Doom Patrol: Pilot
February 16, 2019 11:10 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

After a severe accident, Cliff Steele wakes up, a changed man, in the house of Dr. Niles Caulder and his Doom Patrol.

Not sure if anybody else caught this, nor am I particularly familiar with the source material, but I thought this was pretty interesting.

AV Club review of the pilot here.
Some background information from Den of Geek.
posted by mordax (21 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a big fan of Grant Morrison's run on Doom Patrol, a lesser fan of other periods of the comics. The narration is a little too winkingly ironic for my taste and it's not as weird as I want it to be, but I liked the pilot enough to plan to stick around to see where they go from here.

At this point, I am cautiously optimistic.
posted by darchildre at 11:58 AM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Interesting! I like the level of snark. Thanks for posting this, mordax!

Nice to see Alan Tudyk work. Same with Matt Bomer. A schlubby Brendan Fraser. Timothy Dalton! I like Diane Guerrero from OitNB.

Matt Bomer in a role that doesn't use his face is a neat conceit. Same-ish with Fraser, but Fraser hasn't been pretty for quite some time.

The timelines/timing/ages are weird, but I'll just ignore that for now.

I like Tudyk's narration.
posted by porpoise at 12:45 PM on February 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure whether to read into Larry's handkerchief code; his lover wears a red one on the left and Larry wears a red one on the right. A casual perusal suggests that his lover is a 'fist fucker' and Larry is a 'fist fuckee' but I'm not sure if the colour codes were the same back in the 50s (?)?
posted by porpoise at 1:18 PM on February 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

"I like Tudyk's narration."

I liked it, too, but I got distracted by thinking about what an amazing voice actor Tudyk is and how weird it is that even his narrating voice in this has a different timbre and is more compelling than his on-screen voice. Which is especially strange considering that some of the on-screen is probably ADR. My theory is that he's done so much voice work, and does it so well, that in many ways he's a better voice actor than screen actor even with regard to just his narrating voice of an otherwise on-screen character.

But I've seen him fully inhabit a character, in an on-screen performance, in the uncanny way that's similar to his excellence and versatility in his voice work: his role as the big bad on Dollhouse. Just my memory of that character frightens me.

I'm a fan (I crowdfunded Con Man) and have seen him in many on-screen roles. I've heard him in most of his voice work, I think, but he's so versatile I often don't recognize him (and I tend to be better-than-average at recognizing voices).
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:05 PM on February 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

This is a bit of a departure for me because even though I was a DC reader, there were pockets of the DC universe I barely (practically never) dipped my toe into and one of those areas was what I tended to think about as "weird teams." Doom Patrol definitely fits into that category, so pretty much all of this is going to be new (or newish) to me. I mean I'm not totally unfamiliar with the characters. I read about them in Who's Who. I saw ads for when they teamed up Supes or Bats in DCCP or B&B (although I usually skipped those issues). I just don't have hundreds of issues of backstory about them in my memories, so I get the opportunity to experience this from essentially scratch, and I'm looking forward to it.

I really like the casting. I was a White Collar fan, so it's nice to see/hear Matt Bomer again. Even though I can't say I was ever a fan of any of his movies, I've always had a soft spot for Brendan Fraser. He always seemed like he was more talented than the roles he was getting. Timothy Dalton can turn in some really strong performances. Alan Tudyk was enjoyable to watch in both Firefly and Dollhouse. I couldn't figure out where Diane Guerrero looked familiar from, and looking at her IMDB entry, it seems she made an impression on me from her role in Superior Donuts (terrible show, don't bother watching it), so that's a good sign. I was really impressed by April Bowlby in the Titans episode that featured Doom Patrol, and so far she seems to be delivering an equally strong performance in this iteration, and I'm looking forward to seeing more from her.

Overall, even though it's yet another super hero show (I swear I'm trying to watch other stuff beyond capes and tights dramas), I'm in for the duration.

BTW if anybody wants to share their thoughts on the final Titans episodes, I'd be curious to read them.
posted by sardonyx at 4:34 PM on February 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Bomer hasn't shone in any of the movies he's been in, but yeah, old White Collar fan. He's pretty, competent actor, but lacks that extra bit of charisma - he'll probably get better once he starts really working his craft when he starts getting grizzled.

Maybe kinda like Tim Dalton who seems to have hit a second (third?) wind in high-budget television recently.

Tudyk's Alpha in 'Dollhouse' was a tour de force. My favourite TV performance hands down. What a chameleon. Tudyk seems to do really well with crazy, so lots of potential here.

Fraser I think does best with comedy that his big expressive face is suited for rather than for the hero roles that he got cast (and cashing in on The Mummy). Very interested to see how he does in a mostly voice acting role.
posted by porpoise at 5:05 PM on February 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I feel like in the not too distant future every single scripted series will be on its own subscription based network.
posted by Justinian at 7:54 PM on February 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

i really liked it. a lot.
posted by lapolla at 11:06 PM on February 16, 2019

The AV Club has apparently seen more than the pilot, what with the discussion of a character that hasn’t shown up yet. I liked this a lot better than the craptastic cop-out cliffhanger that Titans ended on, but I could also say much the same for my last colonoscopy. The description of this as “Preacher meets Deadpool” sets a bar for both entertainment value and weirdness that the pilot doesn’t even really approach, though. I’ll hang on for at least another couple episodes but after the way Titans went, I’m poised to throw this across the room at a moment’s notice.
posted by jordemort at 7:57 AM on February 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Grant Morrison's iteration of "Doom Patrol" was a keystone in my re-approach to comics as an adult after having been away from them since childhood. I bought them as they were being published, and the series remains a favorite of mine.
This borrows liberally from that specific version of the team...Tudyk's character is Morrison's work, and so is Crazy Jane. I enjoyed the first episode enough to keep going, but I hope that it gets a lot stranger.
posted by Ipsifendus at 9:56 AM on February 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

In case anybody cares and missed it originally, the Titans FanFare thread is here.
posted by sardonyx at 10:16 AM on February 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I liked it, I haven't read the comics source material but have heard how .. erratic it is, and being familiar with Grant Morrison's other work I was prepared for *Strange* .. but not quite this strange.

