Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey (TV series).png
Genre
Based on
Developed byLaeta Kalogridis
Starring
Opening theme"Revolution" by Aimee Allen
ComposerMark Snow
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Production locationLos Angeles
Running time39–47 minutes
Production companies
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkThe WB
Original releaseOctober 9, 2002 (2002-10-09) –
February 19, 2003 (2003-02-19)

Birds of Prey is an American action science fiction drama television series that was developed by Laeta Kalogridis for The WB and is loosely based on the DC Comics series of the same name. The series takes place in a Gotham City abandoned by Batman. Despite the series debut garnering ratings of 7.6 million viewers (at the time, the network's largest premiere in the 18–34 demograph), the series was canceled after ratings fell sharply in subsequent weeks.[1] Thirteen episodes were produced and aired in total.[2]

The initial trailers for the series and its opening credits used footage of Michael Keaton (as Bruce Wayne / Batman) and Michelle Pfeiffer (as Selina Kyle / Catwoman) from Batman Returns, indicating that the series was to share a continuity with the Tim Burton Batman films.[3][4]

Synopsis

The series is set in New Gotham City, several years after it has been apparently abandoned by Batman. In his absence, Oracle (Barbara Gordon) and the Huntress (Helena Kyle) have taken over his war on crime. The two are joined by Dinah Redmond, a telepath (after she assists them in defeating Larry Ketterly); Alfred Pennyworth, who serves Helena as she is heir to the Wayne estate; and Detective Jesse Reese, 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 abilities (unless hereditary), and there exists a whole subculture of metahuman society that the outside world knows nothing about.

Detective Reese reluctantly teams up with Huntress and the other Birds of Prey to defeat metahuman criminals. At first, he disapproves of Helena's vigilantism, even trying to arrest her, but eventually he realizes there is a need for the Birds of Prey to take down criminals the police cannot handle.

During the course of the show, the Birds of Prey often confront schemes masterminded by Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn), though they are unaware of her involvement until the final episode of the series. Quinzel's 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.[citation needed]

Characters

Main

The main cast, featured in a publicity still for the series' run. From left to right, Dinah (Skarsten), Barbara (Meyer), and Helena (Scott). Not pictured are Jesse (Moore), Alfred (Abercrombie), and Harleen (Sara).
The main cast, featured in a publicity still for the series' run. From left to right, Dinah (Skarsten), Barbara (Meyer), and Helena (Scott). Not pictured are Jesse (Moore), Alfred (Abercrombie), and Harleen (Sara).

Recurring

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
1"Pilot"Brian RobbinsLaeta KalogridisOctober 9, 2002 (2002-10-09)475179
The Batman legend takes an unexpected turn when the Caped Crusader vanishes from the crime-ridden Gotham City and his legacy is taken over by a trio of relentless heroines—the Birds of Prey. Barbara Gordon started out as Batman's protégé, Batgirl, but an attack by The Joker left her a paraplegic after being shot in the spine. Reinventing herself as Oracle, she takes under her wing Helena Kyle, the secret daughter of Batman and Catwoman, who quickly grows into the fierce "Huntress". Into this group comes Dinah, a teenage runaway who is drawn to the city by metahuman visions. With the help of the only honest cop in the city now called New Gotham, Detective Jesse Reese, the Birds of Prey fight their first battle against a mysterious madman who is bent on destruction.
2"Slick"Michael KatlemanStory by : Laeta Kalogridis & Melissa Rosenberg
Teleplay by : Laeta Kalogridis
October 16, 2002 (2002-10-16)175451
Slick (Silas Weir Mitchell), an evil metahuman who can turn from solid to liquid, is hired by Dr. Quinzel to kill the honest cops who stand in her way. When Reese is the next intended victim, Helena comes to his aid and their mutual attraction continues to grow. Meanwhile, Barbara believes Dinah’s story that she’s just a runaway, but Helena remains suspicious.
3"Prey for the Hunter"Chris LongStory by : Adam Armus & Kay Foster
Teleplay by : Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
October 23, 2002 (2002-10-23)175452

Helena and Detective Reese clash again when they both try to track down a serial killer who destroys metahumans by taking on their powers. Meanwhile, Dinah ditches school when she learns from Helena there is a metahuman-only bar, and Barbara meets Wade's parents who think she is not normal enough for their son.

