The worst Sci-Fi and Fantasy shows - BIRDS OF PREY - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

The worst Sci-Fi and Fantasy shows - BIRDS OF PREY

Rob McCarthy presents another installment in his look back at some of the most disappointing SciFi/Fantasy TV shows of all time. Today we go back to 2002 for the short lived comic book series Birds Of Prey.

Birds of Prey had an awful lot of potential. The WB were clearly keen to develop another DC Comics show after Smallville's very successful first year, but they screwed this up royally. Largely because it needed to be aimed at an older audience and not the Dawson's Creek crowd that were the Network's primary demographic.

Birds of Prey starred Ashley Scott as Helena Kyle/Huntress, Dina Meyer as Barbara Gordon/Oracle, and Rachel Skarsten as Dinah Lance. The show also included Batman's butler Alfred Pennyworth and had a recurring villain in the form of Harley Quinn. There's so much comic book potential there for some amazing on screen adventures. Unfortunately the producers changed just about everything that made the comic book so popular.

The TV version of Birds of Prey is set in the future, long after Batman has driven himself into exile following the Joker's last stand. This is now New Gotham City, we're introduced to the Huntress who unexplainably is revealed to be the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. She is half-metahuman, as she has inherited cat-like abilities from her mother. Dinah Lance, the daughter of Black Canary, is also a metahuman. As a touch-telepath she is able to read the thoughts of anyone she comes into physical contact with. She's also really annoying and presented as a younger character, clearly to help the demographic. Around half way through the 13 episode run Dinah developed the power of telekinesis, probably because the writers just thought it up one week.

One of the real highlights of the pilot was when we saw Barbara Gordon in her Batgirl costume. It was a great suit and she looked like a really good version of the character. Unfortunately she was left a paraplegic after the Joker shot her in the spine (echoing Alan Moore's The killing Joke), she then hung up her Batgirl cowl and became Oracle.

The first episode was pretty good, and in fact set a ratings record for the Network at the time. We were even treated to the voice of Mark Hamill as the Joker, reprising his role from the animated version of Batman. But after the three main characters were bought together it seemed the writers just had no idea what to do with them. Nor where they able to construct coherent plots, with believable dialogue.

So we were given a rehash of the same formula week after week. All shows in this genre can be guilty of some plot repetition, but Birds of Prey took it to the extreme. Every time someone new was introduced they turned out to be the villain of the week. One of the three girls would then develop a personal vendetta against the villain, against everyone's wishes she'd set out to kill said villain on her own, girl runs into trouble, other girls arrive just in time, girl with personal vendetta learns her lesson, teamwork and justice not revenge. And repeat.

Birds of Prey also included the obligatory Police Detective, so we have Shemar Moore as Jesse Reese, freshly graduated from the Wooden School of Acting. But the biggest character disappointment though has to be Harley Quinn, she was completely misrepresented, baring no relation to her comic book character at all except for the name. She wasn't the Comic Book insane, crazy, lovable mess of a villain, who would crush your skull with her mallet whilst giggling like a loon, instead the TV Quinn was a psychiatrist who most of the time displayed a level of dark, serious, calculated insanity. Just wrong.

So Birds of Prey is included in my list of worst sci-fi and fantasy TV shows because it just didn't live up to it's potential. It was dull and repetitive, and if you'd watched the first episode then you'd basically seen them all. You'd think with three strong attractive kick-ass women and the huge DC Comics archive to delve into that it would be really hard to mess up a show like this.

You'd think it would be. But you'd be wrong.

The Prisoner (2009)
The Cape

Post Top Ad