Doom Patrol Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: Doom Patrol
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 15
  • Discs: 3 (Blu-ray)
  • Network: DC Universe (Warner Brothers)
  • Cast: Alan Tudyk, Diane Guerrero, April Bowlby, Matt Bomer, Timothy Dalton, Brendan Fraser, Joivan Wade, Phil Morris
  • DVD: Widescreen Blu-Ray (R1, NTSC)

This review contains spoilers for the first season of Doom Patrol.

Doom Patrol is weird, wonderful, strange, and extremely good – and it’s not your same old-same old superhero show. It’s a deeply psychological show that aims to really show what mental illness is like for the people that have it, which is a vastly different approach to a superhero show. Nevermind being screw-ups, the Doom Patrol is doomed to never be successful.

The pilot and first episode of Doom Patrol are narrated by Mr. Nobody, whom it turns out is the villain. His narration pops-up occasionally throughout the series, especially in the Penultimate Patrol and the finale. Each episode of the series also is the “blank Patrol” or the “something Patrol”. Also, the Chief, played by Timothy Dalton, is kidnapped by Mr. Nobody in those first few episodes, so the Doom Patrol are trying to find and rescue their chief, who we do see occasionally in the series – including a flashback episode that somewhat explains why Niles Calder is interested in the unusual in the first place.

The characters are:

“Crazy Jane” – she has 64 multiple personalities, each with their own special abilities. The personalities exist in the “underground” a place we visit once. Jane is the primary. Everyone calls Jane by her name of Jane, though her birth name is possibly “Kay Challis” we learn later. Other personalities include: Hammerhead – a foul-mouthed, angry, extremely strong woman (in the underground she is bald and a punk); Baby Doll – with pigtails, and a giggly manner she’s both sweet and annoying in equal manner; Penny Farthing – a young British Cockney girl who’s purpose is to run; Silver Tongue – when she speaks her words appear in copper letters which she can then use as a weapon; and The Secretary – who we only see in the Underground, a stern woman, with severe dress and hair, but she seems to be in charge of keeping Jane’s head together – organizing the personalities and preventing further harm from coming to Jane.

Cliff Steele (Robotman) – a race car driver, who is in a horrible accident. The Chief transplants his brain into a robot body. At first we, the audience, like Cliff think he was in an accident on the race track. But he avoids that, then is a normal traffic accident late at night. The accident kills his wife, and he thinks his daughter too, but later he discovers she survived. Cliff had been raised in an abusive home, and he and his wife fought constantly and both had constant affairs.

Rita Farr (Elasti-girl) – A movie actress in the 1950s, she complains about a “disfigured” cameraman then falls through a wooden pier into an African river, where some strange substance enters her. Now her skin and form aren’t solid and she has little to no control of the situation. We usually see Rita losing control of her form by her face drooping or her legs turning into a goopy mess.

Larry Trainer (Negative Man) – A test pilot in the late 50s/early 60s – Larry is testing a new plane when an extra-terrestrial creature enters the plane. He crashes – and is rushed to a secret government facility. He is extremely radioactive and has to wear special bandages to prevent harm to others (he discovers this when he accidentally kills all the doctors and nurses at the first hospital he’s taken to). The creature inside him can leave, but when the Energy Spirit leaves, Larry is knocked out cold. Larry is also gay but hides it from nearly everyone.

Vic Stone (Cyborg) – He’s been Cyborg for an unspecified amount of time, but ends-up joining the Doom Patrol due to complications. He’s a friend of the Chief but has a complicated relationship with his father, Dr. Silas Stone, whom he doesn’t quite trust.

All of these characters face serious mental issues. Jane is the most obvious – her multiple personality disorder was caused by abuse – and the meta abilities were caused by the same agency that got their kidnapped Larry, giving her some sort of injection. At times Jane is the most normal of the group.

Rita’s ability is a visualization of body dysmorphia. As an actress, especially from the 1950s, her looks were her livelihood – and we often see Rita checking her makeup in a compact, or sitting in front of a makeup mirror. As we learn more about her, we find out she was also a victim of the “casting couch” – forced to provide “favors” to get roles. Rita Farr isn’t even her real name, but her stage name – further complicating how she sees herself.

Larry cannot accept he is gay. He has a wife and children, a job in the military as a test pilot, and pretty much has faked his entire life to create an appearance of “being normal”. He’ll have the occasional affair or fling with a man but cannot commit or even admit who he really is. Through the season, we see Larry slowly grow to accept who he really is.

Cliff is the son of an abusive father, who becomes abusive and a womanizer as an adult. But he also, despite the bravado, is close to accepting his faults and becoming a better person.