Absent: Ian Abercrombie as Alfred Pennyworth and Mia Sara as Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn
4"Three Birds and a Baby"Craig ZiskDavid H. Goodman & Julie HessOctober 30, 2002 (2002-10-30)175453
When Helena rescues an abandoned baby boy and brings him back to the Clocktower, Barbara and Dinah try to help, but to everyone's surprise, the baby, "Guy", is only happy when Helena is holding him. Even more surprising is the fact that Guy wakes up from his nap as a walking, talking 5-year-old and is soon a teenager. Now in a race against time, the Birds of Prey discover that Guy is programmed to live his entire life in three days, and to kill the first person he attaches to, putting Helena in grave danger while Dr. Quinzel also races the clock to find Guy for her own nefarious plans.
5"Sins of the Mother"Jeff WoolnoughStory by : Melissa Rosenberg & Hans Tobeason
Teleplay by : Melissa Rosenberg
November 6, 2002 (2002-11-06)175454

Dinah's mother, Carolyn (Lori Loughlin), comes to town to find her daughter, but the past comes back to haunt both women when the head of a crime family that Carolyn took down in her years as the Black Canary comes after them. Dinah must fight to save the mother she's never really known before she loses the chance completely. Helena wonders about her own mother's past, and about the secrets that the Canary could reveal to her, while Barbara tries to bring all the women together to cooperate before the past destroys them all.

Absent: Ian Abercrombie as Alfred Pennyworth and Mia Sara as Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn
6"Primal Scream"Jim CharlestonStory by : Adam Armus & Kay Foster
Teleplay by : Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
November 13, 2002 (2002-11-13)175455
At the request of Reese, Helena goes undercover to help bring down a gang of thieves terrorizing New Gotham and quickly discovers that the gang is part of a larger infrastructure. Helena goes after the big boss until her cover is blown, putting her in grave danger. Meanwhile, Barbara has to deal with her fear of intimacy when her relationship with Wade takes a serious turn.
7"Split"James MarshallStory by : Adam Armus & Kay Foster
Teleplay by : Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
November 20, 2002 (2002-11-20)175456

Already frustrated with men thanks to her relationship with Det. Reese, Helena is none too pleased when a metahuman calling himself Darkstrike (Kristoffer Polaha) visits New Gotham to team up with her and Barbara. However, Helena warms to the enigmatic stranger when he explains his history with the Crawler (Brian Thompson)—a nefarious criminal with the nasty habit of murdering his abductees. When the fiend kidnaps an innocent teen, the crime fighters must race against the clock to ensure that the latest victim does not meet the fate of her predecessors.

Absent: Ian Abercrombie as Alfred Pennyworth
8"Lady Shiva"John KretchmerStory by : Adam Armus & Kay Foster
Teleplay by : Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
November 27, 2002 (2002-11-27)175457

Helena is thrilled when her best friend from high school, Sandra (Sung-Hi Lee), returns to New Gotham, but the Birds are troubled by a series of murders with the unmistakable mark of Batgirl's nemesis, Lady Shiva. Determined to fight Lady Shiva as an equal, Barbara dusts off her Batgirl costume and experiments with technology that allows her to leave the wheelchair. Meanwhile, Dinah tries to use her mind-reading powers to get a boy at her school to notice her to ask her out for the school's spring dance.

Absent: Mia Sara as Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn
9"Nature of the Beast"Shawn LevyMelissa RosenbergDecember 18, 2002 (2002-12-18)175458

When a hit is put on the life of legendary mob boss, Al Hawk (Mitch Pileggi), the only person he trusts to protect him is his son, Det. Reese. Reese turns to Helena for help, but when she learns that Reese's father is the same man who killed Dinah's mother, Black Canary, her loyalties are tested.

Absent: Ian Abercrombie as Alfred Pennyworth and Mia Sara as Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn
10"Gladiatrix"David CarsonDavid H. GoodmanJanuary 8, 2003 (2003-01-08)175459

When young metahuman women are abducted in New Gotham, Helena's investigation leads her to uncover a secret club where the captive women are drugged and forced to fight each other in an arena. When Helena is also abducted, it is up to Dinah to rescue her with Reese's help.

Absent: Mia Sara as Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn
11"Reunion"Chris LongEdward Kitsis & Adam HorowitzJanuary 8, 2003 (2003-01-08)175460

When Helena's former classmates descend upon New Gotham for their five-year high school reunion, two of the alums are brutally murdered. While Helena tries to find the killer, she fears that Reese's investigation will lead him to learn too much about her true identity.

