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Series / Doom Patrol (2019)

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"Ready for a story about superheroes? Ugh. More TV superheroes, just what the world needs. Be honest, have you hung yourself yet? Or, what if I told you this was actually a story about super-zeroes? Losers, achingly pathetic meta-human goose eggs. How about it? Ready to feel better about your own miserable lives for the next hour or so? Follow me."
Mister Nobody

Doom Patrol is a 2019 superhero series based off the classic DC Comics series Doom Patrol. It was originally created on the DC Universe streaming service and has since undergone a Channel Hop to HBO Max.

Each member has suffered horrible accidents that gave them superhuman abilities but also left them scarred and disfigured. Traumatized and downtrodden, the team found purpose through The Chief, who brought them together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence — and to protect Earth from what they find. Doom Patrol finds these reluctant heroes in a place they never expected to be, called to action by none other than Cyborg, who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse, but with a warning that is hard to ignore: their lives will never, ever be the same.

Doom Patrol features the likes of Negative Man (Matt Bomer), Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), Robotman (Brendan Fraser), Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), and Cyborg (Joivan Wade) under the guidance of Dr. Niles Caulder, aka “The Chief” (Timothy Dalton). The team battles strange and bizarre villains, including the sinister Mister Nobody (Alan Tudyk).

While some members of the Doom Patrol appeared in Episode 4 of Titans with the same actors, to set up this show, there was some Flip-Flop of God as to whether Doom Patrol was actually in the same universe as Titans. The question was answered in the Arrowverse's Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Titans was set in Earth-9, and Doom Patrol was in Earth-21.

It premiered on February 15, 2019. The second season was streamed simultaneously on DC Universe and HBO Max in 2020, with the third season following in 2021 as an HBO Max exclusive. A fourth and final season began on December 8, 2022.

Doom Patrol contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: This series is Darker and Edgier similar to Grant Morrison's iconic run on the team for the Vertigo imprint, yet the team itself is mostly based on the classic original roster from the '60s with the sole exception of Crazy Jane in the place of Mento as a main cast member.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Downplayed, as the name has thus far only been used in marketing, but Elasti-Girl is now Elasti-Woman, to avoid confusion with Disney-Pixar's Elastigirl.
    • Heinrich von Fuchs' comic book counterpart is Dr. Bruckner, presumably specifically so they could call his Paraguayan theme park Fuchtopia.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection:
    • Cyborg joins the Doom Patrol on their first mission as a proper team. He had a previous connection to Niles Caulder through him being a friend of his father. In the comics, Cyborg has never had any such connection to them.
    • In this version, Dorothy Spinner is Niles Caulder's daughter, whereas in the comics, she has no familial connections to him.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Played With for several characters throughout:
    • Rita is subverted. When composed and in control, she is quite attractive like her original character, but when her "abilities" kick in, instead of only shrinking or growing, she visibly blobs-out into a terrifying mess.
    • Mr. Nobody is Downplayed. While still abstract and almost formless, here, he at least keeps part of a human looking face.
    • Averted with Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man. In the comics, his dinosaur head is partially fused to his normal head, which is just as freakish as it sounds, but here, both heads are distinct, making him far less uncomfortable to look at.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Although most of their origins are intact, some things are changed:
    • Cliff Steele is still a race car driver, but now he has a wife (whom he was cheating on with the nanny) and a daughter. And the accident that turned him into Robotman happened with them in the car, crashing through a semi-truck, decapitating his wife Kate and damaged Cliff’s body beyond repair, leaving him and his daughter Clara as the only survivors of the crash.
    • Larry Trainor is still a test pilot who merged with the Negative Spirit in the upper atmosphere, but here, he also had a wife and two children...and he was cheating on his wife with another man.
    • Crazy Jane still has 64 different personalities and each personality has their own superpower, but since there was no gene bomb in this universe, her powers instead came from a drug she was injected with by the Bedlam House style mental hospital staff. The cause of her Dissociative Identity Disorder is still the same, however.
    • Rita Farr's origin is almost completely intact, except instead of being able to grow and shrink at will, Rita found that her body began to distort and melt like a blob.
    • Cyborg's accident was much more mundane than usual. Instead of being injured by an extradimensional being or invasion, he was in a lab accident after he got angry and threw volatile chemicals, which exploded.
    • Each of their origins also happened in different decades: Rita's in The '50s, Larry's in The '60s, Jane's in The '70s, Cliff's in The '80s, and Cyborg's in the 2010s.
  • Adaptational Diversity:
    • Crazy Jane, who is white in the comics, is played by Latina actress Diane Guerrero. Season 3 also implies that the "Jane" persona is a lesbian.
