TV On DVD: The DC Comics TV Universe

With the Umbrella Academy making waves on Netflix and Marvel getting the ball rolling on “X-Men,” DC and Warner get a jump on the formula with their adaptations of “Doom Patrol.” Although the series is now widely acclaimed and mostly celebrated by comic book fans alike, “Doom Patrol” brings with it a huge legacy. It’s widely and arguably considered the precursor to Marvel’s “X-Men” and many fans argue that Marvel outright stole the premise from right under DC Comics. The elements are all mostly the same right down to a massive mansion housing these various super beings.

DC and Warner release Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season, the streaming series that became an instant hit is now on Blu-Ray and Digital for fans to re-visit. It’s one of the few original series that didn’t get the axe from DC and Warner. All things considered while the series isn’t perfect, it’s a very good callback to the silver age of DC Comics, and it brings with it an all star cast. The team is composed of Cliff Steele AKA Robotman (welcome back Brendan Fraser!), a former NASCAR driver and accident victim whose brain survives in a clunky, metallic shell.

There’s Negative Man (Matt Bomer), scarred for life after a cosmic entity entered his body during a flight mission. Rita Farr (the gorgeous April Bowlby), a former actress disfigured during an on-set accident who now literally struggles to keep her shape; Vic Stone (Joivan Wade), a technology-enhanced vigilante with a rich dad. Finally, there’s Grant Morrison’s latter day creation for the series, “Crazy” Jane (Diane Guerrero), a girl with 64 distinct personalities and the unpredictable powers that go with them.

They’re led by Dr. Niles Caulder AKA “Chief” (Timothy Dalton), a father figure who disappears, bringing the team together to search for him. Bringing the whole narrative together is “Mr. Nobody” (the incomparable Alan Tudyk), a reality (and fourth-wall) breaking super-villain. The series starts a bit rough but finds its groove very early and gets in a great rhythm, and that’s thanks to the bizarre tone it embraces from the series. There’s also the dynamic cast, all of whom bring A+ performances behind effects heavy characters. Fraser in particular, is great, while Bomer and Bowlby are memorable. Thankfully season two is on the way, and if you’re in to the whole concept but don’t particularly enjoy “X-Men,” this will tickle your fancy.

Season One includes a Digital Copy redemption code, and while there aren’t a ton of extras, there at least some. The same can’t be said for “Swamp Thing,” sadly. There are eight minutes of deleted scenes including “Flit Returns to the Manor”, “Larry Talks to the Bartender”, “Jane is Dragged Away”, “Cliff Daydreams About Clara”, “Kipling Tells Miles About Morden”, “Morden is Bored”, and “Larry Wishes Rita Good Luck.” There’s the four minutes Gag Reel, which is pretty fun, and the five minutes Come Visit Georgia PSA with Assistant unit production manager Ian MacGregor, director Demott Downs, line producer Gideon Amir, and location managers Sara Sheets & Sarah Williams.

Although I checked out after season two, Warner releases yet another season of one of their most enduring superhero team series on Blu-Ray and Digital; it should serve as a great time filler since the fifth season won’t premiere until January 2021. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fourth Season continues the saga as the group is joined by the one and only John Constantine and Ava Sharpe’s Time Bureau.

This time having to battle monsters and beings from the broken timeline, the group travels through various historic events trying to correct the continuum. Constantine is given a bigger role for season four, this time as a regular, as he’s forced to confront an old foe of his, all the while his teammates enter in to darker areas of their past. “Legends of Tomorrow” is entertaining if you want a change from the other Arrowverse series and appreciate the inherent variety of the team on display. The series watches like a third tier series from DC Comics, with a lot of the less featured Arrowverse superheroes getting their spotlight and times to shine.

“Legends” embraces the silliness and various story lines, and sometimes can go outright action comedy. It’s not particularly for me, but hell, it’s going on season five, so it’s doing something right. Along with the Digital Copy for fans, the Extras Includes the five minutes Post Production Theater a fun look at behind the scenes where certain effects shots are missing allowing for the Post team to insert later. Legendary Storytelling is a three minutes discussion with the executive producer who quickly goes over their stories and how they just know sometimes which ones are going to be “winners.” There are ten minutes of Deleted Scenes, Disc 2 includes a ten minutes Gag Reel, along with even more Deleted Scenes clocking in at almost eleven minutes.

Making the leap from CBS to the CW was the best thing that ever happened to “Supergirl” as it’s now appreciated by the wider base of fans and brings the much needed Super fix until “Superman and Lois Lane” premieres. With Supergirl: The Complete Fourth Season now on Blu-Ray and Digital, fans can revisit the season that goes in to bigger directions narrative wise. Now facing anti-alien sentiment now spreading across National City by Agent Liberty, Kara mentors a new reporter Nia Nal.

Meanwhile as Supergirl, she’s struggling to maintain her positive image, fighting various super villains that try to divide and conquer. Along with Sat Witwer’s welcome presence, Lex Luthor finally drops in to the Arrowverse as the calculating slimy menace he always has been. Jon Cryer is fantastic as the iconic super villain, acting as a great new face for Luthor, while also offering up the meta presence that Superman fans have come to love about “Supergirl.” Of course, Cryer played Luthor’s immensely hated nephew/aspiring super villain Lenny Luthor in “Superman IV.”

But while that wink is obvious, Cryer manages to carve out his niche in the character that feels like an amalgam of Clancy Brown and Gene Hackman. Benoist as just as great as ever, continuing to master the layered, complex and mesmerizing character of Kara and bringing her to life for Supergirl and Superman fans alike. Along with some good social commentary and great plot twists, “Supergirl Season Four” is damn good.

Along with the Digital Code, there are two minutes of Deleted Scenes, and the hour long Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2018, which includes footage from all of DC TV’s show panels, introduced by autograph session footage, and great backstage interviews. Inside the Crossover: Elseworlds is a great forty five minutes discussion about the big crossover event that acts as a talk show with a round table of all the creators of the DC TV series.

There are also three minutes of deleted scenes. Villains: Modes of Persuasion is a thirty eight minutes great mini documentary about the history and psychology of DC’s colorful list of super villains. Showrunners (Like David Goyer), producers, writers and more chime in to discuss the man across all DC shows, including Gotham, Krypton and yes, even the DCAU shows. There are more than sixteen minutes of deleted scenes and finally a seven minutes Gag Reel.

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