If you are a fan of the 2020 movie, then you may be surprised that there was a Birds of Prey TV series from 2002, eighteen years beforehand. If you’re wondering why you never heard of it, it could be that it bombed as far as ratings go, and thus never had a season 2. It was headed down the path of shows like Smallville where the action was minimal, the budget was nonexistent, and the holes were filled in using drama.
For those who are familiar with the comic book characters, this show will add some confusion. Helena is the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, but the Birds of prey TV series decided to make her a metahuman as well. This means she has superhuman powers, despite neither of her parents having such abilities. There is another metahuman character in the show named Dinah, a totally new and made-up character for the show. The confusing part though is that in the Birds of Prey comic books, the character named Dinah is Black Canary, who we find out in episode 5 of this show is her mother. However, Black Canary has been renamed to Carolyn Lance.
What is a little odd is that the character Alfred Pennyworth is in the series. In comics, he is known for being Batman’s butler and confidant. One can hardly contain their amusement at the thought of Batman’s esteemed manservant moonlighting with the Birds of Prey, no doubt adding “nanny to super-powered women” to his already impressive resume. The mere image of Gotham’s dark knight brooding in his Batcave, lamenting the loss of his tea and biscuits, is as comical as it is bewildering. Indeed, the show’s inclusion of Alfred – a symbol of order and tradition – in this chaotic narrative only heightens the delightful absurdity of it all.
One of the characters that comic fans are most interested to see is Harley Quinn. In the Birds of Prey TV series, she is a psychologist, as was her original profession in comic books and the animated television show where she originated. It is rather bizarre, however, that the blonde bimbo that was originally created for making comedic blunders is now the criminal mastermind in this show. Harley Quinn’s appearance in the Birds of Prey TV series is the cherry on top of the sundae, as if the show wasn’t already brimming with its own peculiarities.
It is no mystery why the ratings for this show were not good. The acting is bad, and the story is weak. The show aired on the WB network (Warner Bros) on Wednesday nights, which implies that the producers knew the show was nothing special. I watched this show on a free streaming service called Tubi, owned by Fox Corporation. This says a lot since nearly all WB (and DC Comics) shows at the time could be found on the paid streaming service HBO MAX. For them not to care about this show and allow another streaming service to use it demonstrates that the show may not have much value.