    • The series makes Larry Trainor a gay man, played by Matt Bomer.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Cliff in the comics was a hot-headed but otherwise Nice Guy Gentle Giant, and while he's still mostly this, he's a lot more prone to swearing and yelling, and his Jerk with a Heart of Gold nature is played up. Notably, he's given a backstory that makes him far more of a Byronic Hero, as he was cheating on his wife with their nanny (and got pissed when he thought she was cheating on him with his best friend), and this adultery is directly what caused the accident (and also lead to his wife's death).
    • Jane is a lot more standoffish and aggressive than she was in the comics, to the point where regular Jane and Hammerhead are sometimes hard to differentiate. Most of her personalities are a lot more prone to violent outbursts, to the point where she's almost the Token Evil Teammate.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Niles Caulder is portrayed initially as the beloved fatherly figure of the team, with hints of a more ruthless, pragmatic persona underneath, whereas his comic self was a far colder man who turned out to have been a complete sociopath. When it's revealed he was the cause of everyone's 'accidents', as in the comics, his motivation for doing so is far less selfish (motivated by a desire to protect his metahuman daughter) and he genuinely felt remorse for what he was doing.
    • Silas Stone, similarly, while still an Insufferable Genius (and in fact, is treated as if he's the darker foil to Niles), is far more aware of his son's feelings and tries to encourage and support him, while treating him less like an experiment.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Larry Trainor is now gay and was cheating on his wife with another man.
  • Adaptational Ugliness:
    • Both Kipling and the Beard Hunter are more heavy-set and unkempt than their comics counterparts.
    • Zigzagged with Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, who is less buff than usual, but at least his face isn't half-melted into the side of a dinosaur's neck.
  • Adapted Out: Beast Boy, who was a member of the team proper in the comics. Although he was part of the team in their Titans continuity, no reference is made to him in this continuity.
  • The Ageless: This is explicitly a side-effect of Metahuman abilities in this setting; while some of the Doom Patrol have explicit handwaves relating to their powers (Cliff is in a robot body now, and Rita is a shapeshifter), most of them have no other explanation besides it just being a minor secondary ability they all possess. Niles discovered Slava, a still-alive cavewoman living in the mountains in the 1910s; he realised from tribal drawings that she had been around for centuries, and shortly after discovered she had metahuman powers (low-level Reality Warper able to bring to life 'imaginary' monsters) which likely led to it. He fathered a child with her that inherited her mother's abilities, and as a result is physically still a young girl, prompting him to start creating Metahumans for 'Project Immortus' in an attempt to gain similar immortality so he could protect her/the world from her.
    • The only exceptions are Mento and the original Doom Patrol, though it's implied this may be a result of the trauma Mr Nobody inflicted on their psyche causing their bodies to decay, indicating their physical health is linked to their mental state.
    • The members of the Sisterhood of Dada look physically the same between 1947 and the present day. Sachiko has "every power that no one has thought of", which means she presumably has every form of immortality that nobody has thought of.
  • Age Lift: Due to the fact that Comic-Book Time doesn't exist, all the characters are much older than their comic book counterparts, especially Rita, who was in her twenties during the 1950s.
  • Alternate Continuity: It's a separate continuity from Titans, confirmed via Word of God in this article from February 2019. It and Titans are both part of separate alternate universes as part of the Arrowverse as per Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019).
  • Ambiguously Evil: The Chief is someone that is believed to be the Big Good of the setting as well as the beloved mentor for the team. However, the Chief has made many morally questionable decisions like lying to Cliff about his daughter being dead, allying with Mr. Nobody, and establishing an asylum that kept his former teammates in a Lotus-Eater Machine. Despite this, he usually has a justification for all of his actions.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The Cult of the Unwritten Book seek the unmaking of the world, much like their comic origin.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite the team being made up of a brain in a robot, a woman who melts when distressed, a bandaged man with an energy being living inside of his body, and a woman with dozens of superpowered alternate personalities, the team is very skeptical of Kipling's (well-founded) doomsday assertions. Cyborg, the most normal member of the team, is ironically also the least skeptical of the group (which makes sense, since as a 'real' superhero, he's probably at least loosely acquainted with magic-using heroes).
  • Argentina Is Nazi-Land: In this case, neighboring Paraguay is where Doctor Fuchs fled to after WW2.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Rita's list of examples for why the world is 'garbage': "People lie, and they hurt each other, and they wear these things on their feet called crocs."
  • Big Fancy House: The Chief's house is huge, old-fashioned, and well-furnished.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The albino donkey is actually a door to another dimension controlled by Mr. Nobody.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Any conversation involving Sachiko is bilingual, as her powers include subtitling her Japanese for the English speakers she converses with. (Though at one point in her initial appearance, the conversation becomes monolingually Japanese as she uses her powers to switch Cliff's language.)
