Doom Patrol Is the Rare Character-Driven Superhero Show - VRGyani News and Media

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Friday, September 10, 2021

Doom Patrol Is the Rare Character-Driven Superhero Show

A Doom Patrol episode is not made up of epic conflicts between good and evil on a galactic scale, where the fate of the entire universe rests on the sound judgment of a proverbial hero. Of course, there’s always a healthy dose of absurd calamities found in the HBO Max series. Entire story arcs feature a menagerie of villains brandishing outlandish schemes attached to their comic book origins. However, villainy still doesn’t take center stage. In the current Hollywood boom of comic book films and television series, Doom Patrol stands out by centering the emotional journey of its heroes.

Similar to another massive DC project, Joker, Doom Patrol creates character-driven narratives formulated to display an emotional depth often uncommon to the genre of superheroes, because the series focuses on heroes who didn’t necessarily want the job. Almost all of the main cast that makes up the team’s roster lived particularly normal...moderately successful lives; by approaching the idea of a hero from a different angle, the series acts as a redemptive arc, lamenting where the characters originated and the lives they’ve lost while acknowledging the strange new path that lies ahead. This journey to accepting the new life that they lead choosing to help others, despite their chasms of personal growth, still ahead resituate this series as a step above other superhero TV series.

Narrated by a madman, the first season of Doom Patrol found a fledgling team concerned by the disappearance of the man that brought them all together, the Chief (Timothy Dalton). This being the central conflict of the season, each member deals with their connection to the Chief, even including the person who abducted him, the aforementioned madman narrator, Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk). Through convoluted and often mind-bending storylines guided by the perception that Mr. Nobody elicits in his narration, characters are given their quest through selfhood.

Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser), a former Nascar driver loses his life due to a wreck he caused that supposedly killed his whole family. Nevertheless, this man's brain is brought back to life and placed in a robot. (This is the sort of show where that's the most logical course of action for him to regain his old life.) Cliff’s growth comes with him attempting to reconcile the horrible things he has done as a father during the 80s — philandering and parental neglect mostly. Of course, in any other series, Cliff’s retribution would come through fighting a huge monster and possibly sacrificing himself before offering a heartfelt apology to all of those he’s hurt, but the Doom Patrol squad usually fights those monsters while persisting in its characters dealing with their issues.

RELATED: 'Doom Patrol': Season 3 Wraps Filming as New Set Photo Reveals "Best Season Ever" According to Joivan Wade

These journeys are interwoven into the narrative, with characters learning that ignoring their past and their current lives leads to nothing but more strife, from Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) allowing Cliff to replace the Chief as her father figure recentering herself in control of her own body, Rita Farr (April Bowlby) building the courage to save her teammates despite her appearance, Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer) fighting alongside his Negative Spirit without loathing its presence, or Cyborg (Jovian Wade) learning to be Victor Stone, and letting go of the insurmountable notion of hero.

Misery may love company but in this case, the company has made these characters better; the culmination of this growth is most indicative in the final episodes of Season 1. The team finds the Chief by delving into aspects of his past and the connections each member has with him —illustrated by an unsettling amount of run-ins with enemies from the Chief’s past. Finding him in a white void, where Mr. Nobody resides, the Doom Patrol are set to wage a mighty battle to save their savior. his discovery, however, is laced with barbed revelations that threaten to undo the introspective work the heroes have undergone.

Instead of a rescue mission, this becomes a revelation about the nature of the man each hero had a connection to and looked to as a beacon: The Chief caused the accidents that have placed the characters in all of their self-loathing hells. Spiraling out as a result of this event are possible futures, rewrites, and back-tracking, carried out by the team through dream sequences to avoid their new reality. By accepting the revelation that the Chief manufactured their traumas to find a way to live forever and take care of his daughter, but the team saves the day. For, while that's a plot twist that would lead anyone to villainy, despite the awful implications the team still chooses to be superheroes — saving the day with a whole truckload of baggage attached to themselves.

A superhero show like no other, Doom Patrol envisions a grim yet grounded territory for its heroes to weather. As ironic as it may seem for a source material associated with absurd art movements and philosophical concepts, this series grasps its own kind of reality to explain the sets of emotions that color the lives of reluctant superheroes. The story legitimizes the emotional journey of these characters by encouraging to work through their issues, rather than saving the day and thus being magically absolved of all their problems. The unveiling of the Chief as the true villain, the one who enacted the journey of all the heroes within the Doom Patrol, brings forward a novel twist for the heroes: All of the members of the team must reconcile their new lives with the things that they've learned were lies.

Every member of the team is thus left endeavoring to lead a new life despite the lies that held a past life together falling apart, all in order to take up the mantle of the superhero. Doom Patrol nudging toward this direction is what makes this superhero series something special: a study in character that is squarely focused on growing its subjects through introspection, rather than the external markers of righteously heroic feats.

Doom Patrol returns for Season 3 on September 23, 2021.

KEEP READING: 'Doom Patrol' Season 3 Trailer Reveals Madame Rouge on the Scene and the Sisterhood of Dada



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