Doom Patrol shares one too many similarities with something like the X-Men: a team of superpowered humans who live in a mansion with a wealthy benefactor because they’ve been shunned by society, but the similarities end there. Doom Patrol elevates the X-Men formula with troubled and interesting characters that also manage to work rather well on a comedic level.
The struggles that each member of the Doom Patrol faces are very real, despite how outlandish their origins might sound. The show manages to find a balance between weirdness and relatable, making every character feel real in their own world and making it easier for the audience to relate with their problems.
The show also has an extensive use of special effects, some more “special” than others. For one, CGI doesn’t look too bad, a nice departure from other DC shows that use abysmal CGI to mask their lack of a plot. The practical effects are a mixed bag: while some costumes, like Cliff’s robot suit, look amazing, while some other prosthetics end up looking like discount Halloween costumes. That said, using practical effects is always a welcome addition to any show, and the series wins some props for taking that risk.
Like we mentioned at the beginning, DC still hasn’t managed to achieve Marvel-levels of popularity among moviegoers, but their TV shows are another story. Doom Patrol is an excellent show that keeps you entertained from start to finish and tells a story with a scope that simply couldn’t be done on film.
While some fans wanted the Doom Patrol to receive their own movie, it’s clear to see that a show was the sensitive choice: it allows more screen time to every character and helps with their development, something vital when it comes to a superhero team defined by their backstories. If you’re in the mood for a unique show that’s unlike anything you’ve seen on TV, then definitely give Doom Patrol a watch.