The agony and the ecstasy that is the Birds of Prey live action drama is now available for watching online at the CW.
BoP was on the WB (now part of CW) network’s 2002 schedule and was one of the highest rated debuts for the network until that time. The show was loosely based on the DC Comic retaining only one character from the cast - Barbara Gordon as Oracle. The remaining part of the trio are Earth 2 Huntress, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman and now a metahuman, and another metahuman named “Dinah” who will be revealed to the daughter of Black Canary. (By the end of the run you will begin to dread the word “metahuman”, trust me.) Harley Quinn is the show’s principal villain and cast is rounded of with Shemar Moore as part of the “New Gotham” PD and Alfred Pennyworth the show’s opening narrator and in his natural role as all around king of buttling.
Once you get over the liberties taken with the comic, the pilot is pretty good showcasing the best part of the show - Dina Meyer who is pretty close to perfect as Barbara. There’s also some nice camaraderie among the female characters.
And for those of you who own a pair of slash goggles, let’s just say that this TV show offers plenty of viewing.
The show was developed, produced and the pilot written by Laeta Kalogridis who in addition to working regularly in Hollywood has a familiarity with comics (she also wrote one of the many passed on scripts for a Wonder Woman movie.) Melissa Rosenberg, most recently developing a pilot for AKA Jessica Jones co- wrote the finale. But sadly the show never again reached the heights of the pilot quality or ratings wise. The money that WB poured into the pilot began to disappear and the sets, scripts and effects got cheesier and cheesier. The network interfered over and over again on plot lines and character development according to executive product Hans Tobeason there was ”considerable resistance” from the network “to Oracle being wheelchair-bound” and the show was moving to “Huntress centric.” Something to keep in mind as the CW develops a Wonder Woman show.
Despite all this, as someone who both owns the DVD and has watched it numerous times I am willing to handwave the quality.
Of the 13 shows that were produced, here are the ones I’ll suggest you to watch.
This was a show I wanted to like, but missed the mark in so many ways.
I did like Dina Meyer as Barbara Gordon and she as flawless as Oracle. But she was the only character in this show that was done right.
I felt “Dinah Redmond” should have been Dinah Laurel Lance and should have been depicted as an adult and an established Gotham crime-fighter. Being that Baby Dinah was already a legacy character who succeeded her mother in the Black Canary identity alone would’ve provided all the background she needed to lead this TV show. I also felt that Dinah should’ve been Barbara’s first operative from the get-go, and the first season should’ve focused on developing this friendship between Dinah and Babs as it was the very fuel of the comic.
With regards to Huntress, in order to continue the “legacy character” streak, I can see why they went with Helena Wayne. However, given Wayne’s direct connection to Batman and Catwoman, I felt she should have been a character that was introduced later in order to avoid stealing the spotlight from Dinah and Barbara. At best, they could’ve have established Helena Wayne as a powerful Gotham attorney working for “Cranston, Grayson, and Wayne” but leave the rest of her character a mystery. Maybe even give the audience a few night glimpses of Huntress (looking like a Batman silhouette) keeping tabs on Dinah and Oracle from a distance, and leave it ambiguous as to whether she’s on the side of the Birds or not. At least this way, she could’ve been established as either a potential ally or a potential antagonist for the Birds.
Further down the road, they could’ve formally introduced the Huntress as a night-operating vigilante investigating the same case as Dinah and Barbara, but not necessarily on friendly terms with one another. This could have then led to Dinah and Barbara deciding to keep a close eye on her as well as on Helena Wayne who stands on middle ground. This could have then led to the gradual revelation that Huntress and Helena Wayne are one and the same, and go further into the history of the character and reveal that she is also a legacy heroine in the form of being Batman and Catwoman’s daughter.
Long story short, this show had soooooooo much potential to be something great but was poorly executed. :(