Unsure if the story about this ragtag group can stretch over and entire season, but it looks like it's going to be an enjoyable ride so I'll continue watching with glee.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:16 PM on February 17, 2019

I liked it. It was a really slow character study, but for some reason I found it very engaging.

It seems like Cliff, Rita, and Larry are all functionally immortal, but did Jane (Crazy Jane as she says she prefers) say she was hanging out with Caulder in the 70's? That seems weird to me unless she has some immortality too.

I just really hope that Danny the Street shows up... (or maybe he already has?)
posted by runcibleshaw at 4:28 PM on February 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

runcibleshaw, I kept looking at the signs in the shop windows for Polari but haven't caught any yet.
posted by darchildre at 5:29 PM on February 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

I need to watch this, even though my entire understanding of the Doom Patrol comes from DC Comics Presents issue 52, which introduced my favorite 4th-wall-breaking character.
posted by hanov3r at 12:47 PM on February 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Given that there's no way I can watch this unless it turns up on Netflix or something in the UK, I might exploit the opportunity to ask whether Deadpool seemed like such an Ambush Bug knock-off in the comics as he does in the movies. (Deadpool = Ambush Bug + brutality)
posted by Grangousier at 12:36 PM on February 25, 2019

Given that there's no way I can watch this unless it turns up on Netflix or something in the UK, I might exploit the opportunity to ask whether Deadpool seemed like such an Ambush Bug knock-off in the comics as he does in the movies. (Deadpool = Ambush Bug + brutality)

Caveat: I am not as familiar with Ambush Bug as I am with Deadpool thanks to Deapool first appearing in my prime comic reading period.

In short, no. Deadpool's personality, powers and fourth wall breaking have varied from writer to writer. I would say the *only* overlap Deadpool has with Ambush Bug is breaking the fourth wall and being explicitly comical in some outings.

Longer story, Deadpool (aka Wade Wilson) is a Rob Liefeld creation who is explicitly based on the DC Comics character Deathstroke (aka Slade Wilson) at least in terms of name and weapon choice (swords and guns). In Deadpool's first appearance, his main personality trait is being talkative, if not particularly funny. He's called (possibly by himself, I don't have the issue in front of me) the "merc with the mouth" and he talks about how people keep breaking his jaw to shut him up. This is all from memory so I might have some details wrong.

Certainly Deadpool's later comical antics and fourth wall breaking dialogue were influenced by earlier fourth wall breaking characters like Ambush Bug, but characters knowing they're in a comic book and breaking the fourth wall to the reader has a long history in comics.

I have no evidence for this, but I've always thought that Ambush Bug was DC's clone of The Impossible Man from the Fantastic Four, who himself might be a clone of Mr. Mxyzptlk. Possibly this is because AB and IM are both funny and green. I guess you'd have to ask Keith Giffen to know for sure.

Also, Ambush Bug has not yet appeared in the Doom Patrol show and I don't think there's any indication he will.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:23 PM on February 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thank you, that's a much more fulsome response than I deserved. I had genuinely wondered.

I've been quite taken with the trailers for this, enjoyed the Grant Morrison run a great deal, and will be interested to see it if and when it fetches up out in the world.
posted by Grangousier at 3:56 PM on February 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

You're welcome. It doesn't take much for me to write an overly long rant about superhero comics.
posted by runcibleshaw at 4:16 PM on February 25, 2019 [6 favorites]

The pilot was great and I immediately watched the second episode.

I liked the Doom Patrol when they were in Titans, so this was an easy jump for me. I think Dalton makes a better Caulder, where his authority over the team feels like it's from a place of respect and fear rather than just fear as Bruno Bichir played him.
posted by numaner at 2:27 PM on March 8, 2019

Coming rather late to this party, but what the heck. I have access to this via HBO Max, and the first episode has persuaded me that the buzz that I heard around this show might be justified. I was a fan of Morrison's reboot of the Doom Patrol, at least for a while... it's been long enough that I don't remember why I dropped the title (it may have been during that time when I could barely afford any comics and I cut most of my regular titles), but when I tried picking it up again it seemed like Morrison was too enchanted with his own cleverness to make anything that I could really connect to.

This adaptation seems to be taking the best weird parts of Morrison's run and putting it in a story that has some promise of not losing its connection with themes and characters that are in any way relatable. The ongoing revelation of what happened to Cliff, and Niles Caulder's role in maintaining more than one level of deception, seem both very honest to The Chief's comics characterization and also new enough to hold my interest. Ditto the rest of the characters; I'm not sure if any of the later versions of the DP had Rita constantly threatening to blob out, but this seems much more interesting than her simply being another stretchy superhero. I'll stick with it for as long as HBO/Warner/DC is giving me episodes.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:26 PM on June 22, 2020

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