While we’re just starting to see what a successful, female-led comic book movie can be in the form of this year’s mega-hit Wonder Woman, we have yet to see this type of success on the small screen. Fans are clamoring for a Birds of Prey reboot, having previously ran for one season almost 15 years ago. Despite the series garnering high ratings during its premiere, it was eventually cancelled after the ratings subsequently fell.
Birds of Prey debuted in 2002 and on The WB network and was loosely based on the comic series. Creators have stated that the series took place in a Gotham City abandoned by Batman after the murder of his lover, Catwoman and The Joker shooting Barbara Gordon, leaving her paralyzed. In Batman’s absence, Barbara, now going by her Oracle identity as a computer hacker, and Helena Kyle, Batman and Catwoman’s daughter, now going by Huntress, have inherited his war on crime. They’re joined by Dinah, a young runaway with telepathic abilities. Though Birds of Prey only lasted one season, it’s the first television series to give us not one, but three lead superheroines at once. CBR takes a look at what the cast and crew are up to these days.
15. DINA MEYER
Barbara Gordon was shot by The Joker as revenge for Batman’s dismantling of his criminal organization, leaving her paralyzed and forced to give up her heroic identity as Batgirl. Assuming the identity of Oracle, Barbara compensates by using her computer hacking expertise in the fight against crime in New Gotham. Barbara is a teacher who eventually falls in love with co-worker Wade Brixton, before the relationship ends tragically at the hands of Harley Quinn. Barbara developed a cybernetic implant to help her temporarily regain her mobility for periods of time.
After Birds of Prey, Dina Meyer landed a recurring role on the NBC dramedy Miss Match starring Alicia Silverstone, another former Batgirl. She was one of the main characters featured in the early entries of the Saw movie franchise. She will lend her voice to reprise her role as Dizzy in the third CGI instalment of the Starship Troopers franchise.
14. AARON PAUL
At the time, an up-and-coming character actor named Aaron Paul guest starred on the premiere episode of Birds of Prey. He plays a handsome loner named Jerry who befriends Dinah upon her arrival in New Gotham City. Jerry’s malicious intentions are revealed later when he gets Dinah alone on a deserted street. However, before he can lay a hand on Dinah, Huntress drops in to rescue her.
After his appearance on Birds of Prey, Paul landed guest spots on a variety of primetime shows including Veronica Mars, Joan of Arcadia and Criminal Minds. His big break, of course, was being cast as Jesse Pinkman in 2008’s Breaking Bad on AMC, a hit crime drama that ran for five seasons. Paul is also currently a producer on both BoJack Horseman and The Path.
13. ASHLEY SCOTT
Daughter of Batman and Catwoman, Helena Kyle was born half meta-human, inheriting cat-like abilities from her mother. She was raised by her mother, without knowing who her father was until the night Catwoman was killed by an assassin hired by The Joker. A teenage Helena was then taken in by Barbara Gordon, who raised and trained her to follow in the footsteps of her father. She forms an uneasy alliance with Det. Jesse Reese in solving cases involving meta-humans, leading to a romantic relationship.
Following her time on Birds of Prey, Ashley Scott landed supporting roles in films like Walking Tall, The Kingdom and 12 Rounds. She eventually became a series regular on the CBS drama Jericho. She can is currently a regular on the Lifetime series, UnREAL.
12. MARK HAMILL
While he may not have played the actual part, veteran actor Mark Hamill reprised his role from the hit 1992 Batman: The Animated Series as the voice of The Joker. He’s seen in the opening monologue fighting Batman and also in flashbacks featuring his shooting of Barbara Gordon. Reports have said that The Joker would’ve made a return in season two, following the demise of his lover, Harley Quinn, at the end of the first season.
Known for his role in the Star Wars franchise as Luke Skywalker, Hamill has also developed quite the prolific voice acting career. In addition to Batman: The Animated Series, he also voiced the main protagonist in the Wing Commander computer game series and even does the audiobook versions of the popular juvenile fiction book series, The Spiderwick Chronicles. He can next be scene later this year in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
11. BRENT SEXTON
For every Mulder, there must be a Scully. As Det. Jesse Reese eventually comes to believe that meta-humans exist and furthermore, that they’re not all evil, his partner, Det. McNally, remained a skeptic throughout the series. At one point, Det. McNally is almost killed in an explosion on a stakeout involving a meta-human, which drove a temporary wedge between Jesse and Helena.
