The Harley Quinn animated series is intended for an adult audience and is created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. This show premiered on November 29th, 2019 and consists of 13 episodes. This show feels like a visit to Gotham City, and is an incredibly fun take on the extremely popular DC character. Following the success of some of the other DC Universe projects such as Doom Patrol, it seems the writers have a more confident approach at this series.
This show is very refreshing, and it earns its mature rating with countless F bombs, vulgar language, to the gory fighting in each fighting scene. It has very strong humor, and while it might not be for everyone, I rather enjoyed it. This show is over the top, in a good kind of way. It has a modern humorous tone, much like Family Guy.
The fans are greeted with tons of cameos from a cluster of familiar faces. The cameos in this show don’t just feel like a fan service, but the execution is pulled off very well. Each cameo ties in within the story and make sense in each episode. We’ve already stumbled onto many characters in the first four episodes, from Superman and Lois Lane, to Batman and Damien Wayne.
On Rotten Tomatoes this show currently stands at an average critic score of 88%, and an average audience score of 75%. But I do have to say I wish the numbers were a tad better.
In the pilot, we see Harley as the Joker’s sidekick taking the backseat to his crimes, which landed her almost a year in Arkham Asylum. She spends that entire time in denial that Joker will come and rescue her. Harley is blinded by her love for the Joker up to this point, and truly believes they will have their happily ever after. Harley escapes Arkham with the help of Ivy, yet still yearns for the Joker. Ivy sets up a grand scheme where the Joker would have to choose between Harley or Batman dying. After the Joker chooses for Batman to live so he can kill him by his own hands, Harley realizes the mistreatment she’s received from the Joker, and leaves him. Once she breaks free from Mistah J is when this show truly begins.
Harley occupies a lot of time trying to show to the world that she is more than just the Joker’s girlfriend, and this series does a terrific job at proving that Harley is significantly more than that.
In the second episode, whilst Harley and Ivy and sitting at home watching their favorite Howie Mandell show, the Joker appears as a special guest. He announces that he is the one who dumped Harley, and then goes to blow up Howie. This infuriates Harley and she finds the next Legion of Doom meeting and decides to invite herself. Harley shows up to the meeting, soon realizing that she’s actually crashing Penguin’s awkward nephew’s bar mitzvah. While there she attempts to show off to the Legion of Doom, and it ends disastrous to say the least.
She attempts to obtain the attention of the Legion of Doom, to show she’s not one to be messed with. However, no one takes her seriously. The Joker hates being overshadowed and doesn’t allow Harley the time of day to be taken seriously by the Legion. She soon realizes she cannot be a super villain by herself, and she needs a crew as backup. After several failed attempts she’s able to assemble a small crew of henchman consisting of Doctor Psycho, Clayface, and King Shark — a crew that has had some recent success together. They manage to successfully steal Maxie Zeus’s Olympic metals, rob a bank, and acquire a nemesis. Although their 12-year-old Damien Wayne nemesis wasn’t ideal, they still made a nemesis. It ended with a hilarious brawl between Harley and Ivy against Joker and Batman on live television, which even had Aquaman watching this chaos unfold on his screen at home.
Poison Ivy is half of the dynamic duo of this series, alongside with Harley Quinn, which is the driving force of this show. This is a duo that we almost never see on our TV screens, so this series definitely fills that void. Ivy spends most of her time cleaning up after Harley, and her failed attempts on the road to becoming a super villain. Regardless, Ivy stays true to Harley and stands in her corner, despite all of Harley’s spur-of-the-moment adventures.
The cast of this show however, plays the most significant role, and Kaley Cuoco steals the show as Harley Quinn. It took some time for me to get used to the voice change, since Kaley has such an indifferent voice from what we’ve heard before. But she does a fantastic job and adds a certain sparkle to this animated character. And I’m thrilled to see the Big Bang Theory actress join the DC Universe.
Lake Bell does a swell job with her voicing as Poison Ivy. Her sarcastic dialogue is beautiful, and she has some of the best lines. Bell is no stranger to animated side of things: she’s starred in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
Allen Tudyk is impressive, as always. This is not his DC Universe debut either, as he also portrayed Mr. Nobody in the series Doom Patrol. He voices multiple characters within this animated series, including The Joker, Basil Karlo, Clayface, and Calendar Man. He does a phenomenal job at capturing each one of his characters. His voice always stands out and never gets lost, even within a noisy room.
Ultimately, this is my newest favorite comedic animated series. It keeps the magic alive with each next episode. Humorous, yet action packed.
Harley Quinn airs Fridays on the DC Universe.