  • Bloodier and Gorier: While the comic book run it's primarily based off of could get quite gruesome, here the gore is boosted by the fact that Doom Patrol is allowed to take on (and murder) flesh and blood opponents in live action.
  • Body Horror: All of the Doom Patrol in various ways: Rita can turn into a blob, Larry is horribly burned, and Cliff is a brain in a jar.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Mr. Nobody's narration does this, saying things like "The critics are going to hate this show." Borders on Deadpool territory when he directly calls out the audience in episode 2 after the Chief asks him who he's talking to:
    Mr. Nobody: Grant Morrison fans, Reddit trolls with DC Universe subscriptions, and the three new fans who stuck around after the donkey fart.
  • Breather Episode: This series has a few.
    • "Therapy Patrol", coming in the wake of the team finding out the horrible fates that befell the last team to try and fight Mr. Nobody, is a comparatively lighthearted episode where Cliff convinces the rest of the team to do some impromptu group therapy so that they don't have any secrets for Mr. Nobody to exploit.
    • In "Dumb Patrol", which comes in the wake of the much harder episodes "Finger Patrol" and "Space Patrol", Larry, Vic and Roni fall under the influence of a stupidity virus and Miranda tries in vain to keep them from doing anything too stupid. Meanwhile, Cliff tries to hitch-hike back to the mansion after being dumped out in space.
    • In "Casey Patrol", the series turns away from the larger subplot of a mysterious cult draining the team's life-force to catch up with what Dorothy, Danny, and the Dannyzens have been up to since we last saw them.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Mento adored Rita and was falling in love with her when he read her mind and turned away from her in disgust due to something in her past.
    • Part of Mr. Nobody's plan to torment Niles appears to be to lead the Doom Patrol to discover the skeletons in his past to drive a wedge between them.
      • Cliff lost a lot of his respect for the Chief when he discovered he was lying about his daughter being dead.
      • Crazy Jane suffers this when she finds out the Chief's contingency plan if she had proven too dangerous: to lock her in a room at the same manor as the original Doom Patrol, so that Mento would keep her under his mental control in an illusory school for the metahuman youth.
      • Ultimately, the whole Doom Patrol loses faith in Niles when they discover he was behind the accidents that made them who they are now.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: After Larry becomes able to control when the Negative Spirit is released, he does that by saying "Negative Spirit, release!".
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Both Cliff and Larry are given wives and children they did not have in the comics. Larry's lover, John Bowers, is also an example.
    • Maura Lee Karupt, the de facto representative of the Dannyzens, is another example.
    • Most significant is the character of Slava, the Chief's Neanderthal lover and the mother of Dorothy.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Michelle Gomez plays another eccentric time traveler with ambiguous morality
    • Diane Guerrero is in another show with a Lemony Narrator and dramatic plot twists—though this time, it’s her character that’s named Jane.
  • Clownification: Sachiko from the Sisterhood of Dada can use any power conceivable once. At one point, when the Sisterhood staged a riot, she used the power of clownification to transform an entire roomful of people into clowns.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The F-bomb gets used give or take 20 times an episode, not counting other swear words.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Not so much an actual colored example, but Jane undergoes subtle physical changes whenever one of her personas emerge (for example, Hammerhead has a large chest tattoo and a scar on her lip, the Hangman's Daughter has a Frida Kahlo-esque monobrow, and Dr. Harrison gains Creepy Blue Eyes and a grey streak in her hair), which helps clue the audience in as to the identity of that persona.
  • Coax Them Out of the Closet:
    • Before the accident that disfigured him, Larry Trainor was a closeted test pilot whose lover John kept trying to get him to come out of the closet and leave his wife. After the accident, Larry just retreated further into the closet, only coming out decades later.
    • In "Dead Patrol", Larry twigs that Edwin Paine, one of the Dead Boy Detectives, harbors feelings for his best friend Charles Rowland, and encourages him to talk to Charles about it. Edwin is reluctant, as that simply wasn't done back when he was still alive, and since he and Charles are ghosts, it seems like a moot point.
    • In "Dada Patrol", the subtext of Shelley's interrogation of Jane about her identity is that Shelley suspects that Jane is a lesbian like her, and is encouraging her to admit that to herself.
  • Coming of Age Story: Season 2's Myth Arc involves Dorothy Spinner's long-delayed exit from adolescence, expressed through neatly (and sometimes blatantly) metaphorical episodes involving changing body shapes, the passage of time, menstrual pain, and sexual awakenings.
