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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > TV Series > Birds Of Prey: The Complete Series (Warner Bros. DVD/DC Comics)

Birds of Prey: The Complete Series (Warner Bros. DVD/DC Comics)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Episodes: C+



In 2002, The WB Network attempted to make lightening strike twice by taking a different spin on the Batman Universe, like they had done successfully for Superman with Smallville a year earlier.  The series was based very loosely on the DC Comic Book series of the same name, but failed to produce a coherent and quality storyline to make the show truly standout.


The series takes place in New Gotham City where Batman is no where to be found, having fled some years earlier.  With crime still running rampant in Gotham, The Huntress (Ashley Scott) and The Oracle (Dina Meyer) have taken over Batman’s former duties.  The Huntress, Helena Kyle, is the daughter [love child] of Batman and Catwoman and is the new heir to the Wayne Estate, since Batman and in turn Bruce Wayne is MIA.  After being shot in the spine by the Joker the now crippled Barbara Gordon (former Batgirl) took on the secret identity of The Oracle and helps The Huntress solve crimes and defeat criminals from her wheel chair/computer.  Also joining the Birds of Prey team is Dinah Redmond, who is a metahuman (a mutant) with the abilities of precognitive dreams and touch telepathy; Dinah also finds out later in the series that her family lineage may give greater insight into why she has these powers.  The series follows these three women and the reluctant Detective Jesse Reese (think of her as a leery Commissioner Gordon) as they try to stamp out the evils that have plagued the streets of Gotham for way too long.


The premise sounds great, doesn’t it?  It is unfortunate, however, that the series had extremely poor follow through.  The episodes’ story arches are drab and uninspiring and for the most part are filled with teen-esc drama that is better left to series like The O.C. or Gilmore Girls.  It is understandable that the series was attempting to find a solid balance between drama, action, and the already established comic mythos, but the writing is done so poorly that any hopes of the series working out were quickly flushed away.  The series often times feels campy and is thick with poor dialogue.  If the series was truly trying to be campy and fun and not so serious, it may have worked out.  The main issue is that the series had no idea what it wanted to be and on top of all that the writers were not making anything any better.  In the end, mad props for delving deep into the DC Universe for inspirations to bring to the small screen; but over all it was a flying mess.


Though fans of the series have waited anxiously for Birds of Prey to appear on DVD the technical features of this 4-Disc set are a sad disappointment.  The picture is presented in a sloppy, matted Widescreen that lacks in all areas especially crispness, sharpness, and color.  The sound quality is equally disappointing in its overly simple Dolby Digital 2.0 track that fails to bring the presence that any super hero series deserves.  Even with the series being a dreadful mess in mythos and dialogue, this reviewer would have still liked to here the ‘BANG,’ ‘POP’ of the action sequences.


Also it should be noted that much of the series original music tracks have been changed from their original broadcast.  The musical substitutions hurt the feel of an already limping series.


The extras are sparse for the most part, but do manage to bring a few interesting features to the table.  Extras include a Bonus Unaired Pilot that is essentially the same as the ‘aired pilot,’ but with a tad more depth and character development; as well as a different actress playing Harley Quinn.  The second and final extra available on this set is Gotham Girls: The Complete Series, which is all 30 episodes of the animated Web-based series that featured the female heroes and rogues of Gotham City.  Gotham Girls: The Complete Series (Seasons 1-3) is probably even more unknown than Birds of Prey; essentially it was an animated series that appeared on the WB Website at the time Birds of Prey was on the air, obviously hoping to give the mother series some hype and a ratings boost.  The episodes do not add anything to the Birds of Prey Series, but are fun to watch nevertheless with each episode funning about two minutes long.


Birds of Prey was a nice try, but it is no Batman.  This reviewer has to put forth that he madly respects WB for trying something new with this particular series, but all in all it just did not work.  The characters and storylines were campy, yet riddled with teen angst and in the end fell apart before it even began.  It is nice to see the entirety of the WB/DC Universe slowly but surely coming to DVD and Blu-Ray, but other than checking another title off the list this reviewer can not recommend this series to anyone but hardcore fans.  This goose is cooked.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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