Advance Review: DC Universe's HARLEY QUINN Series Premiere

Harley Quinn
Credit: DC Universe

Harley Quinn Series Premiere
Written by Justin Halpern, Dean Lorey, Patrick Schumacker
Starring Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Diedrich Bader, Jim Rash, Christopher Meloni
‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10

The best way to describe DC Universe's Harley Quinn animated series is Adult Swim meets DC's comic books. It adds another flavor to the already diverse original programing lineup for the DC Universe streaming platform. The show’s vulgarness is very over the top, but the relationship between Poison Ivy and Harley gives the series steady groundwork to build upon.

Credit: DC Universe

Harley Quinn is not only an entertaining show, but more importantly it introduces a deeper commentary on the character’s history in media and comic books. The most problematic aspect of her character has always been her relationship with the Joker and both in Margot Robbie’s take and her recent comic series - creators’ have started to define Harley outside of the Joker. This new animated show does a beautiful job of showcasing where Harley started, a love sick puppy who couldn’t see through Joker’s faults, to a strong independent woman who didn’t want to be stuck in his shadow. But Harley isn’t going to get over the Joker overnight, the premiere does a great job at portraying the struggles of a break-up and what that means for one’s self-identity.

During the DC Universe's Comic-Con International: San Diego panel, the show's creators described Harley as a Mary Tyler Moore arch-type; well if Harley Quinn is Mary Tyler Moore then Poison Ivy is Jane from Daria, and her dry sarcasm is the perfect counterpart to Harley’s whimsical personality. There also seems to be a “will they, won’t they” dynamic forming that I’m really excited for the show to flesh out more in their first season. Ivy and Harley’s relationship is the most promising element of the show.    

Credit: DC Universe

Sadly, the weakest aspect of the premiere is the genre it tries to strive in - comedy. The series has an excessive amount of gore and adult language that becomes a gag that overstays its welcome. The show relies on a “dirtier” side of Batman and because of that there’s no true comedic beats that shine on their own. Although the episode’s quick paced editing is telling to the series’ overall comedic potential.

Haley Quinn won’t be for everyone and certainly isn’t a show the whole family can sit on the couch and watch together, but it does a good job at targeting the audience they want to reach. Doom Patrol, Young Justice: Outsiders, Titans, Swamp Thing and now Harley Quinn all feel very different – allowing a variety of TV fans to find their new favorite show on the streaming service. In my column, this is a win for DC Universe!    

Credit: DC Universe

According to a schedule released by DC UNiverse, the animated Harley Quinn is scheduled to debut in mid-October 2019 and run through into 2020.

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