    • Season 4's "Casey Patrol" takes things a step further, with Dorothy hitting her angry teenager phase and having to learn how to deal with her new feelings in a healthy way.
  • Concepts Are Cheap: The Bureau of Normalcy seeks to ensure that everything is normal. Exactly why they think that's necessary, and precisely who decides what is and isn't normal, is never made clear. They explicitly do include both metahumans and LGBTQIA+ individuals as valid targets, for example.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: An agent from the Bureau of Normalcy tries to torture Jane in the style of the Mr. Blonde scene from Reservoir Dogs but he never gets past the dancing.
  • Cross-Cast Role: The Chief is played by Abi Monterey as a young boy. This can be seen as a Casting Gag because Monterey also portrays Dorothy, the Chief's daughter.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Almost all the main characters are functionally immortal. They don't age, are hard to hurt/kill, and have other powers on top of that, like Super-Strength, energy blasts, or stretchy powers. Unfortunately, their powers are also the source of tremendous physical and mental pain. Rita has to constantly hold herself together or be reduced into a gelatinous blob. Larry's negative spirit disfigured him beyond recognition and actively torments him. Cliff's robot body can't feel anything, which means he doesn't even have a physical outlet (which he could escape to before his transformation) for all the emotional turmoil he's undergoing. And while they may have powers, they can barely use them properly, much less fight against the bizarre threats that are thrown their way.
  • Darker and Edgier: Downplayed, Doom Patrol is a very dark series with swearing, sex and other mature themes being prominent throughout. There's brutal death, black comedy, and the cast is a Dysfunction Junction ensemble. It is, however, much weirder and more humorous than Titans, with a strong vein of hilariously bizarre randomness running throughout, particularly when Mr. Nobody is around.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Both played straight and subverted. Each character's backstory includes behavior that was anachronistic and behavior that isn't at all.
    • Rita Farr has a one-armed cameraman fired because his appearance disgusts her, although it's not clear whether it's because he's black, disabled, or both. (She ends up frighteningly disfigured herself shortly afterwards). Her Hollywood backstory includes the casting couch (this show was released during the #MeToo movement, which called attention to how little show business has changed).
    • Larry's Gayngst is considerable and he considers himself a monster akin to a murderer or paedophile. This is not an unbelievable character trait for a military man of the 1960s who has been living in isolation since then but may surprise viewers who grew up in a more accepting time period. At the same time, a large part of Larry thinking he was a monster was the misery his double-life was causing his wife and his lover, which is a common result of infidelity regardless of the genders and orientations of the parties involved.
    • Cliff's brief appearance shows him as a cheating, drunk, self-aggrandizing Manchild. It's all but stated this was lauded behavior in The '80s (though hardly uncommon in any decade).
    • In one of Jane's memories from when Kay Challis was going to school in the 60s, her (apparently Southern) school teacher portrays Abraham Lincoln as an authoritarian trying to take away farmers' rights and the Confederates as a group of heroic rebels uniting for the common good, while being oblivious to the fact she just described them rebelling against the union by forming a union and seemingly considering slavery a 'farmer's right'. It's also apparent Kay was singled out in class by the teacher while her (all-white) classmates were encouraged by the teacher to laugh at her. Tragically, a parent sexually abusing their child while the other parent turns a blind eye is as much of a problem in any time in history.
  • Denser and Wackier: In comparison to Titans and Swamp Thing being entirely Earth-based, it's said their mission will take them to the weirdest and most unexpected corners of the DC Universe. The show proper bears this out, and it might be the single weirdest DC Comics show ever, with talking cockroaches, farting donkeys, and Mr. Nobody constantly Breaking the Fourth Wall to insult the show and the audience with equal abandon. And that's just from the first few episodes!
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Each of the characters represents some form of severe mental illness or trauma.
    • Rita needing to constantly focus and control her mind in order to not literally melt into a pile of goo is akin to people suffering from anxiety disorders. Her previous need for constant validation and attention also implies some form of narcissism or deep-seated inferiority complex.
    • Larry and the negative being in his body are pretty much a metaphor for his image as a 'normal' straight man, and his secret, other, true self of being a gay man.
    • Cliff's wild swings from rage to depression to cheerfulness to guilt implies some sort of manic or bipolar disorder.
    • Crazy Jane has dissociative identity disorder, implied to have stemmed from sexual abuse by her father as a child.
    • Victor's relationship with his father implies some sort of mental or emotional abuse.
  • The Dreaded: The Department of Normalcy's is very obviously the Butts. When they escape, one of their generals outright kills himself.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: Stated to be Willoughby Kipling's specialty. What appears to be clocks, cigarettes, and rosary beads covered in hot sauce are actually very specific charms, enchantments, and defenses.
