Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Birds Of Prey (2002)

I am downright offended this didn't get a second season.

Birds Of Prey is such a black sheep of DC, it was a very dark time for the publishing company, Batman & Robin ended their film history for 7 years (and technically didn't get good for 8), there was nothing television wise after 2001, and while the comics were still going strong if you wanted visual mediums you had to get your hands on past films. Literally the only thing DC had in 2002 was this show and the animated Justice League show on Cartoon Network. Damn. That's kind of mindblowing, but what's even more mindblowing is this show literally had it's 18th anniversary. And now if you'll excuse me I'm going to have an existential crisis now that I realize I'm a broken old man. I always knew I was going to watch this show one day and I am so dang happy I did. Stylistically it's like if you put elements of Charmed, Gotham, and Batwoman with a nice sprinkling of early 2000s culture and blended them together, and my God is it genuinely good. I was very impressed and entertained throughout this 13 episode series which you can knock out in about 9 hours, it's recognizable enough to Batman fans who are familiar with the main characters but different enough to not know where the show will go or what will happen. So it's been 7 years after Selina Kyle has been murdered, Barbara Gordon has been paralyzed by the Joker, and the Dark Knight himself has mysteriously vanished when we meet up with Barbara, Bruce and Selina's child Helena, and newcomer to Gotham Dinah as they fight crime and live their lives as the Birds Of Prey. It's a pretty good show and if you stick with it to the end you'll probably be upset there was no second season, the show had great ratings at the start but soon plummeted to where they had to wrap up and end the series with only 13 episodes. I greatly loved the cast of characters, Ashley Scott is the best Huntress to me though I've seen little adaptation of her and quite frankly swept me off my feet, Dina Meyer is the second live action Barbara Gordon (Alicia Silverstone doesn't count because she was Alfred's niece not Jim's daughter) and is the best character in the show, Rachel Skarsten fills the teen demographic very well and she grows to be a highly capable and awesome crimefighter, Shemar Moore I swear literally walked from this show to Criminal Minds the characters are that similar and he's always awesome, and Ian Abercrombie who I know best as the ol' Senate himself in The Clone Wars is genuinely a fantastic Alfred and may he rest in peace. A strange casting choice in my opinion but Mia Sara, most known for being Ferris Bueller's girlfriend, plays Harleen Quinzel and I feel....conflicted about her. All the character interactions are great, you feel a true sense of baggage and history to these characters, but with Harley I can't make heads or tails of what she is. Now here's the thing, she's not the Harley we know, she's a psychiatrist bent on ruling Gotham, she dated the Joker but we never see her in costume, and absolutely no one knows that she is a villain. So...did she not do crimes with him or anything? It's so bizarre, and it kinda bugs me how they handled her, it's just not what you would consider Harley Quinn. Do I still like what they did with her? Actually yeah. This show takes liberties and does things it's own way, but it never seems stupid or out of place in the mythos of Batman. Now granted there's some early 2000s cheese to this with totally cutting edge CG transitions of Gotham, the fight scenes are simultaneously absurd yet totally kick ass, the soundtrack screams of the time period, and the production seems very akin to shows like Buffy or Charmed. You can tell this was a lower budget show because the sets are very closed in and used frequently, and transitions and certain shots are repeated throughout the entire series. You could honestly make a drinking game out of it that's how often it occurs. But honestly I didn't mind at all as I kept watching the series, I noticed it but I accepted it. What surprised me is how the very early episodes use elements of previous Batman media, the batsuit you see is the Val Kilmer batsuit, you hear Mark Hamill's voice dubbed over an actor, you hear the opening notes of Mask Of The Phantasm's theme and even slight hints of Danny Elfman's music. But as the show goes on it forms it's own identity and niches, which I greatly appreciate. I really and truthfully had no idea what the show was going to do or how it was going to end, and the actor's really sold me on seeing these classic kickass women of Gotham being a bit more mature and trying to have lives outside of the crimefighting business. I was completely losing my damn mind by the last episode and couldn't believe how the story was going, I loved it guys. God help me I loved it so. It's so different to the DC shows we have now and the style is worlds apart from where we are now, but I still strongly recommend this series and I'm just gonna say it, the new Birds Of Prey movie has some stiff competition when it comes to the treatment of these characters (except for Harley because Margot Robbie is f***ing royalty). It's a bit cheesy and dated, but when you focus on the important things which are the characters and their dynamic with each other you actually get a pretty damn good show that I'm honestly pissed that there's no second season. DC if you have the opportunity to bring these amazing ladies back in a revamped continuation of the series, I'll be there every week watching it. 7.5/10, 4 stars check it out!

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