As of this writing, three episodes of Doom Patrol have been shown on DC Universe and fan response has been overwhelmingly positive. Unlike Titans, whose dark tone and gritty violence has made for a very divisive show, this show mastered its oddball tone right from episode one and fans are loving it. The cast and writing have been particularly praised and it bodes very well for the trajectory of the DC Universe shows; perhaps Swamp Thing will nail its source material too?
This article will look at 5 changes the TV show has made from the comics, as well as 5 things they have kept the same.
10 Changed: Cyborg Is On The Team
Vic Stone aka Cyborg is a character DC have been pushing very hard ever since the advent of The New 52 in 2011. Prior to that, he had always been a prominent member of the Teen Titans, but with the continuity revamp DC upgraded him to Justice League status. He also got his own solo series and was played by Ray Fisher in the misfiring Justice League movie.
Fans were surprised when it was announced that Cyborg would be in Doom Patrol, played by Jovian Wade, as he has never been a member of the team in the comics. The show's creators have also chosen not to use Cyborg's modern origin, in which his powers come from bonding with a Motherbox. This origin was used in the Justice League movie, but Doom Patrol's Cyborg derives his powers entirely from Earth technology.
9 The Same: Dr Niles Caulder/The Chief Is Morally Ambiguous
Audiences got their first glimpse of the Doom Patrol in the fourth episode of Titans. In this episode, the team's wheelchair-bound leader Niles Caulder was played by Narcos actor Bruno Bichir and he definitely played the role with a hint of menace beneath a seemingly benevolent exterior. Bichir was then re-cast for the show, with Timothy Dalton stepping into the role. Dalton is an expert at playing charming characters with a sinister, dangerous edge and this fits perfectly with Grant Morrison's comic book incarnation of The Chief. In earlier versions, Caulder had been a heroic father figure for the team, but Morrison recalibrated him as a villain, revealing that he had secretly caused the accidents that turned the team into super beings. He saw them as narcissistic and hated them for it, believing that turning them into freaks would improve them as human beings.
8 Changed: Negative Man Is Gay
Matt Bomer voices Larry Trainor/Negative Man in Doom Patrol and plays the character in flashback scenes, which compliment the scenes with Trainor covered in bandages (where he is played by Matthew Zuk). The show made some major changes to Trainor's backstory by introducing the idea that, while he was once an ace pilot with a wife and two sons at home, he was also a closeted homosexual carrying out an affair with a male lover on the airbase. Bomer is gay and the chance to play a multifaceted character like Trainor was very appealing to him; he said he'd never seen a gay male superhero before on-screen. He also loved the fact that, even though Negative Man struggles internally with his sexuality, it's not the sole thing that defines him on the show.
7 The Same: Robotman's Depiction
Cliff Steele aka Robotman is the character most associated with the Doom Patrol, having appeared in every incarnation of the team. In his adaptation for the show, the writer's have kept everything very similar to the comics. He was once a racing champion who had a family, fame and all the money he could ever want. But then a horrific accident destroyed his body, leading to his brain being put into a robotic shell. The only difference from the comics is the family aspect; Steele never had a wife and daughter in the comics. But their addition to the show adds an extra level of pathos to his character, and gives Brendan Fraser a lot to explore in flashbacks and in his voice work for the modern day Robotman scenes.
6 Changed: The Idea For Ezekiel Was Originally For Supernatural
One of the most popular new characters from the first few Doom Patrol episodes is Ezekiel, a Doomsday Prophecy-spewing cockroach!
Fitting in perfectly with the inherent weirdness of the concept, some fans were convinced Ezekiel was actually a character from the comics that they simply hadn't known about or had been forgotten to history. In fact, the concept was brought up by showrunner Jeremy Carver when he was a producer and writer on Supernatural, but was deemed too strange to appear on that show! He was overjoyed when DC said they felt Ezekiel would do nicely for Doom Patrol.
5 The Same: Elasti-Woman Is Mostly Accurate
April Bowlby will be known to most television fans for her comedic roles in Two And A Half Men and How I Met Your Mother. She plays Rita Farr aka Elasti-Woman in Doom Patrol and her portrayal is mostly accurate to the comics. She is a classic 1950's movie actress, with all the over-the-top charisma and pompous self-importance that entails, but ever since an accident in an African lake her natural form has become an amorphous blob. She can keep her normal appearance for periods, but always reverts, and so has become a recluse. In the original comics Rita simply couldn't control her size-changing powers, but in a 2009 revamp the idea of the blob was introduced.
4 Changed: No Space Case
The Umbrella Academy writer/creator Gerard Way has aways cited Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run as one of the main inspirations for his own off-kilter team of superheroes, so it was fitting when he wrote a Doom Patrol series in 2016, as part of his Young Animal imprint at DC. One of the new characters he created was Casey Brinke aka Space Case. Casey is a fictional character created by Danny The Street (a sentient roadway that is an occasional headquarters for the team) and she communicates with the world through comic books. Maybe Space Case was deemed too weird for audiences to cope with right from the start, but we wouldn't be surprised if she appears in the show down the line.
3 The Same: Crazy Jane Is Straight From The Grant Morrison Comics
Orange Is The New Black and Jane The Virgin actress Diane Guerrero plays Crazy Jane on the show. Her character has been lifted straight out of the Grant Morrison run of comics with very few changes made.
Jane has 64 personalities, each one with its own separate superpower. Many of her personalities don't appreciate the monicker 'Crazy Jane' and some even have their own names: Hammerhead, Baby Doll and Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. The show also references the Underground, a vast psychic subway grid that connects her personalities, which shows the creative team are more than willing to delve into some trademark Morrison weirdness with Crazy Jane!
2 Changed: Mr Nobody Breaks The Fourth Wall
The first is that in the show he can alter reality, whereas in the comics his power was to drain sanity from people. Additionally, he breaks the fourth wall in the show. This Eric Morden is fully aware that he is in a television show and even narrates the proceedings with Tudyk's customary wit. All in all, it does strike a bit of DC taking a page out of the Deadpool playbook, which has proved so successful, but it works gangbusters so we'll allow it!
1 The Same: Titans' Beast Boy Has A Connection
This entry is a little nebulous, but bear with us. In the Titans episode that introduced the Doom Patrol, Beast Boy was a member of the group and was living in Niles Caulder's mansion. This was a nice nod to Garfield Logan's comic book origins, where he was originally a Doom Patrol member before moving on to join the Teen Titans, with whom he would become synonymous. However, Doom Patrol showrunner Jeremy Carver recently said that, while the two shows exist in the same world, they're in different continuities. He added that not all the characterizations are the same and that it would be best for fans to treat it as it's own thing. Meaning, crossovers are unlikely and maybe that means Beast Boy isn't connected to the team in this show after all?