Even Mr. Nobody has only one talent – to manipulate people (and he manipulates all of the Doom Patrol, even the Chief, throughout the season). He has ideas about weapons and such that he thinks will gain him membership in the Brotherhood of Evil, but his lack of follow-through gets him fired instead, and his wife leaves him.

Vic Stone is still coming to terms with being Cyborg and is deeply distrustful of his father. He’s trying to find his own place in the world.

Besides Mr. Nobody, the villain of the piece is The Bureau of Normalcy – a “secret government agency” that both Larry and Niles (the Chief) had worked for at one time. The Bureau seeks to lock-up, study, turn into weapons, or just out and out destroy anything that isn’t “normal”.

Doom Patrol is visually stunning, weird, wonderful, and a must-see. Highly recommended.

White Collar Episode Review – Out of the Box

  • Series Title:  White Collar
  • Season:  1
  • Cast:  Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen
  • Original Network:  USA Network
  • DVD Production Network:  20th Century FOX
  • Originally published on my Live Journal (now hosted on Dreamwidth): 03/09/2010

LOTS of SPOILERS – be warned

This review is my original reaction to the last episode of Season 1 of White Collar, “Out of the Box”. This is originally posted as it was to my Live Journal, although I am fixing a few typos and formatting issues.

Man, oh man – the further along the episode went the more of a disaster I was expecting. It just felt like Neal was a doomed man – walking to his death.

Things I really didn’t expect – Fowler going after Elizabeth. That completely surprised me. It probably shouldn’t have, but it did.

However, the scene between Neal and Peter on Peter’s deck (or porch or whatever), was one of my favorites from the entire season. I especially liked the way Neal reminded Peter he had said that ‘Kate was his weak point’ and then pointed out that Elizabeth was Peter’s weak point. It wasn’t mean spirited or vicious on Neal’s part but more of a way to get Peter to understand.

I also really loved the scene of June saying goodbye to Neal. I almost cried. And the scene where Neal said goodbye to Moz also made me almost cry, though I figured they’d be in contact with each other again.

The last scene though man oh man – the forums are going to go NUTS! There was so much angst in Peter’s face. And everything he said made sense, but all Neal could think of was Kate. It just HURT to watch. And when Neal handed over his FBI credentials and actually thanked Peter for them, oh man.

And THEN Kate’s plane blows up. Jeeezzz!

The emotions and yelling from both Neal and Peter, and the way Peter holds Neal back was just exquisite angst. And the way Neal kept struggling in Peter’s arms, trying to get to the plane – and Peter held him back, oh man. Wow! They weren’t kidding about it being a shocking finale. I can NOT wait to see the fall out from this.

I did notice a couple of things.

First, I think Neal was meant to be on that plane. I think next season we will see Peter telling Neal this, and maybe even having Neal playing dead.

Second, you can see Kate or someone in the plane just until Neal turns around to head back to the plane. I hate to say it but she might have sneaked out the back door, or it might not have been her.

I think Fowler set it up as a self-cleaning operation. Fowler had the explosion set on a timer. Neal should have been there – if Peter hadn’t shown up… if he and Neal hadn’t talked… if Neal hadn’t taken a moment to actually think about maybe staying with Peter and in New York… Neal would have been a goner. That should be the first thing Season 2 will deal with.

Things we STILL don’t know.

1. Was Kate loyal to Neal or not? We never, ever really saw her. It might not have been her on the plane. Heck, she could have actually set the explosion and slipped out (her silhouette mysteriously disappears) though I think it was on a timer (otherwise they would have waited until Neal was on the plane).

2. What exactly was Mentor? Was Neal really working for Fowler that whole time?

3. Who was Fowler reporting to? Somebody was pulling his strings too.

4. WHAT’s the deal with the music box? The thing has turned into a MacGuffin, and I want to know what it means!!! Especially, since as part of illegal spoils of war – it can’t be traded, sold, or even transported across borders.

White Collar Season 6

  • Title:  White Collar
  • Season: 6 (Final)
  • Episodes: 6
  • Discs: 2
  • Cast:  Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen, Sharif Atkins, Marsha Thomason
  • Network:  USA Network
  • DVD Format:  Widescreen, color, DVD, R1, NTSC

Season 5 of White Collar was short, only 13 episodes, and this, the final season, is only 6 – not the 16 I’d normally expect from the show, and USA Network. So I found myself wondering what happened. The season opens where the previous season ended, with Neal kidnapped. Peter rescues him – but not before Neal’s made a deal with the devil so to speak, to get into the mysterious gang of thieves known only as the Pink Panthers. Also, already newly accepted into the Panthers is Neal’s old nemesis, Matthew Keller. Neal works with Peter to take down the Panthers, and avoid trouble with Keller. Meanwhile, Keller has a deal of his own, working with Interpol to take down the Panthers himself – he says.

