Doom Patrol Early Reviews: DC Universe's Latest Series Exceeds Expectations

Checking all the right weirdo-series boxes, streaming service's new original live-action comic-book adaptation is aimed squarely at adults.

by | February 12, 2019 | Comments

Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 -- "Pilot" / Photo by Bob Mahoney / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(Photo by Bob Mahoney / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved)

The quirky subjects of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy and Syfy’s Deadly Class aren’t the only motley crews of misfit comic-book characters to hit our screens this year. Doom Patrol is premiering on DC Universe on Friday, February 15, and it promises to reimagine the original’s beloved super-weirdos with spunk, angst, and a whole lot of action.

The series, about a traumatized team of people who all suffered horrible accidents that gave them super-abilities, is a spin-off of DC’s Titans (which is currently Certified Fresh at 82%). The reluctant heroes from the series’ comic-book source material are set to play central characters: Cliff “Robotman” Steele (voiced by Brendan Fraser, performed by Riley Shanahan), Rita Farr/Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), and Larry “Negative Man” Trainor (Matt Bomer). Rounding out the cast are former James Bond Timothy Dalton (Licence to Kill) as mad scientist Dr. Niles Caulder/The Chief, Joivan Wade (The First Purge) as Victor Stone/Cyborg, and Diane Guerrero (Orange Is the New Black) as “Crazy Jane,” a woman with multiple personalities.

So far critics are responding positively to the show’s more “adult” take on superheroes. But will Doom Patrol: Season 1 (2019) 96% stay Fresh as its premiere approaches and reviews rack up? It’s looking good so far…

How does Doom Patrol compare with Titans?

Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 -- "Pilot" -- Photo Credit: Jace Downs / 2018 Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(Photo by Jace Downs / 2018 Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Doom Patrol boasts the better premiere. Taking that into consideration, it could very well eclipse its predecessor given time, of course. – Eric Joseph, We Got This Covered

Executive produced and written by Jeremy Carver (Supernatural, Being Human), Doom Patrol still has many of the same “mature” aspirations as Titans, including a pilot episode that not only features plenty of nudity, but also drops F-bombs as though its main point of reference for how people talk is Goodfellas and The Departed. – Kevin Yeoman, ScreenRant

Where the lack of content restrictions on DC Universe’s Titans always felt like kids getting to say curse words for the first time, [Brendan] Fraser wields them like a comedy weapon. Almost every expletive elicits a laugh, and Fraser milks them for all they’re worth. But beyond that, there’s a an incredible depth and numerous surprises to Steele’s story that you (probably) won’t see coming. – Alex Zelban, Decider 

I found the first hour of this oddball adventure far more enjoyable and consistent than DC Universe’s Titans, enlivened by sharp direction and a great ensemble. – Brian Tallerico,

Does the Acting Measure Up?

Doom Patrol -- Ep101a -- "Pilot" -- Photo Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(Photo by Quantrell D. Colbert / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved)

The strength of Doom Patrol is how the fun balances so well with the adult, dark elements, and none of that would work without both great writing and a stellar cast. – Jessica Mason, The Mary Sue

What makes it work, beyond the fun of the deconstruction, Tudyk’s always welcomingly skewering narration and the non-stop weirdness are the performances and deep grounding in the emotional lives of the characters. –Zalben

Neither Fraser nor Bomer are physically present in the roles of Robotman or Negative Man, which, on any other show might be too weird to really work, but here it just adds to the overall bizarre vibe and weird nature of the program. – Yeoman

Final Verdicts?

Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101C -- Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney / ©2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment inc. All Rights Reserved
(Photo by Bob Mahoney / ©2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment inc. All Rights Reserved)

In a most welcome and unexpected surprise, DC Universe’s Doom Patrol scores touchdowns right from the get-go. This is the superhero series to watch in 2019. – Joseph

I still cannot shake that the special effects are not even on par with Legends of Tomorrow but there is enough here that I am interested in following this show to see where it goes. – Alex Maidy, JoBlo’s Movie Emporium

The third original series from the fledgling streaming service is wonderfully bizarre and self-aware, exactly what you’d hope for comic book characters once billed as “the World’s Strangest Heroes.” – Kevin Melrose, CBR

This adaptation from executive producers Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti is just as wonderful and weird as the comic. – Mark A. Perigard, Boston Herald

Doom Patrol launches Friday, February 15 on DC Universe.

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