Series: Birds of Prey

A very loose adaptation of a DC Comics series, Birds of Prey is a live-action TV series set in New Gotham and revolving around a pair of superheroes as They Fight Crime.

The series backstory is heavily influenced by the events of The Killing Joke, where the Joker shot and paralyzed Barbara Gordon. The series also had that Catwoman was killed in his sadistic crusade and something went down where the Joker was captured and soon after Batman left Gotham. The series focused on the crime-fighting escapades of Helena Kyle (Huntress, daughter of Batman and Catwoman, as per her pre-Crisis backstory), Dinah (daughter of Black Canary), and Barbara Gordon (Oracle, forced to give up being Batgirl after becoming paraplegic). Most of the series revolved around the emergence of Meta-Humans, people who have extraordinary abilities. Helena and Dinah themselves are meta-human, Helena having enhanced senses and cat-like agility and Dinah having growing telepathic/telekinetic powers.

The Big Bad was Harley Quinn, whose connection to the Joker was a rumor and she still operates as a mob leader while posing as a respectable psychiatrist. Alfred Pennyworth is maintaining Wayne Manor and offers the Girl Posse help and advice from time to time, with some hints that Batman/Bruce Wayne is still keeping tabs on them. The By-the-Book Cop Jesse Reese slowly starts to see the bigger picture of the Gotham underworld and finds himself attracted to Helena.

The series lasted from October, 2002 to February, 2003, for a total of 13 episodes in a single season. It was a modest success at first, riding the popularity of Smallville, but rapidly dropping ratings led to its cancellation. It did have enough lead time to actually resolve its Myth Arc.

The tropes for the original comic book series can be found here.