  • Epic Fail: The team has actually so far shown that they are incredibly incompetent at just about everything they do as a Running Gag and Dramatic Irony for a superhero show. Victor even tells them bluntly that in an ideal situation they would not be qualified at all to be the ones to rescue Niles.
    • In the first episode, going into town nearly ends with them destroying it.
    • In the second episode, they utterly fail to prevent the town from being sucked into a Pocket Dimension (via donkey).
    • In the third episode, they can't get to Paraguay until Jane just teleports them there and even then she only takes Cliff and Larry.
  • Expy:
  • Famed in Story: With the exception of Jane, all the main cast were quite famous before their accidents. In Cyborg's case, even more famous after.
    • Rita Farr was a beloved actress of the 50s, whose movies are still looked at quite fondly today.
    • Cliff Steele was a famous racecar driver who brought enough fame and fortune to afford a nice mansion and a high class life for his wife and kids. He was famous enough to get cameos in soaps playing himself.
    • Larry Trainor was a famed, decorated fighter pilot and considered an American hero. He was potentially going to be one of the first men in space.
    • Though Victor Stone was already an up and coming student athlete before his accident, after becoming Cyborg he became a solid B-lister among the superhero community, and is regularly recognized and applauded. He's not quite A-list material yet, however, as he's said he's still five years away from joining the Justice League. His comparative modern-day fame is actually a problem for the Department of Normalcy when they capture him, as they're aware of the potential minefield they step into by targeting a superhero with his fame.
    • Even the main villain, Mr. Nobody, has now become the defining example of successfully buying your metahuman abilities, to the point that other would-be villains discuss the price of the full "Morden" treatment (with Morden being his deadname from before he bought the treatment and became Mr. Nobody).
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Invoked with Mr. Nobody. He believed he was being written off by everyone as “a nobody” which led him to undergo a process to become an insanely powerful supervillain.
  • Forced Orgasm: Played for Laughs. Thanks to Flex Mentallo flexing the wrong muscle, everyone on Danny the street has an spontaneous orgasm. Including Danny. They range from modest, loud, grunting, and fake (Cliff, having lost his genitalia along with the rest of his physical body, decides to fake it so that he doesn't feel left out). Afterward some of the people even collapse or have a smoke.
  • Foul First Drink: In the third season, Kay Challis is briefly separated from her alternate personalities for the first time in decades, and having never experienced being a grown-up before, she asks Cliff for a beer. She takes one swig and immediately spits it out.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Initially, Cliff is the Optimist, Jane is the Cynic, Cyborg is the Realist, Rita is the Apathetic, and Larry is the Conflicted. Of course, given the type of characters they are, expect to see them veer wildly between the other philosophies on a whim.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Doom Patrol features full-on nudity, and makes the sex scenes in Titans look rather tame in comparison.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episodes are titled "X Patrol".
  • Innocent Awkward Question: At the start of season 2, Jane has been secretly shooting up drugs to stifle her powers. Most of the others are unaware, because she stays in her tent and they don't want to risk her Hair-Trigger Temper by checking on her, but Dorothy has No Sense of Personal Space and not only walks into Jane's tent, but then pulls the syringe out of Jane's arm, thinking that it's hurting her. When Jane comes to, Dorothy apologetically asks if pulling the needle out hurt her. Jane avoids the question by demanding to know why Dorothy is in her tent.
  • Ironic Hell:
  • It Makes Sense in Context: The whole show could count as this, but especially the next episode promos. Pretty much every single one highlights some of the most strange, goofy and seemingly random sequences in the episode that don't feature heavy profanity, gore or sexual content (which is, naturally, about enough to fill a 30 second promo).
  • Lampshade Hanging: When the team are captured by the Bureau of Normalcy, they lampshade the redundancy of having two cyborg characters by declaring that humans being kept alive via machinery is extremely common to the point they don't consider it anything special.
  • Last-Second Joke Problem: The first season ends with the team managing to get their act together, rescue the Chief and his daughter, and outwit Mr. Nobody... and then they discover that, thanks to the complicated plan that they hatched to defeat Mr. Nobody, they've all become miniaturized. The last scene ends with the camera pulling out while an enraged Cliff drops a Cluster F-Bomb.
  • Lemony Narrator: Alan Tudyk doesn't pull any punches with Mr. Nobody's narration of the first episode.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine:
    • What Mr. Nobody initially shows Rita and Larry. It's their glory days that only gradually turns into an image of horrifying despair.
    • The school that the original Doom Patrol teaches at is one of these. Only the Doom Patrol and their doctor are present with the school being a rundown ruin. Mento's powers make them think that they are teachers of an X-Men-like school for gifted youngsters.
