Birds of Prey (TV series)
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Despite initially high ratings, viewership quickly began to fall and the series was cancelled. In total, thirteen episodes were produced.
- The daughter of Bruce Wayne, and Selina Kyle. She is half-metahuman, and possesses cat-like abilities inherited from her mother (also a metahuman in the Birds of Prey continuity): enhanced agility, strength, healing and a sixth sense for danger, as well as the ability to shift her eyes to a feline form. This change is usually triggered by strong emotion, but can also be used to grant Helena enhanced night vision. She was raised by her mother, without ever knowing who her father was, until the night Selina was murdered as an act of revenge by the Joker. After this she was taken in by Barbara, who raised and trained her.
- Shot by the Joker as revenge for Batman's dismantling of his criminal operation, Barbara is paralysed and forced to give up her life as Batgirl. To compensate she becomes Oracle, using her expertise in computer hacking and weaponry to fight crime, calling upon Huntress to handle the field work she's no longer capable of doing. By day Barbara is a teacher at New Gotham High, but by night she fights crime from her secret lair in the New Gotham clocktower.
- Dinah Redmond - (Rachel Skarsten)
- Also a metahuman, Dinah is drawn to New Gotham, and Helena and Barbara, by visions of the tragedies that befell them on the night of Joker's revenge. She proves herself to the two and is taken in as a member of their team, with the condition that she train in the use of her metahuman abilities. In addition to her precognitive dreams, Dinah is a touch-telepath, able to read the thoughts of anyone she comes in physical contact with and later manifests the power of telekinesis, the ability to move objects with her mind. During the course of the series, Dinah discovers that her mother is actually Carolyn Lance, the Black Canary, also a metahuman and legendary superhero, who gave Dinah up for her own safety when she was a child.
- Detective Jesse Reese - (Shemar Moore)
- A detective that encounters Huntress while investigating a rash of bizarre suicides. He is simultaneously drawn to her and disapproving of her disrespect for the law. Nevertheless the two are thrown together by cases involving metahuman abilities. Reese's father is Al Hawke, head of a powerful crime family and sworn enemy of Carolyn Lance, Dinah's mother.
- Faithful Butler to the Wayne family. In Batman's absence he transfers his services to Helena and Barbara, and is often present at the clocktower, taking care of their day to day needs. He shares a close bond with Barbara, often listening to her problems or giving her advice on personal situations.
- A psychiatrist Helena is ordered to see after being convicted of vandalism while chasing a thief. Unbeknowst to Helena, or the other Birds of Prey, she was the lover of the Joker, and has come to seek her revenge on New Gotham for what it did to her 'Mr J'. Though she presents herself as a respectable professional, one called upon by the authorities to work with violent and dangerous felons, Quinzel is herself insane, using her contact with the criminal world to mastermind her revenge. Sara did not mirror Arleen Sorkin's Batman The Animated Series performance of a New York City-style accent when voicing the character, utilizing a more mid-Atlantic soundTemplate:Fact. During times of Quinzel's insanity, Sara used a distinct inflection in her voice, evident in the finale, Episode 13.
- Alfred Pennyworth - (Ian Abercrombie)
- The loyal butler of Batman takes care of the birds at Clock Tower.
- Wade Brixton - (Shawn Christian)
- The guidance counsellor at New Gotham High. He and Barbara meet in the Pilot and subsequently begin a relationship.
- Gibson Kafka - (Robert Patrick Benedict)
- A metahuman with perfect photographic memory. He can recall every taste, sight, sound and smell he has ever experienced and knows, to the second, the amount of time that has passed since he last saw someone. He is the proprietor of No Man's Land, a bar and safe house for metahumans. He first appears in the third episode, Prey for the Hunter.
- Detective McNally - (Brent Sexton)
- A New Gotham detective and partner of Jeese Reese. He is skeptical of all things strange and unexplainable. He first appears in the Pilot.
In addition, Mark Hamill reprises his role from Batman: The Animated Series as the voice of the Joker for the brief appearances of the villain in the Birds of Prey pilot. Actor/stuntman Roger Stoneburner appeared as the Joker on-camera; Hamill's voice was dubbed over Stoneburner's performance.
The series is set in New Gotham City, several years after it has been abandoned by Batman, with Barbara Gordon, and Helena as the Huntress, having taken over his war on crime. The two are joined by Dinah (after she assists them in defeating Larry Ketterlly, a version of the Scarecrow), Alfred Pennyworth, who serves Helena as heir to the Wayne estate, and Detective Lachlan Robertson, a police officer confronted with crimes and abilities he cannot explain.
A central feature of the series is the concept of metahumans: Individuals born with powers that cannot be explained. No two metahumans have the same specific ability (or set of abilities) and there exists a whole sub culture of metahuman society that the outside world knows nothing about.
It is this world that Detective Reese is drawn into, reluctantly teaming up with Huntress and the Birds of Prey to defeat metahuman criminals. At first, he is disapproving of Helena's vigilantism, even trying to arrest her, but eventually he realises there is a need for the Birds of Prey to take down criminals the police can't handle.
During the course of the show, the Birds of Prey often find themselves confronted with schemes masterminded by Dr. Quinzel, though they are unaware of her involvement until the final episodes of the series. Her attempts to discover what Helena is hiding, and the duplicitous nature of their therapy sessions together, form a large part of the series arc, beginning in the pilot episode, and being resolved in the series finale.
- 101- Pilot (airdate: October 9, 2002)
- 102- Slick (airdate: October 16, 2002)
- 103- Prey for the Hunter (airdate: October 23, 2002)
- 104- Three Birds and a Baby (airdate: October 30, 2002)
- 105- Sins of the Mother (airdate: November 6, 2002)
- 106- Primal Scream (airdate: November 13, 2002)
- 107- Split (airdate: November 20, 2002)
- 108- Lady Shiva (airdate: November 27, 2002)
- 109- Nature of the Beast (airdate: December 18, 2002)
- 110- Gladiatrix (airdate: January 8, 2003)
- 111- Reunion (airdate: January 8, 2003)
- 112- Feat of Clay (airdate: February 19, 2003)
- 113- Devil's Eyes (airdate: February 19, 2003)
There exists an unaired original pilot, in which the role of Harleen Quinzel was played by Sherilyn Fenn.
The series is loosely based on elements from a number of different comic books and continuities.
This version of The Huntress, as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman is closest to the original version of the character, though neither that character, nor the current Post-Crisis version possess the super powers the Birds Of Prey version does. The characterisation of Catwoman as a metahuman, with her own set of enhanced abilities, is closer to the film Catwoman, released several years after this series, than anything presented in the comics, where none of the women to use the name have had special abilities.
Barbara Gordon's paralysis and subsequent donning of the mantle of Oracle, and the notion of Oracle and another female superhero as a team, comes from the graphic novel The Killing Joke (which has a scene in which Barbara is shot and crippled by the Joker, very similar to one of the opening moments of the first Birds of Prey episode), John Ostrander's series Suicide Squad which introduced the idea of the crippled Barbara Gordon becoming "super-hacker to the heroes" Oracle, and subsequent Birds of Prey comics (which introduced the idea of Oracle having field agents, though initially in the comic her primary agent was Black Canary, not the Huntress).
The concept of Bruce Wayne giving up his alter-ego and going into seclusion after the death of a loved one is somewhat similar to The Dark Knight Returns and the destruction of Gotham City (as indicated by the constant references to "New Gotham") was also a storyline (No Man's Land) featured in the comics. The map of New Gotham shown at the beginning of the pilot is identical to one used in the "No Man's Land" story line. No Man's Land is also the name of the metahuman bar featured in the show.
Although only Batman, Oracle, Alfred and Catwoman were given screen time during the course of the series, there was mention made of all three Robins, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Tim Drake, implying that each of them were part of the series' past continuity.
Declining ratings led to the show's cancellation, but as several episodes of the thirteen episode order were yet to be filmed, the producers were able to wrap up the story lines in the last three episodes.
The theme song is Revolution by Aimee Allen from her CD I'd Start a Revolution If I Could Get Up in the Morning (album never released by Elektra Entertainment).