We already have The Avengers and Justice League, but none of those superhero teams feature Brendan Fraser as a robot.
Enter “Doom Patrol,” the second live-action TV series from the DC Comics-branded streaming service, DC Universe. When the series premieres on Friday, think of them as more like a “Justice League” of misfits.
“‘Doom Patrol’ is a lot more like the misfits,” Sarah Schechter, an executive producer for the series, told TheWrap. “A lot of them — not necessarily Cyborg — but a lot of them would be side characters [in other series] and [we] let them be heroes of their own story, and see all the weird, really weird, wonderful places it goes.”
Schechter serves as president of production at Greg Berlanti’s production company, Berlanti Productions. She serves as an executive producer on all of Berlanti’s ever-expanding roster of television shows, including the multitude of DC Comics-based shows for The CW and the newly-launched DC Universe streaming service.
Starring Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, April Bowlby, Diane Guerrero, Joivan Wade and Timothy Dalton, “Doom Patrol” is based on the super team of heroes whose powers have caused them alienation and trauma, created in 1963 by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani. The DC Universe series features original Doom Patrol characters Larry Trainor/Negative Man (Bomer), Cliff Steele/Robotman (Fraser), Elasti-Woman (Bowlby) and The Chief (Dalton), joined by Crazy Jane (Guerrero) from Grant Morrison’s 1989-1993 run, and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Wade).
Schechter sees an entry point for both comic book and non-comic book lovers in “Doom Patrol,” which takes on a much more comedic tone compared to DC Universe’s flagship series, “Titans.”
“It’s both for like a more hardcore comic book fan and also for people who aren’t really comic book fans at all,” she said. “From the opening voice-over, it is really challenging the assumptions about a comic book show. And I think there’s enough now where you really can.”
“Doom Patrol” is the second original series in the nascent DC Universe streaming service, which launched last fall. The DCU debuted its first series, “Titans,” in October, and it planning an expansive roster of TV shows based on fellow DC Comics characters including Stargirl, Swamp Thing and Harley Quinn.
On TV, however, the CW has its own DC universe that consists of five different shows — and potentially a sixth with the likely series pick-up of its “Batwoman” pilot. That’s a lot of DC shows (and that doesn’t even count Fox’s Batman-prequel “Gotham” or Epix’s upcoming Batman-prequel-prequel “Pennyworth.”). With DC launching its own branded service, does that mean they’ll funnel every pitch toward DC Universe?
“It’s sort of a little bit instinctual in terms of audience,” Schechter said on her and Berlanti’s approach towards which outfit they work with on DC-based shows. “It’s a real conversation with DCU. They own the properties and they have a plan. We’re just happy to be a part of it.”
Schechter likened the difference between “Doom Patrol” and The CW’s roster of DC characters to how Netflix was able to darken the family-friendly nature of Marvel with “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones.” There’s already plenty of DC heroes on linear television.
“There’s a darkness to them that would be hard to do on network TV. There’s an edge to them. There’s a willingness to play with form,” she said, “as opposed to the network shows that are constrained very much by time, language and budget.”
“Doom Patrol” premieres on DC Universe Friday, Feb. 15.