Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Birds of Prey (television series)
Birds of Prey was a live action US television series produced in 2003. The series, which was created and produced by David Carson for The WB, was loosely based on the DC Comics series, Birds of Prey. Despite its initially high ratings, the series was poorly received by both comic book fans and the mainstream audience, and was cancelled due to low ratings after 13 hour-long episodes.
The series featured Ashley Scott as The Huntress and Dina Meyer as Oracle. The Huntress's origin is derived from the original version of the character, not the version appearing in the Birds of Prey comic book: she is Helena Kyle, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, who (in the television series) was raised by her mother without her father ever knowing that she existed. After Catwoman's death, Batman went into a self-imposed exile, leaving the Huntress and Oracle as the guardians of Gotham City. A major difference between the television version of Huntress and the comic book original is that the TV character possessed a few cat-like superpowers inherited from her mother, who, in the TV series continuity, also had superpowers (in the comics she did not).
Black Canary's teenaged daughter also appeared in the series; Black Canary herself appeared in one episode and was apparently killed. (In early publicity for the series, the daughter was described as being Black Canary herself, which led to protests from fans of the comic book character; subsequently the series made it clear that the girl was not Black Canary.) The series also featured Mia Sara as the insane Harley Quinn, a character originally created for Batman: The Animated Series but later incorporated into mainstream DC continuity.
The short-lived series was based loosely on a series of events from conflicting Batman comic series. The Huntress as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman was taken from the Silver Age Earth-Two, which was discontinued in 1985. Barbara Gordon's paralyzation and subsequent donning of the mantle of Oracle was from the graphic novel The Killing Joke (which has a scene very similar to one of the opening moments of the first Birds of Prey episode) and subsequent comics. The destruction of Gotham City (as indicated by the constant references to "New Gotham" as the city's name) is also another recent development in the comics. One episode featured a female assassin and onetime enemy of Batgirl's named Lady Shiva; in the comic books Lady Shiva is the enemy of the current Cassandra Cain Batgirl, not the Barbara Gordon version.
However, the series never caught on in popularity; comic fans complained of the mishmash of timelines and "villain of the week" episodes while the overarching story arcs involving the disappearance of Batman, and the series' version of Harley Quinn who was supposed to serve as the primary antagonist, were not made clear enough to retain interest. The producers hinted that Batman might appear in the series, but the show was cancelled before this could happen.
The producers of the series were allowed to produce a finale episode following the show's cancellation which allowed them to resolve at least some of the show's subplots. It was combined with the penultimate episode by The WB to form a two-hour finale movie (although the two episodes were shown separately in international markets). The finale marked the only time that Harley Quinn was shown wearing a costume resembling that seen in the comic book.
An alternate version of the show's pilot episode exists, featuring Sherilyn Fenn as Harley. She was evidently considered unsuitable for the role and was replaced by Mia Sara, who refilmed Fenn's scenes. The first version of the pilot also differed in how it handled Barbara's love interest (the first pilot had her relationship ending while the aired version had it just beginning), and the first pilot is also considered to be darker in tone than the aired version.
SEASON ONE EPISODE LIST
- Prey for the Hunter
- Three Birds and a Baby
- Sins of the Mother
- Primal Scream
- Lady Shiva
- Nature of the Beast
- Feat of Clay
- Devil's Eyes
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