Since the 1960s, “Doom Patrol” has ostensibly been the comic book series made for kids who related more to a disembodied human brain inside a metal suit, or a sentient shadow, than to heroes like Superman or Batman. Well, somewhat less specifically, comic book fans who were more drawn to unlucky misfits. Besides a very notable appearance in the popular television show Teen Titans, starring in the two-part episode “Homecoming,” this team has not seen much screen time compared to other DC squads.
Thankfully, DC Universe is finally giving these one of a kind heroes a series of their own. Doom Patrol will feature a take on the original team lineup, including Cyborg, Dr. Niles Caulder, Robotman, Elasti-Woman, Crazy Jane, Mr. Nobody, and Negative Man. But don’t let their fatalistic team name fool you, much of the charm of the original comics comes from the offbeat humor of its characters. After all, with how adverse many of their powers are, you’d need a special sense of humor to navigate those dark waters.
DC released the series description back in May:
The Doom Patrol’s members each suffered horrible accidents that gave them superhuman abilities—but also left them scarred and disfigured. Traumatized and downtrodden, the team found purpose through The Chief, who brought them together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence—and to protect Earth from what they find. Part support group, part Super Hero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of super-powered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them.
Former James Bond and Flash Gordon star Timothy Dalton is the latest addition to the new streaming service’s live-action Doom Patrol series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The dynamic actor will be the team’s leader, a brilliant physician named Niles Caulder — known quite simply as “The Chief.” Caulder has spent his medical career in search of those on the brink of death, using his talents to make miracles happen. The Chief’s medical prowess and his drive to help the world’s underdogs essentially make him the glue that holds the Doom Patrol together.
This will be Timothy Dalton’s first series regular role since his run on the hit series Penny Dreadful came to an end in 2016. The extraordinary events his character faced in Penny Dreadful may pale in comparison to The Chief’s mission to help metahumans whose abilities pose a threat to others — and to themselves. Besides a background in the very weird, Dalton has also had a turn with the very funny.
His iconic character in Edgar Wright’s 2007 comedy Hot Fuzz shows that the actor can be remarkably sinister and humorous at the same time. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get to see a bit of Simon Skinner in Dalton’s portrayal of the mad scientist Caulder. Some of this kind of dark humor, similar to the mood found in certain issues of the Doom Patrol comics, would be more than welcome in the new series.
“The Chief” and Teen Titans hero Cyborg will together unite the aforementioned misfits of the Patrol, who have all been ostracized from society in some way or another. Dalton will be joined by a pretty unique collection of talent with Alan Tudyk recently being cast as the eerie Mr. Nobody — a man reduced to a living shadow following Nazi experimentation — who can actually drain the sanity from people.
Brendan Fraser will play (the voice of) Robotman, a former race car driver whose body was rendered irreparable after an accident. Fortunately, Dr. Caulder was able to save his brain and place it inside a robotic body. The rest of the team only gets weirder: Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero of Orange is the New Black) has 64 separate personalities each equipped with superpowers of their own; then there’s the shrink-able (and grow-able) Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby) and Negative Man (Dwayne Murphy), who crashed into a radioactive field resulting in his ability to release a negatively charged energy being from outside his own body.
Although all possess wildly distinct talents, they all share a hatred of their own powers, viewing them as a curse rather than a gift. We’ll have to see how DC Universe handles these tricky powers while making each character feel important and able to stand out in their own way amid the chaos. Doom Patrol will premiere on the streaming service in 2019, but the team will be introduced early on in an episode of Titans. Longtime Supernatural showrunner Jeremy Carver will write and produce the 13-episode Doom Patrol along with the CW’s Greg Berlanti.