A series that was heavily promoted as an "event" before its arrival on the WB channel (now the CW), "Birds of Prey" is an adaptation of the comic book, which looks into the departure of Batman from Gotham City after suffering devastation and heartbreak. The series, from a couple of the producers of "Smallville", managed to get pretty good reviews and ratings that, for the WB channel, were above expectations. Still, for whatever reason, the series didn't make it past a first season.
Again, the show saw Batman go into exodus and the result was a crime wave that overran the streets of New Gotham at night. Years later, Barbara Gordon - a.k.a Batgirl - (Dina Meyer) has joined up with Batman's daughter, the Helena Kyle (Ashley Scott) - aka The Huntress - in order to fight crime. The paralyzed Barbara works in the lab, while Helena fights crime at night, aided by the mutation - she is one of many "metahumans" - that gives her super speed and agility.
The third bird, Dinah Redmond (Rachel Skarsten), makes her way to Gotham City to meet with Helena and Barbara, finding her way to their lair. She has superhuman powers, as well - the ability to see visions of the future. Throughout the season, the trio battle various criminals, sometimes with the aid of detective Jesse Reese (Shemar Moore).
The series does improve over the course of the season, as while the first few episodes do seem a little campy and contain some clunky dialogue, by the third episode or so the series starts to find its footing, as the performers seem to get more comfortable in their roles (Scott is especially enjoyable in a spunky, energetic performance), the writing gets more compelling and the series turns mildly more serious. Technically, the series doesn't look quite as polished as "Smallville", but the effects and sets are satisfactory.
Overall, it's too bad that the series wasn't given the time to develop (the reason for the show's cancelation seems unclear, and it's a surprise that it wasn't put on the same night as "Smallville"), as the show gets promising after a rocky first couple of episodes.
P- 1 Unaired Pilot
1. 1- 2 9 Oct 02 Pilot
2. 1- 3 16 Oct 02 Slick
3. 1- 4 23 Oct 02 Prey for the Hunter
4. 1- 5 30 Oct 02 Three Birds and a Baby
5. 1- 6 6 Nov 02 Sins of the Mother
6. 1- 7 13 Nov 02 Primal Scream
7. 1- 8 20 Nov 02 Split
8. 1- 9 27 Nov 02 Lady Shiva
9. 1-10 18 Dec 02 Nature of the Beast
10. 1-11 8 Jan 03 Gladiatrix
11. 1-12 8 Jan 03 Reunion
12. 1-13 19 Feb 03 Feat of Clay
13. 1-14 19 Feb 03 Devil's Eyes
VIDEO: "Birds of Prey" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.33:1 full-frame. Picture quality is generally very good, although there's some noticable concerns in spots. Sharpness and detail aren't remarkable, but the picture does at least remain consistently crisp and well-defined throughout the episodes. Some minor shimmering does appear at times, although especially during some of the more basic CG footage. On a positive note, no pixelation or print flaws appear, and colors looked bright, well-saturated and clean. Overall, while not an outstanding presentation, it comes
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack does provide crisp, clear effects and dialogue.
EXTRAS: The original pilot episode is included, and we also get all 30 episodes of the animated web series, "Gotham Girls".
Final Thoughts: While the series takes a little while to find its footing, "Birds of Prey" does eventually get going and become an entertaining action/adventure series that did deserve to develop the story beyond one season. The DVD set provides fine audio/video quality, as well as a few minor supplements. Recommended for fans, and for fans of shows like "Smallville" who never caught this series during its run.