TV Review: ‘Doom Patrol’ Season 4, Episode 1

by Frank Martin

A show like Doom Patrol is tough to keep going. It has very interesting characters and is built on absurdity. But there’s only so much it can do with the tools it’s been given. All of the characters are pretty much rehashing the same journeys they’ve been on since the show began. Also, it’s hard for the program to out-crazy itself every season. It had butt monsters last season, which was insane, and they decided to follow it up this season with zombie butt monsters. For fans of the show, though, the Season 4 premiere is familiar but fun territory. Nevertheless, it’s going to need to grow as a show if it’s going to survive.

The season starts off by having Rita (April Bowlby) trying to turn the group into some sort of superhero team. They use the time machine — which no longer results in memory loss because they all wear jellyfish as hats — to travel around and fight crime. Due to an unfortunate event in the time stream, they are thrust into an apocalyptic future. All of the characters except Cyborg (Joivan Wade) are dead. Talking to their ghosts, they learn that their futures didn’t turn out so well. Eventually, they all return to the present and vow to change their fates.

It’s not that the premiere itself was bad. For Doom Patrol fans, it was fun. It was just the same old fun that the show has depicted since its first season. Larry (Matt Bomer) is going to struggle with his companion. Cliff (Brendan Fraser) is going to have some sort of identity crisis now that he can feel. And Jane (Diane Guerrero) is going to have to come to terms with some of her other personas. All of the character arcs remain the same. There have been tweaks here and there, but for the most part, the show is going to have to do some serious maneuvering to provide something new this season.

Doom Patrol streams Thursdays on HBO Max.

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