Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-Ray I reviewed in this blog post. The opinions I share are my own.
Of the various shows that helped launch DC Universe, Doom Patrol might have low-key been the best. It doesn’t get the accolades or any of the buzz of some of the other series, but no superhero show was more entertaining, bizarre or unpredictable as the series that featured a farting donkey.
So how could the second season serve up just as memorable an encore? Not by going the obvious route of adding several new team members to the eccentric crew.
With the multiple personality Jane (Diane Guerrero); the man in the robot suit Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser); the gay Air Force pilot Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer) sharing a body with a negative spirit; starlet actress Rita Farr (April Bowlby) and superhero Vic Stone aka Cyborg (Joivan Wade) the eccentric personality department is locked up.
Instead, the show just adds one new character Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro), the monkey-faced daughter of the team’s founder, The Chief (Timothy Dalton).
Dorothy is a precious girl, but Chief is rightly terrified Dorothy’s not so imaginary friends including the Candlemaker. a hideous creature perfectly willing to do anything young Dorothy’s mind can imagine in the most terrifying way possible.
In a lot of ways Season 2 felt like a more mature, grown up version of Doom Patrol. Sure there was the incident with the Sex-Men and the aliens that feed on bad ideas, oh and Cliff’s vendetta with the rats that time when the team is shrunk…alright maybe the show has reached adolescence if it hasn’t completely grown up.
Like last year, beyond the obvious sight gags, wacky characters and Cliff working in his WTF catchphrase into every episode, Doom Patrol is such a great show because of the care and time put into each character.
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Larry tries to connect with his surviving family members; Rita considers being a superhero like Cyborg and resuming her acting career; Cliff wants to make amends with his daughter and Jane fights to retain control as the primary persona of her personalities.
Cyborg has his own subplot as he’s exploring a relationship with Roni (Karen Obilom). It’s sad how refreshing it felt to see a black couple in a comic book show that wasn’t Black Lightning.
The writers find the ideal balance of not letting anything be too absurd — basing the episodes on story arcs from Grant Morrison’s run is a gold mine in terms of rich ideas and concepts — with surprisingly tender moments. Doom Patrol is a showcase on how to write stories on acceptance and being true to oneself without clobbering the audience over the head with an ACME hammer.
It’s easy to just get sucked into the comedic aspects of the show, but this season had maybe even stronger serious moments than last year. Doom Patrol is at its emotional best when the team members have to confront their demons and help each other through their respective traumas.
Bomer and Fraser voice Larry and Cliff, but the performances of Matthew Zuk and Riley Shanahan as the respective physical actors on set is invaluable especially in the moments when their characters are silent and we’re left to imagine what they’re thinking.
Wade gets more to do this season beyond playing straight man to the team of misfits and it was a smart change. One of the better running gags is various team members envisioning partnering up as heroes with Vic. Doom Patrol doesn’t get bogged down with too many romantic subplots, which made the choice to focus on Vic and Roni compelling.
Last year felt too heavy on everyone reacting to Jane and giving Jane and The Underground their own self-contained subplot helped significantly in not making her character so over the top. Bowlby remains a lot of fun as she makes Rita such a prim and proper character that seems completely out of her element with the others. Her friendship with Larry was one of the season highlights.
Shapiro is a tremendous addition to the cast as she made Dorothy such a sweet and charming girl. Dalton featured more prominently in episodes this season, which helped bring a distinguished air to the series.
Like many shows last year, COVID cut short the season resulting in a terrific cliffhanger to wrap Season 2. For the Doom Patrol the lack of an easy happy ending feels more fitting and true to the characters while leaving fans hungrily excited for the next season’s kick-off on HBO MAX.
Doom Patrol: The Magic of Makeup (9:09)
This was an interesting feature as the design and makeup team break down their process on some of the characters and the challenge of bringing the comic book visuals to life. It’s not an especially long feature, but insightful look at the behind the scenes aspect.
Come Visit Georgia PSA (2:18)
This was an odd featurette with a simple chat with a production designer Carey Meyer about the interesting aspects of shooting in Georgia. This conversation lacked any meaningful details like checking out Atlanta Braves game or something truly unique to Georgia. There were no photos from tourist stops with the crew behind the scenes visiting. It was odd and felt like it wasn’t worth including.
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- Dumb Patrol
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- Wax Patrol
Doom Patrol’s second season gets the full 1080p full HD video and DTS-HD master audio for English 5.1, the video quality is impressive. That is especially noticeable with Dorothy’s makeup and the intricate costume designs of characters like Red Jack and The Candlemaker. At this rate the only real improvement would be if the film was released on a 4K format, which isn’t necessary for this series.
Audio sounds equally impressive with solid background noise and ambient effects as well as booming
Own Doom Patrol The Complete Second Season on Digital, Blu-Ray and DVD today on Amazon.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros Home Entertainment