RELEASED: April 3rd 2020 – June 26th 2020
DISTRIBUTED BY: Warner Bros.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Dean Lorey, Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, Kaley Cuoco & Sam Register
WRITTEN BY: Adam Stein, Sabreena Jalees, Sarah Peters, Tom Hyndman, Sarah Nevada Smith & Jamiesen Borak
DIRECTED BY: Vinton Heuck, Colin Heck, Brandon McKinney, Juan Meza-Leon, Tom Derosier & Christina Sotta
MUSIC BY: Jefferson Friedman
STARRING: Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Ron Funches, Tony Hale, Jason Alexander, J. B. Smoove, Alan Tudyk, James Adomian, Diedrich Bader, Briana Cuoco, Andy Daly, Rachel Dratch, Giancarlo Esposito, Tom Hollander, Michael Ironside, Wayne Knight, Phil LaMarr, Sanaa Lathan, Vanessa Marshall, Christopher Meloni, Alfred Molina, Matt Oberg, Jim Rash, Will Sasso, Jacob Tremblay & James Wolk
REVIEW: Harley Quinn returns to the screen, but does it uphold the same standards of character development, storytelling and wit that made it such a standout the first time around?
This season returns to a Gotham in ruins. With the Justice League missing and Batman struggling to regain his edge, Harley Quinn and her crew attempt to navigate the new Gotham City that has been cut off from the rest of the United States.
As the group battle it out with Bane, Riddler, Two-Face, Mister Freeze and Penguin for control, Poison Ivy and Kite Man attempt to plan a wedding amidst the chaos, while Harley struggles with her true feelings for her best friend.
Personally, I think this show is at its best when the protagonists have characters from the wider universe to bounce off, particularly superheroes like Batman and the Justice League. Due to the way season one ended, a lot of them aren’t in the cards this time around, meaning the spotlight rarely strays from Harley and Poison Ivy.
While the two are very capable and interesting characters in their own right, this season’s understandable fascination with them as a potential couple often seems to take precedent over the humour, to its detriment. It’s still a comedy, of course, but there is a much bigger heaping of drama this time around, and realistically, it’s fairly obvious where things are going to end up.
Thus compared to the first season, season two suffers ever so slightly by forgoing the more episodic zany problem of the week stories for a more drawn out narrative.
It’s still amusing and well-told, but the moments that make this show really hilarious just aren’t as frequent. The cast of characters seems much more condensed. Clayface and King Shark, while still present, are relegated to the background a little bit. Kite-Man takes more of a centre stage, but in a way that is somewhat detrimental to the character of Poison Ivy.
To the writers’ credit, barring some of the stops in Ivy’s journey, most of the character development is excellently written. The dialogue remains witty and most importantly, human. This is also helped by continuously top tier voice acting, with Lake Bell, Tom Hollander, Sanaa Lathan and James Adoiman being particular standouts.
Certain episodes, such as Ivy’s bachelorette party, the return of Batman and the resolution of Joker’s story, still retain the hilarity that made season one seem so fresh and entertaining and make season two still worth the watch.
While I’d be content if this was the end, I hope to see more of this show in future. While I do think this season isn’t always as strong as the last, it remains a very enjoyable and surprisingly thoughtful watch and I truly love these versions of the characters.
If the show does return, I’d love to see how the creators put their spin on the Suicide Squad.