Birds of Prey provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us/Storming the Castle: In the finale, Harley and her Mooks take control of the clock tower. The heroes then have to assault their own base to stop her.
  • Badass Longcoat: Huntress, occasionally. Dinah in the finale.
  • Badass Normal: Barbara, as both Oracle and Batgirl.
  • Batman Cold Open
  • Bat Signal
  • Best Served Cold: Harley's been planning revenge ever since the Joker was defeated.
  • Big Bad: Harley Quinn.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage
  • The Cameo: In an early episode, The Joker is voiced in flashback by Mark Hamill.
  • Civvie Spandex / Coat, Hat, Mask / Not Wearing Tights: Huntress's outfits could be interpreted in several ways.
  • Clock Tower: Serves as the Power Trio's base.
  • Cleavage Window / Absolute Cleavage / Impossibly-Low Neckline: Ashley Scott's... assets... get put to good use.
  • Coconut Superpowers, though almost every metahuman gets at least one flashy use of their otherwise practical power
    • The Power Trio has very inexpensive powers — Huntress fights really well, Dinah touches things and winces to create Flashback sequences, and Oracle is smart and has a big computer.
      • Huntress' most expensive powers consist of a Stock Footage eye effect and some wirework.
      • Dinah's telekinesis is explained as being very premature, justifying why she rarely causes a spectacle.
      • Barbara's most impressive bit of tech that can compensate for her spinal cord damage, allowing her to walk. This is a brace with a blinking light, which was used a grand total of once.
      • The original Black Canary also is very barebones in terms of how she is depicted, more or less simply as a kickass fighter.
    • Clayface and his son get their powers revamped because their comicverse and animated powers would be too expensive, especially since they appeared near the end, when it was clear the show would not continue. Clayface is not shown doing any extensive re-forming but only turns into other humans and needs to use mundane weapons to do battle though it only took him a very small crack in his cell for him to be able to pull a jailbreak — something comic Clayface probably couldn't have done. We of course don't see him do it. Meanwhile, his son can turn his victims into clay (harmlessly immobilizing them at first, but he then gets an upgraded version of the formula that lets him shatter victims). In the comics, that's based on a Clayface successor whose "claythings", as both the show and comic incarnations call them, actually become very mobile minions.
  • Code Name: Oracle/Batgirl; Huntress; Black Canary (referring to Dinah's mother only; Dinah herself is never really referred to as Black Canary, despite initial publicity for the series suggesting otherwise).
  • Dating Catwoman: Inverted, Helena operates as an Anti-Hero sometimes verging on Sociopathic Hero and finds herself attracted to the good cop Reese.
    • The romance between Batman and Catwoman is a major aspect of the backstory, given that Huntress is their daughter, and is referenced in the opening credits.
  • Death by Origin Story: In the backstory, Catwoman is dead and Batman is gone. And in the episode where the original Black Canary appears, she dies.
  • Differently Powered Individual: Metahumans.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Past tense, in universe — Harley went from being Joker's lover to being the new mob boss of New Gotham.
  • Doom Doors: The clock tower's secret entrance use this.
  • Dutch Angle: In villain lairs, much like the original Batman series, but more briefly and subtly.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Helena as of episode 10.
  • Forced Prize Fight: The "Gladiatrix" episode
  • Gender Flip: Darkstrike was basically a male Huntress. This was even Lampshaded.
  • Handicapped Badass: Barbara/Oracle, in the beginning.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The few people that know about Huntress think she's a criminal.
  • I Am Not My Father: Huntress has little to no love for her father. That said, she still protects Gotham in his absence.
    • Also Reese's attitude toward his father Hawke.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Huntress
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Dinah/Black Canary
  • In a Single Bound: Huntress, as well as Harley Quinn and Oracle in the final episode.
  • In Name Only: Lady Shiva is nothing like her comic book counterpart. In the comics, she's one of the absolute best martial artists in the entire DC Universe, one of the deadliest assassins on the planet, and the mother to Cassandra Cain (who, along with Shiva, is one of the few people capable of beating Batman in a one-on-one fight). In the series, she's a petty thief, who wants revenge upon Batgirl for the accidental death of her sister, a former classmate of Helena Kyle and can barely hold her own against Barbara Gordon (whilst in her prime) or Huntress. Oh, and strangely enough for this series, she wears a mask. Dinah also has none of the powers of the classic Black Canary character, though her mother shows up and does have the Sonic Scream.
  • In the Blood: Huntress is constantly fighting between the influence of her superhero father and supervillain mother.
  • I Work Alone: Huntress
  • Meta Origin
  • Mission Control / Voice with an Internet Connection: Barbara/Oracle
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: For Al Hawke.
  • Monster Clown: Guess who?
  • Monster of the Week: The Metahuman freak of the week.
  • Mythology Gag: At least once per episode, given the premise.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Dinah starts out in the series with limited telepathy, which she can use by touch or via dreams. She displays mild telekinetic abilities midway through the season, but not anything she can control. Then in the final fight of the last episode, she is able to project telekinetic force blasts (which knock mooks flying across a room) with complete control over them and no explanation as to where they came from.
  • No Ending: Avoided. After the cancellation was announced, the producers were allowed to film a final episode that wrapped up the storyline.
  • No Flow in CGI: Helena's Badass Longcoat looks great in person, but in the Stock Footage shots of her rapidly traversing the rooftops of Gotham it moves with the elegance of a steel plate.
  • Parental Abandonment
  • Pet Homosexual: Dinah's gay best friend Gabby.
  • Powers in the First Episode
  • Rapid Aging: Guy, in "Three Birds and a Baby". It's suggested that he's the son of the Joker and Harley Quinn, though the reason for his "symptoms" is not given beyond a simple Hand Wave.
  • Secret Identity: All three of the Birds of Prey. That is if you consider, not bothering to wear a mask or any kind of disguise whilst letting people see your face a secret. Huntress explicitly states she has a secret identity, yet she is shown working in a bar, then fighting crime with only a change of wardrobe. No mask, glasses, change in hair coloring, change in skin tones, change of voice, no Clark Kenting at all. Whether Huntress has a secret identity if she doesn't wear a mask was actually discussed by the characters at one point. Alfred weighs in and neatly summarizes the issues in a way that leaves the others unsure whether he just insulted Huntress or complimented her. (Something Oracle says is a "British thing".)
  • Secret Keeper: Alfred, of course. Also Reese after "Reunion" and Wade after "Feat of Clay."
  • Shout-Out: During the pilot episode, Oracle mentions that meteor showers are a likely source of metahuman abilities.
    • In the first episode, Mark Hamill, who voices The Joker in most modern-day animated Batman productions, gets to overdub the uncredited actor (Roger Stoneburner) glimpsed playing the villain.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Once per Episode, usually Barbara and Helena.
  • Left the Background Music On
  • Stealth Hi/Bye
    • Huntress to Reese all the freaking time.
    • Even Alfred does this to Reese at one point, prompting him to say in exasperation:
    "Come on, not another one."
  • Stealth Pun: The character Cassius, who is the successor and son of Batman villain Clayface. Cassius Clay is the birth name of Mohammed Ali, arguably the most famous professional boxer ever.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Helena/Huntress
  • Super Hero
  • Super Hero Origin
  • Super Villain: Harley Quinn, Clayface, Joker (past tense), et cetera.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Every. Single. Week.