Birds of Prey was an exceptionally short-lived television series that aired in 2003. Rather loosely based on some of the DC Universe's most popular female characters, it was an unmitigated flop, surviving just one season of thirteen episodes. When the show was cancelled, they were at least permitted to tie up the varying plot-threads of the season and film a final conclusion, which at least makes it a 'complete' show to have on DVD.
The show ran rife with the worst clichés, had the hammiest actors, the most dodgy special effects, the campiest dialogue, the most contrived interactions and set-ups, the sleaziest costumes and strangely cartoonish looking sets.
In short: It was WONDERFUL.
Birds of Prey basically encapsulates the concept of 'B-Grade' and I love it for this reason. I am the Queen of Trash, a dedicated purveyor of tackiness and kitsch ' anything cheap and tawdry I am all over like $2 perfume. I hold this series as dear as my knee-high leopard print boots or my red tiger-print skin tight pants. It's just a shame the rest of the world doesn't share my appreciation of the rare and very special sort of cubic zirconia this show was.
But clearly, there are a few other wise people out there, because the show was recently released on DVD in its entirety ' allowing me to bring you heretofore impossible to get screencaps of Mia Sara as Dr Harleen Quinzel ' yep, our gal, Harley Quinn!
Now, I perhaps am a little biased because I have a soft spot for Mia Sara since she played Princess Lily in one of my favourite films 'Legend'. After that she pretty much faded into obscurity, but she'll always hold a special place in my heart. I frickin' love that film.
Anyway, the 'Harley Quinn' of this show ' in keeping with how they altered most of the characters with the exception of Alfred and Barbara Gordon ' has very little resemblance to the Harley Quinn we all know and adore. In this show she is a respected and prestigious psychiatrist who is secretly trying to take over Gotham City ' 'New Gotham' ' and rebuild the Joker's empire. She's a much older woman ' in her forties ' and while she's still clearly fixated on Joker and has moments of playfulness, she can't truly be said to have much in common with the classic Harley Quinn. She's ruthless and vicious in a way Harley really isn't, and while she's got a wicked sort of glee, lacks Harley's persistent innocence and naivety.
She's also the 'Big Bad' of the show, the one pulling the strings behind the scenes ' very much cool, calm and in control. Not exactly like our daffy dame who's content to go along with her fella's scehemes and who's pretty much out to have a laugh, rather than bring a city to its knees.
In fact, she got a good variety of pretty hilarious lines throughout the show. Whilst she may not have had the goofy slapstick humour of our Harley, she was a 'funny' villain ' one who took delight in her wickedness and popped the one-liners.
A lot of Harley fans really hate what was done with Harley here ' but I have to be honest ' I really quite like it. If you're wondering why I can love this Harley but despise the way Harley was depicted in her solo series, it's because Birds of Prey is outside the regular canon ' it existed within its own continuity. And the solo series didn't and so I couldn't forgive the liberties taken with the character.
But because this show existed in a world that was so different in multitudes of ways to the regular canon, I'm able to really just take it for what it is and delight in all its decadent, hammy trashiness.
I also think Mia Sara did a really good job with what she was given. She totally camped it up and seemed to really be enjoying playing the role. I wouldn't say this was a consummate performance, but it was a whole lot of fun and she was able to evoke the manipulativeness of this Harley Quinn, the ambition and ruthless determination ' and the more wickedly playful parts as well. I found her to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the show and she certainly seemed to be fully along for the ride as well, playing the role with a kind of gleeful relish that really came across.
Many people can't forgive what this show did to the characters and many others just can't stand the cheap cheesiness of it and I totally understand that.
But I must admit, it's a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. :)