With regular roles on television series such as Bosch, The Killing, Life and Deadwood under his belt, Sexton also had recurring parts on Justified, That’s Life and Judging Amy. He would also go on to land several motion picture roles in movies such as Flightplan, Radio and A. I: Artificial Intelligence. He most recently can be seen in last year’s corporate horror film, The Belko Experiment.
10. LORI LOUGHLIN
While it was understandable that most fans were up in arms that Black Canary was not a part of the Birds of Prey team, producers said that her daughter, Dinah, was created to help draw in younger audience. However, Black Canary (nee Carolyn Lance) did make an appearance in one episode, possessing the same Sonic Scream as her comic counterpart, to reunite with her daughter and bring a mob boss to justice. The character seemingly died in an explosion at the end of the episode.
Best known for her role as Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis on the hit ABC comedy Full House, Lori Loughlin went on to play the mother of the main characters in the 2008 90210 reboot. She currently has a leading role in the Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart and will also be reprising her Full House role in the Netflix revival, Fuller House.
9. SHEMAR MOORE
An honest cop who eventually finds himself drawn to the mysterious vigilante, Huntress, Jesse Reese is the son of Al Hawke, the head of a powerful crime family, and sworn enemy of the Black Canary. Following a first-hand account of the corruptness his father is involved in, he takes his mother’s surname and becomes a cop. He ultimately forms a romantic bond with Helena by the end of the series.
Veteran soap star and former fashion model Shemar Moore played Det. Jesse Reese. Following his time on Birds of Prey, Moore became part of the cast on the long-running crime procedural Criminal Minds on CBS. He also provided the voice of Cyborg in several DC animated properties. He can be seen next in the television adaptation of the 2003 action movie S.W.A.T.
8. ROB BENEDICT
Veteran character actor Rob Benedict was cast in the role of Gibson Kafka, a meta-human with a pristine photographic memory in which he can recall everything he has ever experienced (even before birth). Gibson is also the proprietor of No Man’s Land (obviously, a nod to the Batman storyline), a bar and safehouse for meta-humans that the team frequents. In the series finale, Harleen Quinzel uses a stolen mind control power to manipulate Gibson into helping her infiltrate the team’s headquarters.
A stage, film and television actor, Benedict also sings in the band Louden Swain. Following his time on Birds of Prey, he landed regular roles on TV shows like Threshold and Head Case, and had a recurring role on The WB’s Supernatural. He can currently be seen co-starring in Kings of Con, a comedy show that highlights the behind the scenes shenanigans at fan conventions.
7. SUNG-HI LEE (LADY SHIVA)
In episode eight, Helena is thrilled when her high school best friend, Sandra (Sung-Hi Lee), returns to New Gotham. However, the team is troubled by a series of murders with the unique mark of Batgirl’s nemesis, Lady Shiva. Determined to put a stop to Lady Shiva once and for all, Barbara dusts off her Batgirl costume and utilizes experimental technology that allows her to temporarily walk and fight again. In the ultimate showdown, Helena comes face to face with who her former best friend has become, and stands with Dinah and Barbara in defeating Lady Shiva.
Originally from Seoul, former model turned actress Lee expanded upon her career by playing roles in various films like This Girl’s Life and The Girl Next Door. She also eventually landed a recurring role on the NBC daytime drama Days of Our Lives.
6. MIA SARA
Going by the alias Harleen Quinzel, Harley Quinn poses as a psychiatrist Helena is court-ordered to see following a bogus vandalism charge. Harley Quinn was The Joker’s lover and accomplice before he was incarcerated, unbeknownst to the team and sought revenge against the city of New Gotham. Ironically, she is called upon by the authorities to work with convicted criminals, while being insane herself.
