Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 23, 2019)
A spinoff from Titans, Doom Patrol brings us another TV series based on DC Comics characters. This 3-disc set presents all 15 of Season One’s episodes. The plot synopses come from the package’s insert.
Pilot: “The reluctant heroes of the Doom Patrol face the threat of Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk).”
“Doom Patrol” offered one of the best episodes of Titans, and it brought us the Patrol fully-formed. With “Pilot”, we find a pretty traditional origin story that lets us see how the series’ regulars came to be super-powered.
Without question, the characters bear obvious influences, from Robocop to Universal Horror to The Blob. Despite that, “Pilot” creates a good sense of intrigue and opens the series well.
Donkey Patrol: “With Cyborg (Joivan Wade), the Doom Patrol ventures into the Donkeyverse.”
If the “Pilot” didn’t make it clear that Doom would go down weird paths, the existence of a “Donkeyverse” sure does. Expect a pretty wild episode.
Puppet Patrol: “The team meets Nazi doctor Heinrich Von Fuchs (Julian Richings) in Paraguay.”
A mix of comedy, action and exposition, “Puppet” pursues Season One well. The quirky moments fare the best, but the show does all of it pretty nicely.
Cult Patrol: “The Doom Patrol tries to avert the apocalypse – and fails.”
That sounds ominous and final, doesn’t it? Of course, the world doesn’t end here, and “Cult” presents a lively ride as we follow the various story points.
Paw Patrol: “An unlikely ally, a special pug and the Doom Patrol fight the apocalypse.”
“Paw” continues the story from “Cult” in a pretty satisfying manner. The proverbial plot thickens and becomes another engaging show.
Doom Patrol Patrol: “The ‘new’ Doom Patrol meets the ‘original’ Doom Patrol.”
I like the premise of the 1950s Doom Patrol, and the episode works fairly well. However, it doesn’t dig into the possibilities with the gusto I’d expect, and that keeps the show from greatness.
Therapy Patrol: “The team opens up during some self-led group therapy.”
Given the less than disciplined nature of the characters, a self-led therapy session sounds like a recipe for comedic disaster. Some of that emerges, but the episode explores more dramatic territory – including backstory – than expected, and those moments fare surprisingly well.
Danny Patrol: “A teleporting, sentient street named Danny needs help.”
Even for Doom Patrol, the notion of a sentient roadway seems kooky. That’s not even the most interesting aspect of “Danny”, though, as Jane’s newest personality becomes the liveliest element in this solid show.
Jane Patrol: “Jane (Diane Guerrero) retreats into the treacherous Underground in her mind.”
An episode spent almost entirely in Jane’s subconscious, this one feels less than exciting. While it develops the Jane character in some decent ways, it tends to sputter more than I’d like.
Hair Patrol: “Beard Hunter (Tommy Snider) tries to infiltrate Doom Manor to search for Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton).”
After a few more somber episodes, Doom gets back to a broader tone here – well, part of the time, at least. Beard Hunter offers a wacky character, so even with a darker vibe connected to Niles, this becomes a dynamic show.
Frances Patrol: “Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser) travels to Gator Country to reconnect with his daughter Clara (Bethany Anne Lind).”
Larry’s long-lost love has filled a lot of S1 and has been a weakness, as that relationship consistently feels flat and dull. Since this connection fills a lot of “Frances”, the show loses points, and the rest doesn’t compensate.
Cyborg Patrol: “Silas Stone (Phil Morris) makes a plan with the team to free his son Vic.”
After a slow start, this episode picks up as it goes. The series fares best when it embraces its weirdness, so those moments work best.
Flex Patrol: “The Doom Patrol attempts to restore Flex Mentallo (Devan Chandler Long).”
Flex offers one of the quirkier characters, blessed with odd powers, and he adds charm and emotion to the episode. Flex’s story offers enough to turn this into a winning show.
Penultimate Patrol: “To save the Chief, the Doom Patrol enters the Nobodyverse.”
As the title implies, “Penultimate” acts as a table-setting episode. While it comes with some major events, it mainly exists to push us toward the finale, and it does so in an exciting manner.
Ezekiel Patrol: “The heroes of the Doom Patrol go their separate ways.”
That’s a deceptive synopsis, but I won’t spill any more beans than that. One shouldn’t expect a neat ‘n’ tidy finale from this series anyway, as it exists to subvert the usual superhero tropes.
“Ezekiel” does well in that regard, though I admit I might’ve liked a finale that ended these in a less cliffhanger manner. Still, even without much real resolution, this turns into a clever, enjoyable episode that leaves me eager to get to Season Two.