Amid a few surprises – finding out Peter’s wife Elizabeth is pregnant, meeting Mozzie’s legal wife, we see Neal struggle again with the choice between remaining a conman or gaining his freedom. The story develops quickly with the entire White Collar team not only out to capture the Panthers, but out to first figure out the heist and later to stop it with the thieves red handed. Keller’s Interpol handler even has a French accent.

In the single episode finale, we see Neal say goodbye to June and Mozzie, the heist go down, Peter and the FBI catching everyone, but Keller catching up to Neal and shooting him – dead. Peter catches Keller after the deed, kills him, then finds a dying Neal in an ambulance. Peter in shock, takes Mozzie to the hospital morgue to look at Neal’s “dead” body. Because, you guessed it, the last scene has Peter figuring out that Neal had faked his death – and we see Neal walking the streets of Paris.

OK, so Neal pulls a Sherlock Holmes – or a White Collar twist on the ultimate caper film of all time – The Sting. In the end, I felt the “happy” ending was unsatisfying – and in a real way, I would have preferred it if Neal had actually died – since that would have been very sad, yet appropriate ending. Though, knowing Neal’s out there, so to speak, means the show could be picked up again. At first, I though Neal faking his death meant he had listened to Mozzie, and even Keller, and he wasn’t trusting Peter – so he let Peter think he was dead. But, even though the Pink Panthers (what a name!) were caught – if they were an international syndicate of thieves – well then. Neal would never be safe. People Neal cares about would never be safe. Neal had to “die” to not simply get his freedom but to guarantee everyone’s safety, including Peter’s. So, Neal was protecting Peter, like Sherlock Holmes protected Watson by pretending to die at Reichenbach Falls.

White Collar Season 5 DVD Review (Spoilers)

  • Series Title:  White Collar
  • Season:  5
  • Episodes:  13
  • Discs:  4 (4 episodes per disc, last disc includes 1 episode and special features)
  • Cast:  Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen, Sharif Atkins, Marsha Thomason
  • Original Network:  USA Network
  • DVD Production Network:  20th Century FOX 

I actually was somewhat disappointed by Season 5 of White Collar. The season felt flat, and the end of the season felt rushed. Early in the season, the episodes just seemed very average – almost like they were recycling and updating left-over unproduced scripts from previous seasons. The Codex Treasure Hunt was reminiscent of the music box from the first season, and even Neal’s doomed relationship with Rebecca was like his relationship with Kate or Alex. That Rebecca turned out to be almost the female Neal Caffrey, with training by MI5 was a nice twist, though. I did like the brief appearance of Warren Kole as Special Agent David Siegel, though it almost felt like USA Network was finishing out his contract after the quick cancellation of his series, Common Law.

Also, I thought this was the season that I had missed most of because I had no satellite TV for part of last Winter. It turns out that because the season was cut back from 16 episodes to 13, I’d only missed about three and a half episodes. Still, it was worth getting the season set (I received it as a gift) and I’m planning on buying Season 6, which is the series final season.

White Collar is a fun, adventure/drama series on USA Network. The series premise is that Neal Caffrey is a forger and conman, who is caught, after a ten-year chase by FBI Agent Peter Burke, and escapes prison in the pilot. Caught again, by Burke, Neal bargains to stay free by becoming a CI – criminal informant. Caffrey and Burke quickly obtain the highest case closure rate for a CI and handler. The series dramatic tension usually comes from Neal’s struggle between doing what’s right and following the law. Or Neal having to choose between his friend’s Mozzie’s desire to have him return to “the Life” and Peter’s desire to have Neal leave behind his conman ways and become a law-abiding citizen.

Superman Unbound

  • Title: Superman Unbound
  • Director: James Tucker
  • Voice Director:  Andrea Romano
  • Date: 2013
  • Studio: Warner Brothers Animation
  • Genre: Action, Animation
  • Cast: Matt Bomer, John Noble, Stana Katic, Molly Quinn
  • Format: Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format: R1, NTSC

“Must be awful being you. Most powerful man in the world, and you still can’t control the women in your life.” – Lois to Clark

“I am the knowledge and strength of 10,000 worlds, and flesh and machine. I am becoming everything.” – Brainiac

“I think it’s a bug in his programming, that cyborg core inside him, it wants to know everything there is to know in the Galaxy.” – Jor-El
“So he said.” – Superman
“But that’s impossible, worlds are living things, their knowledge is always growing and changing. So, he has to stop them, turn them into these fake versions instead. You can’t control a living thing without destroying what’s alive about it.” – Jor-El

The animation in Superman Unbound is of very high quality, especially in the space scenes, and it’s much better than the disappointing animation in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. But I was very happy to see quality animation again, after the disappointing Flash film. This film features Supergirl (Kara) Superman’s cousin, as well as Superman, and the villian Brainiac, and is based on the graphic novel, Superman: Brainiac, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.

