So, out of curiosity, I got the first disc of the short-lived Birds of Prey TV series starring Ashley Scott and Dina Meyer.

I was impressed by the fact that they showed Batman, Catwoman, Batgirl and The Joker in costume! I wasn't expecting that. The Writer kind of mashed Pre-Crisis Earth-2 lore with then-current DC lore with some of his own stuff thrown in. Liked the scene straight out of The Killing Joke with Joker shooting Barbara Gordon, probably the best shot scene on the whole disc! He wasn't very good at writing dialogue, though, with some lines sounding corny and others downright ridiculous.

The acting is bad most of the time. It's almost as if they can't decide whether to play it serious or campy and have decided to go back and forth. The end result is not good.

Overall, I won't bother watching the rest of the series as it just seems to drag on until the Birds catch up with Harley Quinn (which I'm wondering if they do by the end of the show). Despite several shower scenes, scenes of alcoholic drinking and the fact that Huntress works in a bar, the show seems targeted for young teen girls (maybe to get them interested in comics). Again, it's as if the show's Producers aren't sure which audience they want to target.

Has anyone else seen the show? Thoughts?

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My wife loved the BoP TV show when it was on the air. I thought it was okay to start, and just as it was getting better it was cancelled. Tracy found someone online who had recorded the show to DVD and bought the entire series from him. Later, we had to buy the official release, too. (There’s a different pilot, for one thing.)

I remember Tracy’s side of a telephone conversation from when BoP was still on the air. She was trying to convince a friend of hers to watch it, and she filled in the other half of the conversation later, after she’d hung up.

TRACY: One of the characters is the Huntress, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman.

FRIEND: Which movie is that from?

TRACY: It’s not in a movie, it’s from the comics.

FRIEND: Okay, what about that?

TRACY: Do you want my version or Jeff’s?

FRIEND: What’s Jeff’s?

TRACY: Well, on pre-Crisis Earth-2…

FRIEND: STOP! STOP! STOP! What’s yours?

If anyone is interested in trading something for our dubbed BoP DVD set, let me know.

It occurs to me as I read this that the show might have worked better if it DIDN'T require knowledge of current or past comics, but existed entirely in its own "world".  THE FLASH seemed to manage this nicely.  If they'd had Black Canary instead of a new hybrid version of The Huntress it might have made things simpler. For example, if they'd had Black Canary, the last thing to do would have been ever mentioning Green Arrow (unless it cropped up in a much-later episode where the entire focus of the story might be introducing Dinah's "old boyfriend" that we never met and who she never talks about). Perhaps Barbara / Oracle could "simply" have been the daughter of a Police Commissioner (now retired?) who might be mentioned once but never seen.

 

I only ever saw the 1st episode, and while I thought it was "okay", somehow I wasn't inspired to come back for any of the later ones. I really think, as cool an idea as it might have seemed to have the Earth-2 Huntress (daughter of Batman & Catwoman!!!), it just seems to me it was setting people up for confusion, whether you came at it as a comics fan, a fan of the 60's BATMAN tv show (!!!), or neither.

I saw the Birds of Prey pilot way back when the show was new -- or, rather, I saw a VHS advance copy because, at the time, I worked for a media company where I could score such things. I didn't know that pilot was different than the one that was aired; the first pilot featured Sherilyn Fenn, who is best known for Twin Peaks, as Harley Quinn. I haven't compared the two, and I don't know why the part was recast.

 

Somewhere down the line I got the DVD collection of the whole series, which has all 13 episodes, including both pilots, plus the Gotham Girls animated webisodes.

 

I've watched a few of the Birds of Prey episodes but I can't and don't ever expect to watch them all. I wanted to like it, but I think the thing that hobbled it the most was that it was a Batman show without Batman. They needed to get Batman out of the picture, fine, I'm okay with that, really I am, because comics is comics and TV is TV -- but they needed a better or different answer than what they came up with. 

 

Maybe that means Huntress isn't Batman's and Catwoman's daughter; after all, in the post-Crisis DC, she isn't. Maybe Barbara Gordon never was Batgirl. Maybe it wasn't The Joker who put her in the wheelchair. Maybe she isn't in a wheelchair at all.

 

I just felt the whole "Batman left town out of despair" thing cast a pall on everything, so much so that I didn't even want to muster the energy to object to the mish-mash of what they came up with for Dinah. A teenage runaway with metahuman powers who is taken in by Oracle and Huntress? It didn't work for me. I don't know how it worked for someone who hasn't read every issue of every Birds of Prey series, like I have -- but then, as I said before, I am willing to forgive variations from the comic and TV versions of any given property. But that whole thing didn't work.

Sounds like we're thinking the same thing.

 

Including Harley Quinn as a major running plotline just added to the "Batman" thing. I don't recall Harley being in ANY of the BOP comics I read.  She had been introduced in the 90's WB cartoon series (and it was some years before she turned up in the comics), so it seems they were also trying to appeal to the cartoon's fans.  I'd forgotten about Dinah, not having seen any of those, but I do remember shaking my head in dismay when a friend of mine described what they did with her. 

Once again, it sounds like a group of Hollywood types with little interest in the actual source material were haphazardly tossing around ideas and trying to come up with some combination that sounded "cool!" to them without really coming up with something coherent.  My best friend loved the show, despite its problems, but then he has a much higher tolerance for "alternate versions" of characters than I do.

Henry R. Kujawa said:

Once again, it sounds like a group of Hollywood types with little interest in the actual source material were haphazardly tossing around ideas and trying to come up with some combination that sounded "cool!" to them without really coming up with something coherent.  My best friend loved the show, despite its problems, but then he has a much higher tolerance for "alternate versions" of characters than I do.



I didn't get the feeling that these producers had little interest in the actual source material; I got the sense that they were making an honest effort to do right by the concept.

 

There are plenty of examples where a producer will take on a property and declare it's trash and they're going to change it -- I specifically recall Fish Police, an animated TV show in the early '90s that was based on an indie comics title. But I don't think that's what happened here.

 

I no longer think that it's wrong for a producer to make changes in a property when adapting it from one medium to another, especially after having read William Goldman's books Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen TradeI especially don't after having come across the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which bears almost no resemblance to the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Believe me, the movie is FAR better. (Here's an article comparing the two: "Book vs. Film: Who Framed Roger Rabbit")

 

That said, I think the Hollywood types in question here needed to give a little more thought to how to make Birds of Prey work, because every episode left you thinking Batman was going to come back to town and save the day ... except he didn't. For me, Birds of Prey the comics series worked because I never thought of it as a Batman title, even if two of its headliners, Oracle and Huntress, are connected to Batman. That's probably because Black Canary is not connected to Batman, and for the most part, they all operate without him.

 

However, in the TV series, they pretty much had Huntress fill the function Black Canary held in the comics series -- Oracle's arms and legs in the field, and her confidante at home. So what to do with Black Canary? Well, I wish they hadn't done what they did; again, the poor little lost waif thing didn't work. And having Alfred around -- wonderful and charming as he is, what the heck is Alfred doing here? -- didn't help.

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