Best known for her breakout role in 1986’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Mia Sara went on to star in action movies like Legend and Timecop. She would also have a recurring role in the ’90’s sci-fi procedural Time Trax. She most recently was seen in the 2012 film adaptation of the best-selling Dorothy and the Witches of Oz series of books.
5. SHAWN CHRISTIAN
A guidance counselor at New Gotham High, where Barbara worked as a teacher and Dinah attended classes, Wade Brixton would eventually become Barbara’s love interest. The couple overcame many hurdles in their relationship like Wade’s parents not feeling like Barbara was good enough for him due to her paralysis, and Barbara’s secret identity (which was eventually revealed to him). Tragically, Wade was ultimately killed by Harley Quinn in the series finale to punish Barbara for messing up her plans.
Actor Shawn Christian has starred in a variety of dramas, both daytime and primetime. He landed series regular gigs on the daytime soaps As the World Turns and Days of Our Lives. He had a recurring role as Piper Halliwell’s love interest in the second season of Charmed. Most recently he was seen guest-starring on Freeform’s Famous in Love.
4. RACHEL SKARSTEN
A meta-human with powerful telekinetic, telepathic and precognitive abilities, Dinah Redmond is drawn to New Gotham, and to Helena and Barbara after she has visions of the tragedies caused by The Joker. She is taken in as a member of their team, as Barbara trains her to use her abilities. We eventually learn that she is the daughter of the Black Canary, who gave Dinah up for adoption to keep her safe. Dinah’s abilities manifested while in her foster parents’ custody, who reacted abusively to the young Dinah, prompting her to run away.
Hailing from Canada, Birds of Prey was Rachel Skarsten’s first big break in America. After BOP, she landed a recurring role on the Syfy supernatural show Lost Girl and was cast as a series regular in the The CW’s Reign. She most recently made a guest appearance in an episode of Syfy’s Wynonna Earp.
3. IAN ABERCROMBIE
Loyal butler of the Wayne family, Alfred looks after Helena and Barbara in the wake of Batman’s disappearance. He is often seen at the team’s headquarters, taking care of the day-to-day needs. He has a close bond with Barbara, often acting as a parental figure to her and the rest of the team. In the series finale, it is revealed that Alfred has secretly remained in contact with Batman, keeping him appraised of the team’s status.
An Army veteran turned actor, Abercombie is known for memorable roles on television such as Elaine Bene’s boss on Seinfeld and Professor Crumbs on Wizards of Waverly Place. He also starred in 2008’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars, lending his voice to two of the spin-off video games. Sadly, Abercrombie passed away in 2012 at the age of 77 from complications due to kidney failure.
2. MELISSA ROSENBERG
Melissa Rosenberg was a head writer of the series. Most notably for the episode titled “Sins of the Mother” which introduces Lori Loughlin’s Black Canary as the long-lost mother of Dinah’s. Mother and daughter eventually reconcile after Dinah and the rest of the Birds of Prey rescue Black Canary from a mob boss she helped put away years ago.
Following her work on Birds of Prey, the award-winning Rosenberg joined Fox’s The O.C.’s writing staff, eventually leaving the show to write the first Step Up movie. She would also collaborate with author Stephenie Meyer to write the screenplays for the Twilight franchise. While her work on the Twilight movies may draw some side eye, we can also thank her for creating and developing the Jessica Jones Netflix series, in which she is also an executive producer and writer (we’d say she redeemed herself with that).
1. LAETA KALOGRIDIS
Laeta Kalogridis was the creator of Birds of Prey, in charge of developing the series for television, and also served as an executive producer and writer. A fan of the writing in the Birds of Prey comic series, Kalogridis has stated the the infamous “Killing Joke” storyline (in which the Joker shoots Barbara Gordon, paralyzing her) was a heavy influence on the storytelling. She has stated that she was pushed off the series shortly after the pilot was shot, and that it never came close to the potential she felt it had.
After her time on the show, Kalogridis went on to be an executive producer for the also short-lived Bionic Woman reboot on NBC. She also went on to write the screenplay and executive produce Shutter Island, as well as Terminator Genisys. She is currently adapting a live television version of the anime series Sword Art Online.
Would you like to see a Birds of Prey revival? Let us know in the comments!
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