  • May–December Romance: Exaggerated by Slava, who is potentially more than 200,000 years old, and the Chief, who is somewhere around middle-aged when they hook up in 1913. Avoids being a Mayfly–December Romance because Niles was able to prolong his own life beyond that of a normal human.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Matt Bomer is an incredibly handsome man, and his flashback sequences illustrate this to audiences. This is a Downplayed Trope example as he usually is portrayed as in a varying degree of tortured given his unhappy pre-negative-spirit life after the crash and the merging, well, he's not much happier now, either).
    • Flex Mentallo wears nothing but trunks to show off his chiseled physique, which is also the source of his powers.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Rita Farr is often shown in a way that highlights her actress-glam good looks and fashion sense. As the series has progressed, the camera has also been more willing to show Crazy Jane's legs (often with stockings). Both are Downplayed Trope examples compared to how female comic book heroines often are.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Mr. Nobody never had his first name revealed in the comics (he had previously been known as just "Mr. Morden"); here, his given name is Eric Morden.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The advertisements paint the series as a joyously gonzo adventure by a team of oddball superheroes. In reality, while undeniably strange, it's a pretty bad trip loaded with mental agony and dysfunctional group dynamics.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Cyborg Patrol, the heroes unleash the entirety of the Bureau of Normalcy's prisoners onto the world. This included the Butts and season 3 reveals that this also included The Sisterhood of Dada.
  • Non-Human Non-Binary: Zigzagged by Danny the street is a sentient, teleporting section of urban geography who uses the pronouns they/them, working with the cisgender metahumans of the main cast. On the one hand, Danny the street is nonbinary and very much the most nonhuman main protagonist, which seems to match the trope. On the other hand, the mostly cisgendered main cast are also nonhuman, being a family of metahumans. Also, the Dannyzens who live in Danny the street include many LGBTQIA+ representatives including Maura Lee Karupt, providing some human nonbinary characters. Also, when told that "no man may pass", by Black Aliss in the Underground, Cliff Steele says that he's not a man anymore, and has apparently come to identify more as a nonbinary "brain in a robot body" in terms of gender.
  • Noodle Incident: The battle against the Testicle Monster. Doubles as an Offscreen Moment of Awesome, since the Doom Patrol generally view it as their most successful mission between the events of season 3 and season 4.
  • Note to Self: When Rita travels back in time (and thus wipes her memory in the process), she brings a reminder note reading “Laura De Mille” and “Sisterhood of Dada.”
  • Older Than They Look: Applies to almost every main cast member. Justified in regards to the main cast, as their accidents were engineered in an attempt to grant immortality.
    • Niles Caulder, while still appearing visibly older, looks to be the same age during Jane's flashbacks to the seventies. It's later confirmed that he actually hasn't aged since some time in 1913. It's later clarified that he does age, albeit very slowly, and is granted increased longevity by a magical necklace.
    • Rita Farr still appears youthful despite being a young woman in the 1950s. Justified with her powers causing her to exist in a nearly formless state; she has to focus to retain her previous form, and since that was the last time she looked "normal," she's intentionally reverting back to her appearance then.
    • Jane still looks just as young as she did in the seventies. Possibly justified since her different personalities frequently show different physical characteristics, meaning each one may reset her age when they take control.
    • Cliff can't exactly "look the part," being in a robotic body and all, but his mental capabilities don't seem to be any worse for the wear despite what his age should be. If one assumes that Cliff was about 40 before his accident, an elder statesman for an active NASCAR driver, he'd be in his 70s or 80s during the show's present day storyline.
    • Larry's burned body has not degraded at all since his accident in the '60s. It's stated that he's 95 during the present day of the first season. The Negative Spirit is most likely preserving him as he is.
    • Mr. Nobody's face (or what's still there of it) is the same age as before the experiment. Of course, since he was literally transformed into a metaphysical (and metafictional) super-being, this is really to be expected.
    • Flex Mentallo looks exactly the same (after a haircut) coming out of the Ant Farm as he did going in. During that time, his youthful wife became an elderly woman.
    • Played with in the case the (original) Doom Patrol. After several episodes with the main cast, seeing Mento and his team still looking as young in the present as they did in the past seems normal, as non-aging just comes with having meta-human powers. Later, the team appear in their real forms and seem to have aged a lot. The youthful versions seen are simply psychic projections he creates after a traumatic battle, fighting against Mr. Nobody. However, it is then explained that the apparent age is actually the physical result of the same traumatic battle that caused the psychological issues.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Rita and Larry are closer to each other than they are with the others (though that's not to say they have no connection with the others). This is probably because of the fact that they were the first two that Niles saved. In the final episode of season 1, after the group splits apart upon learning what Niles did, Larry and Rita live together in a new house.