Absent: Mia Sara as Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn
12"Feat of Clay"Joe NapolitanoAdam Armus & Kay FosterFebruary 19, 2003 (2003-02-19)175461
After a robber, Chris Cassius (Ian Reed Kesler), breaks into a chemical factory and drinks a mixture that gives him the power to turn people to stone, Barbara cancels her vacation with her boyfriend, Wade. Unwilling to allow Barbara to continue neglecting her personal life, Alfred the Butler brings Wade to the clock tower and exposes her secret. Meanwhile, Helena goes to Arkham Asylum and interrogates her father's old enemy Clayface, who possesses the same abilities as Chris, and learns a shocking fact about her past. She must race to prevent Chris from killing New Gotham's most powerful people at a charity fashion show.
13"Devil's Eyes"Robert J. WilsonAdam Armus & Melissa RosenbergFebruary 19, 2003 (2003-02-19)175462
Having discovered that Helena is Huntress, Harley Quinn uses a machine that gives her metahuman hypnotic powers. She then hypnotizes Helena and persuades her to knock Barbara unconscious and steal an access disk. Barbara recovers and uses her subneural device to enable her to stand and fight Helena, eventually neutralizing the trance. But Harley uses the disk to gain complete control of the clock tower and, after killing Wade, she broadcasts the hypnotic signal to every television set in New Gotham. Working together with Alfred, Dinah, and Reese, Helena must infiltrate the clock tower and battle Harley and her cohorts before they gain control of the entire city. It is hinted that Bruce Wayne/Batman is probably still alive, as just before the end credits, Alfred speaks to "Master Bruce" on the phone at Wayne Manor, talking about his daughter Helena and that he would be proud of her.

Media releases

Birds of Prey was released on Region 1 DVD on July 15, 2008. The four-disc collection includes the thirteen episodes that were broadcast plus the unaired pilot,[6] which features Sherilyn Fenn as Harley Quinn, and all three seasons of the Flash-animated series Gotham Girls. The episodes are presented in letterboxed widescreen format.[6]

Some music differs from the original televised version including the theme song ("My Remedy"), which in the original airing was "Revolution" by Aimee Allen, as well as additional songs such as "Harder to Breathe" by Maroon 5 in the second episode[7] and the fight music "All the Things She Said" by t.A.T.u. in the final episode which was replaced with "Beautiful Freak" by Dirty Children.

Ashley Scott, Dina Meyer, and Rachel Skarsten were reunited on April 25, 2015 at Hollywood Show at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel.[8]

Arrowverse

Further information: Crisis on Infinite Earths (Arrowverse)

Ashley Scott reprises her role as Helena Kyle for the Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths",[9] which retroactively establishes the world of Birds of Prey as Earth-203 before the Anti-Monitor (played by LaMonica Garrett) destroys it. Dina Meyer additionally reprises her role as Barbara Gordon, though only in an uncredited vocal capacity.[10]

See also

Note

  1. ^ Sherilyn Fenn portrayed Harley Quinn in the original unaired pilot for Birds of Prey.[5]

References

  1. ^ Mon (November 18, 2002). "'Birds of Prey' wings clipped by WB". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
  2. ^ Albiniak, Paige (November 24, 2002). "Here's How to Take Care of the Backend". Broadcasting & Cable. NextTV. Retrieved May 24, 2022. Last week, The WB also was deciding the fate of its Wednesday-night drama, Birds of Prey. It's still in production, and The WB plans to air it through mid December, using all 13 episodes of the original order.
  3. ^ Birds of Prey TV (2002) Long promo. YouTube.
  4. ^ Birds of Prey TV (2002) Long promo original. YouTube.
  5. ^ Sachs, Mark (November 11, 2002). "In the world of TV casting, nothing's set in stone". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012. Retrieved May 24, 2022. On the WB's "Birds of Prey", Sherilyn Fenn ("Twin Peaks") was dropped in favor of Mia Sara after filming the pilot.
  6. ^ a b "Birds of Prey – Studio Updates Us About the DVD Set's Aspect Ratio & Unaired Pilot". TVShowsOnDVD. April 23, 2008. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  7. ^ "Birds of Prey: The Music". Gotham Clock Tower. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Scott, Ashley (March 15, 2005). "My dear friends, good news to all #BirdsofPrey fans. The Hollywood Show for the 1st time is pleased to announce for their first ever appearance the cast of Birds Of Prey: Rachel Skarsten Dina Meyer & Ashley Scott. Only one day, April 25th, 11-5 PM. The Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel. - See you there, Ashley". Facebook. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  9. ^ Ausiello, Michael (September 26, 2019). "Birds of Prey's Ashley Scott Will Bring Huntress to the Arrowverse 'Crisis'". TV Line. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  10. ^ Anderson, Jenna (December 10, 2019). "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Birds of Prey TV Show's Role Revealed". ComicBook. Retrieved May 24, 2022.