This is a really interesting take on the iconic character of Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco). It’s a series that focuses directly on her, filling in some deeper aspects of her past while also diving further into the dynamics of her relationship with the Joker (Alan Tudyk).
While that might be the focus here, this season has a wealth of supporting characters with Ivy (Lake Bell) being a true stand out. The two have a beautiful, realistic and grounded relationship where they do aim to support one another despite various issues that come up.
Not to say anything here is particularly real as its super over the top. Just that it hits those emotional elements and the interactions the various characters have feel real, as well as genuine. In this first season we have some really neat episodes, and a story that builds in unique ways. The episodes feel almost standalone in nature, but do build towards an overall tale. It’s definitely a progression, but they always have some weird or wacky adventure to go on.
Most of what Harley is trying to achieve is to reach the Legion of Doom, but that in itself is largely to showcase her worth as an individual. We really get to see what makes her tick, the connections she has to family and the holes that make her the individual she is today. There’s also a nice look at her intelligence, as an older version manifests in certain almost ghostly showcases. We get some wild moments in this season and generally it’s just fantastic. I found it absolutely hilarious, it has an amazing cast and such a weird selection of characters that just work perfectly together.
We get some amazing moments from the awesome King Shark (Ron Funches), the crazy Dr. Psycho (Tony Hale) and the overly dramatic Clayface (Alan Tudyk). You of course cannot forget the magic of the caring Kite Man (Matt Oberg) or the hilariously broken Gordon (Christopher Meloni). There are a ton of other characters that shine, but I’d just be listing off names way too much.
I will give a final notice of how much I loved Bane (James Adomian) in this as everyone just trashes him and all he wants to do is be responsible while causing explosions. The various minor stories in this series are excellent. They all serve a purpose and wind up having some insane effects on Gotham that I’ve never really seen before. The action is great, this is insanely gory and incredibly adult in nature. It holds nothing back, going over the top and completely diverting any expectations for the characters. It’s always a surprise, and somehow makes this feel like a massive world despite being an intimate look at Harley Quinn.
You’re never sure what character might appear next, and it’s just magical. They have great references, very distinct jokes and cover deep, impactful situations. The dynamic of Ivy and Harley is particularly great, but there are some other ones that play off each other very well. I found each of the episodes to be particularly hilarious and I’m not ashamed to note I was laughing the whole way through basically every episode. It’s just funny, they don’t miss a beat and it actually never undermines the emotional point as this one does have some good moments to service the drama. Almost too touching I suppose.
Harley Quinn Season 1 is just a perfect comedic look at the world of the DC Universe with an excellent focal character and it never fails to miss the emotional beats when they do arrive. The voice work is great here, and the animation is excellent. A good use of vibrant color, and depth in each scene. Everything looks fantastic, and they do not hold back on the violence or gore at any point.
I adored the relationship between Ivy and Harley, with Kite Man’s inclusion being very well handled. They definitely have some strange moments, with every single expectation being thrown away which was great. You’re never sure what they’re going to do with iconic characters and it just works. I was never disappointed, the pacing of the episodes was always fast and I’m left just wanting more of it. They also seem to never shy away from really changing up the situation and we’re left in a great spot for the season to follow.
This is seriously funny, it’s just a riot and every character has some sort of weird little thing to them that just works. While it is hilarious, it still doesn’t wreck the deeper dramatic points, and that’s important as comedies rarely know when to hold off. I feel like Harley Quinn is a much more fleshed out character due to this series, and has more depth than I would have appreciated in the past.
Harley Quinn Season 1 Review at Home with TV Viewing