    • Therapy-loving optimist Cliff, who tends to avoid violence, is a very close friend of Jane's therapy-hating primary personality. According to one of her other personalities, she felt hope for the first time in a long time after meeting him for the first time.
    • In season 2, sweet-natured Dorothy shows a clear fondness for Jane, despite Jane being notoriously foul-mouthed and harsh.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Cult of the Unwritten Book. They believe that the entirety of creation should not exist, and are actively being about the end of the universe.
  • Outcast Refuge: Danny the Street is a sentient street that can teleport around the world to provide safe haven for societal misfits.
  • Politically Correct History: Downplayed; The main cast is from a variety of eras and backgrounds, and with the exception of Rita's behavior towards a disabled black cameraman in her backstory,note  seem to lack much of the bigotry endemic to their original times. Somewhat Justified in that the cast has been marginalized over the years, for decades on end, and that some of the cast are Twofer Token Minority note . Even still, Cliff is remarkably okay with the concept of nonbinary people, and Larry's sexuality for a southern white man who grew up in the 1950s-1960s, per his age at the time of his accident in the late 1980s. Even more so, Flex Mentallo, who was pointedly not marginalized in his time or in the present, sprang fully formed from comic pages in the 1960s, and despite having nothing but decades-old reruns of a low-budget Soap Opera for almost 60 years, seems to adjust to everyone on Danny the Street, along with Danny themself with no trouble.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Much of the chaos of season 4 could have been avoided if someone had just told Dorothy that her father died of old age and that he didn't want to come back. Her misguided quest to resurrect him results in the Cult of Immortus getting its hands on a pendant containing the essence of their god. Worse, she actually did figure out that bringing her dad back didn't justify her actions, but because nobody told her what the pendant actually did, she handed it over to the cult willingly, thinking that she was doing the right thing.
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Casey Patrol", Dorothy, who up till that point had never cursed, delivers one after the villain of the week forces her to hand over her most valued possession in order to save her friends, telling him to go fuck himself.
  • Previously on…: Each episode begins with a recap of previous events.
  • Race Lift:
    • Crazy Jane is white in the source material but played by Colombian-American actress Diane Guerrero.
    • Kind of done with The Chief. On Titans, he was played by Mexican actor Bruno Bichir, complete with Latino accent, but on this show, he's back to being white and played by the very British Timothy Dalton. Both are in separate continuities.
    • In the comics Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man was Swedish. Here he's played by Flipino-American actor Alec Mapa.
    • In the comics, Mr. 104 is a white American. In the show, he's played by Indian-American actor Sendhil Ramamurthy, and has an Indian-British background.
    • In the comics, Dorothy Spinner is a white American girl. In the show, she is half-British and half... whatever the hell Slava was.
  • Reality Warper: Flex Mentallo can control reality with his muscles. The limits of this ability are unclear but all appear to be relatively small scale.
    • Slava can create artificial beings from her imagination, primarily using this to create a creature that combines wolf, bear, deer and humanoid features to ward off intruders. Her daughter, Dorothy Spinner, inherited the same ability.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Apparently, being The Ageless is this for all Metahumans. They need some degree of immortality to survive the accidents and events that grant them their powers in the first place, as well as to survive living with the negative side effects of their powers. This is a plot point, as the Chief's reason for forming the team was to understand how to gain and maintain immortality to protect his daughter, and went so far as to arrange the accidents that would cause their powers to develop in the first place.
  • Refusal of the Call:
    • Rita and Larry. Rita goes back to Doom Manor and waits for the Chief to come back, while Larry tries to skip town as quickly as possible (but the Negative Spirit won't let him).
    • In season 4, it's revealed that Dorothy has been dragging her feet about returning to Doom Manor since her father's death, both because she dreads being around her friends, who all remind her of her dad, and because she just knows that once she goes back, she'll end up in the Doom Patrol, and will never be able to quit.
  • Related in the Adaptation: A major plot point here: Dorothy Spinner is the daughter of Niles Caulder, something that has never been the case in the comics.
  • Resurrection/Death Loop: In the penultimate episode of season one, Mr. Nobody traps the Doom Patrol in a loop where they keep fighting (and losing) the same battle over and over, getting killed every time.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Certain storylines end up being mostly irrelevant. For instance, the search for Doctor Tyme ends with Rita accidentally killing Dr. Tyme by knocking him down, but manages to turn back time which brings him back to life, but also annoys him enough that he ejects her, Cliff and Jane from his realm, with nothing to show for their trip.
