I just finished watching this series, so set your Wayback machines for 2002, Sherman, and let’s go.
From IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0312098/
In the future, long after the Batman has driven himself into exile, his legacy lives on in the form of the Birds of Prey–Black Canary, Oracle, and the Huntress.
Stars: Rachel Skarsten (Lost Girl, Reign) – Dinah Lance/Black Canary
Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers, Star Trek: Nemesis) – Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle
Ashley Scott (Dark Angel, Jericho) – Helena Kyle/Huntress
Shemar Moore (Young and the Restless, Criminal Minds) – Detective Jesse Reese
Ian Abercrombie – Alfred Pennyworth
Mia Sara – Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn
The Birds of Prey TV series ran from 2002-2003 on the WB network and was 14 episodes long (although one of those was an unaired pilot featuring a different actress in the role of Dr. Harleen Quinzel before Mia Sara came in for the 13 aired episodes.
What can I say about this show…?
**drums fingers on table…
Well, I could say that it was nice to see an attempt at a female-centric superhero show, but that might sound patronizing…
I think I’ll start by saying that the show wasn’t terrible.
I mean, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. I made it through all 14 episodes.
But I’m a completist, so that might not be the best yardstick to use.
I did like the idea of trying to make a second-generation superhero show, so that’s something.
Okay, here’s a list of random thoughts about different aspects of the show, some relevant, some not:
CGI – The cityscapes were terrible. But it was 2002, so….
Fight scenes – Some good, some badly choreographed. Badly.
Villains – Interesting. Even threw in a couple second-generation villains to go with the 2nd-gen heroes, so that was pretty cool.
Acting – Pretty good, overall. I think Dina Meyer was trying too hard to be the solid, serious, center of the show, but it sometimes came off as just plain stodgy. Sometimes even Alfred had to just say “Dude, lighten up.”
Mia Sara seemed to really enjoy playing the villain, like the producers said “you want to be the bad guy?” and she flipped out. Fun.
Shemar Moore, in his pre-Criminal Minds days, shows why he plays a great cop.
Ashley Scott was great as Huntress, however accurate the character may or may not be in relation to the comics.
And Rachel Skarsten perfectly embodied the wide-eyed, small-town girl Dinah thought she was when the series started.
Dialogue – Okay, to be blunt, the thought behind the storyline was pretty solid, but some of the actual, spoken words were horrible… as if they were written for a staid, British actor but meant to be spoken in a casual American dialect.
I like the visual style of the show, though. Huntress/Helena’s style obsession was fun to watch, and the evolution of Black Canary/Dinah from pilot to finale was logical, if stereotypical broody teenager typical.
But, as the first of the “modern” superhero shows to hit TV (before the embarrassment of riches we have now), of course it was the WB leading the way, trying to push the envelope with its Dawson’s Creek meets New Gotham take on comicbooks.
Clearly, the DC folks learned a lot, judging by the success they’ve had since, with Arrow, The Flash, and Gotham.
But, as a one-season experiment in superhero storytelling, it’s definitely worth watching. I wonder what such a show might wind up looking like if it got a reboot? With DC not necessarily requiring its TV shows to occupy the same universe, I suppose it’s not out of the question.
In fact, a reboot of these characters might be a fun show to write for. Maybe take it a bit darker, like Marvel did with Daredevil for Netflix.
Hey, DC, can I pitch this to you guys as a Netflix show, now? Seriously.
For all you shadow-dwellers: check it out.
**Birds of Prey is not currently available on Netflix, but you can stream it on Amazon or pick up the DVDs there, as well.**