Out of all the DC shows, Doom Patrol has been one of the consistently good ones. It somewhat remains a miracle that it hasn’t been cancelled, considering all the bizarre and out-of-this-world things that have happened on the show so far. Doom Patrol Season 3 is the first season of the series to be on HBO Max after moving from the now-defunct DC Universe streaming app.
The Strangest Heroes Of All
Doom Patrol Season 3 picks up directly after the ending of Season 2, but even if you’ve forgotten what’s happened since, don’t worry, because the new season moves forward and doesn’t dwell much on what transpired in the previous season. The team is still reeling from the death of one of their own from last season, and so everyone is recovering from the traumatic twists and turns of Season 2.
The crux of Doom Patrol since the first season has always been the exploration of the character’s deepest regrets and internal emotional issues. It’s perhaps the best live-action DC Comics series out there in terms of embracing the weirdness and zaniness of the comics and source material.
The series is best when even with all the strangeness of interdimensional beings and literal living streets, there’s still room for a lot of authentic and moving human drama. None of it feels forced or cringe-worthy, unlike other DC Comics TV series like the ones on CW (Arrow, The Flash, etc.) or even compared to HBO’s own Titans.
The MVP of the series remains Brendan Fraser’s Cliff Steele AKA Robotman. Despite being restricted to an unexpressive robotic body and face, Fraser has managed to convey levels of complex emotions via his voice and mannerisms alone, which is an impressive feat. The Brendan Fraser renaissance/revelation continues and it’s all thanks to Doom Patrol that the actor is able to showcase his amazing acting chops after years of being stuck in smaller roles.
It’s bizarre but apt that two of the best characters are voiced and physically acted by different people. Most viewers won’t even realise it unless they look it up. Cliff Steele AKA Robotman is voiced by Brendan Fraser and physically acted by Riley Shanahan, while Larry Trainor AKA Negative Man is voiced by Matt Bomer and physically acted by Matthew Zuk.
What does it say about the series’ tone when the introduction of new character Lara De Mille AKA Madame Rouge (played by Michelle Gomez of Doctor Who‘s Missy fame) is by drilling out of the ground with her time machine and immediately relieving herself by peeing right there in the middle of the street. Her performance here is probably a bit more subdued version of her Missy in Doctor Who, and that’s what Michelle Gomez excels at.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Doom Patrol Season 3 (which I’ve included at the end of this review), you’ll also know that this season introduces the iconic villains known as The Brotherhood Of Evil. In the comics, the Brotherhood Of Evil was founded by the Brain and his partner, the talking French gorilla with a machine gun named Monsieur Mallah. They consisted of many other villains as well, including Madame Rouge. This is their historic live-action debut, but they’ve previously appeared in animation before; most notably in the 2003 Teen Titans animated series on Cartoon Network.
This version of The Brotherhood Of Evil is unexpected, to say the least. They’re funnier and prone to jokes, which is in line with the tone of the series. The Brain is supposed to be a criminal mastermind but this version is more akin to a mob boss or something, while the CGI for Monsieur Mallah is great… for what little screentime they have. Unfortunately, they barely appear in the first five episodes of this season. That’s almost five hours with only one scene featuring the duo, which is a shame.
If (like me) you’re going into Doom Patrol Season 3 hoping to see The Brain and Monsieur Mallah in all their glory, it’s better to temper your expectations from the get-go. I’ve only seen the first five episodes and the remaining five episodes might feature a lot more of them, but yeah, there won’t be much of them earlier on. As a consolation, you do get a taste of Michelle Gomez’s Madame Rouge, so at least there’s that.
There’s also not much actual action in Doom Patrol Season 3’s first five episodes, just like in previous seasons, but well, it was never a conventional superhero series in the first place. Each character is still struggling with their inner demons, and the series continues to probe into that, as viewers go on this personal and intimate journey with the characters. With the introduction of The Brotherhood Of Evil (who is one of the main arch-nemesis of Doom Patrol and the Teen Titans), perhaps we’ll see a crossover between Doom Patrol and Titans in the near future? Only time will tell.
Of Butts And Zombies
Once again, the series accomplishes what other series like Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy can only hope to achieve. There’s probably no other superhero show as eager to embrace its kooky side as Doom Patrol is (DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow is an honourable mention, I guess), and that’s the legacy of this show.
Plus, where else can we witness Were-Butts (yes, you read that right, like Were-Wolves, but with butts), the main characters turning into actual zombies or Brendan Fraser spontaneously speaking and swearing in Japanese? Me? I’m in it just for more of Brendan Fraser’s glorious swearing.
FINAL SCORE: 80/100
We received an early access screener of the first five episodes of Doom Patrol Season 3 courtesy of WarnerMedia.
It is slated to premiere on the same day as the U.S on 23 September 2021 on HBO GO. A new episode premieres every subsequent Thursday. Meanwhile, the entirety of Seasons 1 and 2 are currently streaming on HBO GO.