After the first season of HBO Max’s Peacemaker show comes to a close, plenty of HBO Max users will be seeking anything to replace the void left by John Cena. Jame Gunn’s successful show will return in the future, but in the meanwhile, there’s another series that will do everything Peacemaker does just as well, if not better: the wonderfully strange and incredibly heartbreaking Doom Patrol.
Doom Patrol is about a unique group of fictional characters played by Brendan Fraser as Robotman AKA Cliff Steele, Matt Bomer as Larry Trainor, Joivan Wade as Cyborg AKA Vic Stone, Diane Guerrero as Jane, and April Bowlby as Rita Farr, and is loosely based on Grant Morrison’s iconic run on the comic series. Timothy Dalton, their wheelchair-bound leader, is in charge. There’s nothing else on the air quite like it currently. Let’s look at a couple of the reasons why this program stands out among the current slew of superhero stories.
Surreal Meets Silly
If you had to describe Doom Patrol in one word, “weird” would probably be the best choice. To give you a taste of the show’s weird universe, there’s a guy entitled Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man (Alec Mapa) who, among other things, obtains a Velociraptor head that he continually disputes with as a result of a botched experiment. This is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the strangeness that is going on.
The series, on the other hand, goes to tremendous efforts to guarantee that there is a cause for the lunacy, no matter how bizarre it becomes. Surreal and Dadaist moments are employed to provide chuckles as well as to probe the psyches of the characters and convey a gripping tale. Doom Patrol is frequently ridiculous, yet it always serves a purpose other than shock value.
One of the most effective ways in which the program takes advantage of its odd environment is in its investigation of identity. This mostly focuses on gendered sexuality investigations. The character Larry Trainor, for example, is homosexual, as is the actor who plays him, Matt Bomer. Larry has difficulty expressing his sexuality as a result of his upbringing in an old-fashioned environment and his current deformity, which necessitates him wearing bandages throughout all periods.
Danny the Street, who, as their name indicates, is a sentient street, also appears in the series. Most series wouldn’t have a non-binary street as a recurrent character, but Doom Patrol’s unique reality allows for their gender to be recognized.
Doom Patrol, Assemble!
The great performances from the main and supporting characters keep the program grounded when the narrative gets crazy. Brendan Fraser and Diane Guerrero, in particular, stand out among the ensemble group. Former racing car driver Cliff Steele is played by Fraser, with actor Riley Shanahan portraying the Robotman costume. Cliff’s stubborn personality might make him a disagreeable character, but Fraser’s vocal portrayal lends him so much compassion, even while he’s hurling f-bombs left and right.
Guerrero’s portrayal of Jane is equally impressive. Jane suffers from dissociative identity disorder, and she has 64 separate identities (different personalities). Any actor would find playing such a complicated character difficult, but Guerrero makes it appear easy with a remarkable performance that is both subtle and dignified.
This Tin Man Has a Heart
The series would be interesting even if it only had a terrific cast and a colorful premise, but the authors definitely sought to develop something with deeper depth. Each member of the Doom Patrol underwent their own horrific event in order to earn their powers, and the episode gracefully addresses their different hardships. Unlike many other heroic origin myths, their terrible backstories aren’t one-dimensional.
Each member of the Doom Patrol has overcome distinct adversity in order to become the warrior they are today, but their struggles go well beyond that. Their pain is not neatly contained inside a single occurrence, as it is in real life; it is chaotic and obtuse. The series is essentially about how the individuals deal with the trauma, how these shattered individuals deal with their previous sins, and the pain they have suffered at the hands of others.
To consider Doom Patrol a superhero series is a stretch; its core characters are far more dysfunctional than powerful, and they wind up making matters worse as much as they improve it. Despite this, the series provides all of the action and humor that a superhero show should while also develop well-rounded and emotionally flawed characters. These different components come together to create a spectacle that is both distinctive and fascinating.