The film’s opening gambit has Supergirl and Superman rescuing Lois Lane from military kidnappers in black. Lois complains that she has to keep her relationship with Clark Kent a secret.

Then a meteor falls towards Pheonix. However, it isn’t a meteor but a probe, occupied by a killer robot and with an transmitter. Superman defeats the robot, and destroys the transmitter and probe – but brings the robot to his Fortress of Solitude to study. There he runs into Kara, his cousin, aka Supergirl, who is freaked out. She recognizes the robot as having attacked her home city of Kandor on Krypton and causing the city to completely disappear. She tells Superman the villain’s name, Brainiac and that he will do the same to Metropolis on Earth.

Superman leaves Earth to deal with Brainiac before he gets to Earth, and Supergirl deals with issues on Earth, except in Metropolis. Eventually, Lois uses Jimmy’s emergency call watch, and Supergirl arrives. Lois confronts her about avoiding Metropolis, to which Supergirl warns her to get out of the city, visit the Kent’s farm in Smallville – go anywhere, just leave. Lois gets Kara to open up and finds out she’s afraid Brainiac will take Metropolis and destroy Earth, like he did Krypton.

Meanwhile, Superman listens to a recording of a Kryptonian science report on Brainiac and travels to another planet where he’s attacking. Superman helps destroy the robots on the alien planet. However, the planet’s sun explodes and Superman is stunned unconscious and taken aboard Brainiac’s ship. He awakens in a lab and destroys the robots analyzing him. Superman discovers cities in bell jars and “specimens” stored on Brainiac’s ship. He discovers Kandor also in a bottle. Superman runs into Brainiac, fights him, loses because he doesn’t have as much strength away from a yellow sun, and is transported inside Kandor. However, in his scan of Superman’s thoughts, Brainiac learns of Earth and heads his ship (shaped like a giant, black metal skull) there.

Inside Kandor, the micro sized city hasn’t changed in over thirty years, plus it has a red sun, so Superman’s powers are limited. But he discovers Kara’s parents, who fill him in some on Brainiac. He’s a cyborg with cybernetic and computer parts. But, Kor-El believes the system has a “bug” – because Brainiac want’s to know everything – an impossible task in an ever-changing galaxy. So, Brainiac has become an obsessive collector instead, stealing a world’s knowledge, taking a city and it’s inhabitants for his collection, then destroying the world so it cannot change. The city becomes locked in a bell jar, like a preserved butterfly on a board. Superman manages to escape Kandor, but promises to return and rescue the Kryptonian city. Recharged by another yellow sun, Superman picks up the bottle Kandor, and starts destroying Brainiac’s ship, before taking Kandor to his Fortress of Solitude.

Brianiac awakes and repairs his damaged ship.

Superman tells Kara her parents are alive inside Kandor, and he plans to take the city to a habitable planet with a red sun.

Brainiac and his robots attack Earth, and take Metropolis the way he had taken Kandor. Superman and Supergirl fight Brainiac and his robots. Superman defeats Brainiac by flooding him with sensations – sounds, smells, the feel of mud, et cetera. Meanwhile, Supergirl stops the missile that Brainiac had fired from his ship at the sun. Once Brainiac is defeated, Metropolis is returned to it’s normal spot, as is Kandor. Kara is reunited with her parents. At the end, Clark proposes to Lois in the Daily Planet newsroom.

The animation in this film was excellent, and the voice cast did an excellent job. I liked that Brainiac was more of a obsessive collector of cities, intelligent beings, and information, rather than simply knowledge and information. And the plot made it clear, it wasn’t gathering information that was an issue, but how Brainiac went about it. Essentially, Brainiac was like a Victorian natural history student, cataloging, in this case, the galaxy. Though, that plot also reminded me, strongly, of the Doctor Who episode, “Ghost Light”. One thing that concerned me was that Superman seemed to have very little concern for all the other cities on Brainiac’s ship – at one point he tries to destroy the ship, despite all the other cities with presumably living “specimens” inside. Later, Superman mentions resettling all the other cities on habitable planets – but I wondered if he realized what a big job that would be – there were hundreds of bell jars, from hundreds of planets. I wondered why Superman didn’t call in the Green Lantern Corps to help – it’s exactly the sort of thing they are trained for. But still, overall, it’s a good movie with a lot of action and battles. Superman fans will probably really love it.

Recommendation: See it!
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Next Film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind