The Good Stuff

Harley Quinn

I’ve been meaning to do a better job of sharing my thoughts about books and shows and movies that I enjoy here, but I’ve been extremely derelict throughout The Present Crisis. My last capsule review was the better part of a year ago. Now that my kid is back in school in person and my workdays have a little more normal structure, I’m intending to be a little better about sharing my thoughts here, not just about the media that I’ve been enjoying but about writing and life in general. So I’ll start with a cartoon that I like, which is a long-standing tradition on the site.

I heard from a lot of people over the last couple of years that I should really check out the Harley Quinn adult animated series, which launched on the DC Universe streaming service and has since moved to HBO Max. Developed by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey and based on the character originally created for Batman The Animated Series by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, the series has a stellar voice cast, great character designs, and is gorgeous to look at, but beyond that it’s also incredibly clever and very, very funny. The designs most closely resemble the characters from the late period Bruce Timm series like Justice League Unlimited, but with some nice tweaks and refinements. I’ve seen the series compared favorably to shows like The Venture Bros, and I think those comparisons are apt, but where other series deal with tropes and types the makers of Harley Quinn have the advantage of getting to mine the rich continuity of the DC universe for material. There are some nice deep cut references, and clever takes on long established characters that I don’t know that I’ve seen before.

I’ve only watched the first season so far, but I really, really enjoyed it. I would say that I regret waiting so long to check it out, except now I have two full seasons to enjoy all at once, which is welcome as we continue to endure These Uncertain Times. If you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend checking it out. (While noting that it is VERY much Not For Kids. They take pains in the first episode to firmly establish that this is not family friendly viewing, and is very much just for mature audiences.)

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