Like most DC animation fans, I didn’t know what to think when Warner Bros announced they were giving Harley Quinn her own animated series, and that it was being made differently from the 90s version of the character most are used to, and more like the one Margot Robbie plays in the Suicide Squad movies and her most recent film.
I’m so glad to say that the show turned out to be a wacky success, and now everyone who wasn’t able to catch it on streaming services can check it out before the third season hits on HBO Max with the Harley Quinn: The Complete First and Second Seasons Blu-ray set. This isn’t your parents Harley Quinn to be sure, but those who aren’t offended easily and give it a chance will fall for her and her team’s craziness for sure.
Produced by Kaley Cuoco (yup, from 8 Simple Rules and The Big Bang Theory fame) who also voices the titular character, this crazy series plays out like an insane, animated version of Seinfeld where Harley just does whatever she wants to for the most part after finally breaking away from the Joker who has burned her and her feelings for the last time.
It doesn’t take long for her to assemble her own gang, starting with her best friend (and possibly more which is hinted at heavily throughout the series) Poison Ivy (played to deadpan perfection by Lake Bell), along with Clayface (Alan Tudyk who nails the comedic take here and also voices The Joker), the small but powerful Doctor Psycho (Tony Hale), and King Shark (Ron Funches).
Speaking of Seinfeld, Jason Alexander voices Sy Borgman, their landlord who soon becomes part of the team, and for more Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm-like fun, J. B. Smoove voices Frank the Plant which is clearly a zany take on Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors. From here, they do their best to take on Gotham’s biggest villains, from Penguin to Two-Face, to Mr.Freeze and even the Joker himself to become the new league of villains to run the city.
There’s also the ever present threat of Batman (Diedrich Bader) and the clearly Batman-obsessed Commissioner Gordon (played insanely funny by Christopher Meloni) making things difficult for the villains and their plans. The first thing you’ll notice when watching the series is how hilarious and over the top the voice acting is, as you can tell everyone involved is having fun making the show and it comes through without a hitch.
I’ll be honest and admit that it took awhile for the show to grow on me, as at first it seemed to throw out extreme violence and senseless profanity just for the sake of doing it. But once you find its rhythm and see that there’s a method to the madness, then the series becomes fun and at some moments even touching as you’ll find yourself grossed out by the violence at one point, cracking up laughing at another, and possibly grabbing some tissues for the feels at the next moment.
I’m so glad Warner Bros. collected both seasons together in this collection, as you’ll want to binge watch it once you’ve committed to it. It looks and sounds great in high-definition as the crazy colors and limited-but-still-good animation come to life, with the equally insane music, bone-crunching action sounds, and hilarious dialogue rocking your home theater setup. Sadly there isn’t any special features included here, which is a shame as I’d love some audio commentary from Kaley and the cast on how they came up with the voices, jokes, and such with some awesome anecdotes thrown in.
If you love Harley Quinn and insane, dark comedy, you’ll want to pick up Harley Quinn: The Complete First and Second Seasons on Blu-ray. It’s completely crazy and the cast is clearly having fun with it, but the show also throws you for an emotional loop or two along the way as well as some the over the top violence. As long as you’re not easily offended, you’ll enjoy this baseball-bat-to-the-head hit of a series.