  • Sleep Cute:
    • At the start of "Cult Patrol", Jane, as Baby Doll, falls asleep on Cliff's lap. When they wake up, Hammerhead takes over, pissed off.
    • In "Possibilities Patrol", Dorothy falls asleep while cuddled up to Jane, who's been comatose since the end of "Wax Patrol", and is thus there when Daddy takes over Jane's body.
  • Spanner in the Works: Without really trying, planning, or thinking things through, the Doom Patrol tends to ruin a lot of people's plans, both good and bad. Willoughby Kipling phrased it rather colorfully...
    Kipling: I did have a plan. A bloody good one. But as per usual, your dumbfuckery jammed a spanner up my ass, and now you’re zombies. Is it too much to ask for you twats not to fuck yourselves up so spectacularly?
    • Season 4 gives us a Spinner in the works, as Dorothy accidentally sets the rise of Immortus in motion during her quest to resurrect her dad.
  • Spin-Off:
    • Subverted. Although the Doom Patrol previously appeared on Titans (2018) in a backdoor pilot episode, this show wound up disregarding the Titans continuity in favor of starting from the beginning.
    • The show almost resulted in a spin-off based around the Dead Boy Detectives, but that show ended up being retooled to take place in a different continuity.
  • Stable Time Loop: Every cryptic event in the first half of Season 3 is given reason and explanation through later (earlier?) time travel actions.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Prof. Von Fuchs is a former Nazi scientist capable of giving superpowers to people who can pay for them.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The Doom Patrol's lack of training, teamwork, and control over their powers mean their earliest battles are complete failures.
    • The attempt to save the Morality Pet Elliot from his destiny despite it endangering the world... results in the world nearly being destroyed.
    • Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man's first attempt at a robbery ends with his dinosaur head attacking his normal head. Turns out having an independent raptor brain in a high-stress scenario might cause an outlash.
    • Holding a therapy group between several individuals with deep-seated traumas, all without a trained therapist to mediate, is not going to end well. Made worse because Cliff has a mouse messing around in his head, leading him to act out far more than usual.
    • A much lighter example comes up in Danny Patrol. Larry gives an amazing musical number in his Imagine Spot but when he actually attempts to sing, the lack of training and practice is very apparent.
    • In "Finger Patrol", Niles pushes Dorothy to entertain the increasingly-unstable Baby Doll for an afternoon. Being only a child herself, Dorothy does not have the training or stamina to deal with Baby Doll's tantrums, and Baby Doll herself does not have the maturity to put up with being told "no", and the situation soon deteriorates to Baby Doll trying to burn Dorothy alive, and Dorothy resorting to summoning the Candlemaker to put a permanent end to Baby Doll, which also results in the death of Flaming Katy.
  • Tag Line: What doesn't kill you makes you stranger.
  • That Man Is Dead: When Mr. Nobody appears to Dr. Caulder, Caulder calls him "Mr. Morden." Nobody replies, "I haven't been Mr. Morden since 'Aaah! No! Help me!'"
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Fuchtopia has shades of this, with the way its "staff" acts.
  • Trenchcoat Brigade: Willoughby Kipling, being a deliberate Expy of John Constantine. (He was only created in the comics because Grant Morrison wasn't allowed to use Constantine himself.)
  • Uniqueness Decay: Used for comedy. Apparently the Ant Farm has encountered dozens of human brains kept alive in crude mechanical bodies over the years and so see nothing interesting about Cliff.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The Chief, though one who retains a sympathetic POV. Niles is regarded by many as an upstanding and heroic individual who has helped organize superhero teams, helped people recover from trauma, and his extensive connections with the weirder world make him appear as the Big Good. Very few know that he's personally caused many of the traumas he "helps" with, and the many shady things he has done in the past. The ones who do all regard him as a monster.
  • Void Between the Worlds: Mr. Nobody's domain appears this way. In an interesting case of Leaning on the Fourth Wall, it's because of how comic book panels are separated by white lines; the void is the empty space between story, which can only be visually represented in a comic book-originated story.
  • Weirdness Censor: No one notices the Brain, in Robotman's body, dancing with a widow, at the retirement community. Then again, they didn't seem to notice that he was a brain in a metal container who lived with a talking gorilla, so...
  • Wham Line: "Penultimate Patrol" drops a massive one:
    Niles Caulder: The tragedies that befell you were not accidents. I was responsible, for everything that has happened to each of you.

"They really are quite doomed."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Doom Patrol


Ghostly Detectives

Charles and Edwin, who are ghosts, assume that the Doom Patrol can't hear or see them and freely trash-talk them. They are surprised when Larry and Dorothy bluntly point out that they are perfectly visible.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouCanSeeMe

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