I discovered this TV show existed a couple of months ago, and decided it was something I needed to see, as I am a massive fan of Batgirl. This show promised me a lot a female butt kicking action, which is harder to find than you would think. Birds of Prey only got one season before it was cancelled. Presumably television shows get cancelled because they are bad, however in special unfortunate cases, they are ahead of their time yet fail to find their audience in time even though they are truly wonderful; here’s looking at you Firefly. I was hoping when I discovered this show, it would fall into the second category. This review series is going to take a look at the television show Birds of Prey episode by episode (there are a total of 13) to see if it is a stinker or a hidden gem in television history.
The pilot episode does what it should and starts with introducing us to the main characters. I don’t have a lot of comic book knowledge, but the fair amount I do have in terms of specific characters, I had to set aside for this. The first character we meet is Helena Kyle, also known as Huntress, who is the daughter of Catwoman and Batman. The Joker kills her mother in a fit of rage after Batman defeats him. At the time, Huntress is unaware Batman is her father. She learns the truth soon after, which is why the Birds of Prey gang has Alfred Pennyworth at their beck and call. Alfred also serves as the shows narrator. The next character we meet is Barbara Gordon, also known as Batgirl, whom Joker shoots and paralyzes. This is also done to get back at Batman. The third and final main character we meet is a girl named Dinah Lance who is having dreams about the other two characters, even though she has never met them. The show starts seven years after the Joker takes his revenge and Dinah is trying to find Batgirl and Huntress to try and make sense of her life.
We see Huntress in court mandated therapy for anger management, presumably as the result of her attempting to help someone and it being misunderstood by the police. We learn in this episode that her therapist’s name is Harleen Quinzel. Meanwhile, Dinah watches a man jump in front of a car and has visions about his motivations; leading her to believe that it was not a suicide, although it looked like one. We learn that Batgirl (who is now going by the name of Oracle) also has suspicions about his death, as he was not the first suicide victim who had no reason to kill themselves. The story flashes back to Dinah, who is on the verge of being assaulted, luckily, she is saved by Huntress. When Dinah touches Huntress she has a vision that leads her to the secret lair. The episode centers on finding out who is behind the rash of suicides and Dinah trying to convince Oracle and Huntress to let her join them. Huntress falls into a trap trying to solve the suicide/murders and Oracle and Dinah work with Huntress to save her. By the end of the episode we learn that Dr. Harleen Quiznel is the person behind the suicides, but the Birds of Prey do not know that.
For a pilot episode, it was not that bad. There are definitely things within the show, like the clothes and use of beepers that make it feel dated. It also has a lot of elements that you just don’t see in television, period. It’s a group of women working together to save the city and themselves in the process. Huntress is witty and has spectacular lines. Oracle is a technology wiz and has the city wired so she knows what’s happening all the time. Dinah is learning what it takes to be a superhero. All of the characters are flawed and have heavy stuff to work through, which makes them more relatable.
The music in this show is classic 2000’s girl rock which reminded me of Buffy and set the tone for the show perfectly. The acting was a little cheesy, but it’s right for what Birds of Prey is trying to be; an angsty show filled with female empowerment. This show was also written around ten years before the Arrowverse came onto the scene and demonstrated how to do superhero shows without the level of cheese that is present in almost every comic book adaptation before it. At this point, the show feels like the classic 90’s girl power television show I always dreamed of.
I rate this episode 4.5 stars out of 5.