Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Birds of Prey: The Complete Series
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on April 4, 2008
After five long years of fans begging and pleading, the way too-short TV series Birds of Prey is getting a complete DVD release! The news is truly worth shouting about.

Loosely based on DC Comics and a variety of other sources with a touch of Marvel's the X-Men thrown in, the series continues the legend of The Batman.

We enter the future, dark and fantastic world of New Gotham City. Long after The Batman has driven himself into exile, his legacy lives on in the form of the Birds of Prey - Black Canary, Oracle, and the Huntress.

From the creators of the CW hit Smallville, Birds of the Prey was produced in 2002 for the now defunct WB, but had only 13 episodes before cancellation. Since then, its devoted fan base worked tirelessly to have the series released on DVD. It was a really exciting action show, breaking new ground because ALL of the lead characters were women.

This boxed set collects all 13 episodes and a never-collected-on-DVD before Flash-animated series "Gotham Girls."

Awesomely, it also includes the unaired pilot, which featured Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks) in the role of Dr. Quinzel. Mia Sara was later cast as Quinzel in the series. She also appeared in the AIRED pilot. Interestingly, all of the scenes featuring the character in the AIRED pilot were reshot with Sara, word-for-word.

Also of note, the aspect ratio of the episodes in the set will be full frame, but will have dark bars on top and on bottom to mimic widescreen.

While normal citizens slept, the Birds of Prey flocked together to fight crime on the streets of New Gotham City. Several years after the city was abandoned by Batman, the awesome threesome of Huntress (Ashley Scott), Oracle (Dina Meyer), and Black Canary (Rachel Skarsten) was formed. Huntress is the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, and can smell danger from miles away. Black Canary has the gift of clairvoyance and Oracle leads the team through her cyber experience, despite being wheelchair bound by Batman's nemesis, the evil Joker.

When the series opens, we learn that New Gotham's Batman has disappeared leaving behind a daughter from his long-time love Catwoman. Her name is Helena Kyle, who transforms herself into the mysterious superhero known as "The Huntress." Helena has hypersensitive senses and agility, but uses her gifts selfishly. Fate brings her face-to-face with her choices as well as a wheel-chair-bound Barbara Gordon, the hero Oracle, who befriends her but agrees to train her only if she uses her powers for good.

She teams up with Barbara, who had been "Batgirl" prior to being paralyzed by the Joker. By day, Barbara is a teacher at New Gotham High, but by night she fights crime from her secret lair in the New Gotham Clock Tower.

The two meet a determined Dinah Redmond, a young woman who was drawn to New Gotham to learn more about her powers. Dinah is a touch-telepath and psychic who had terrifying dreams about Batgirl's brutal incident that resulted in her paralysis. The Huntress resists working with Dinah, but Oracle convinces her to give the younger woman a chance. Now, they must learn not only how to work together as New Gotham's protectors, but also as a family.

Special recognition goes to Mark "Star Wars" Hamill who briefly reprises his award-winning voice role as the Joker from the iconic classic, Batman: the Animated Series. In Birds of Prey, "Mister J" on-camera is portrayed by actor/stuntman Roger Stoneburner but Hamill's voice was dubbed over Stoneburner's performance.

During the course of the series, the women are often confronted with schemes masterminded by the Joker's on-and-off girlfriend, psychiatrist Dr. Harleen "Harley Quinn" Quinzel (Mia Sara), but they always prevail and eventually beat her at her own game.

Other characters of note are: Alfred Pennyworth (Ian Abercrombie), who serves Helena as heir to the Wayne estate, and Police Detective Jesse Resse (Shemar Moore), confronted with crimes and abilities he cannot explain.

A central feature of the series is the concept of metahumans: Individuals born with powers that cannot be explained. No two metahumans have the same specific ability (or set of abilities) and there exists a whole sub culture of metahuman society that the outside world knows nothing about.

It is this world that Detective Reese is drawn into, reluctantly teaming up with Huntress and the Birds of Prey to defeat metahuman criminals. At first, he is disapproving of Helena's vigilantism, even trying to arrest her, but eventually he realizes there is a need for the Birds of Prey to take down criminals the police can't handle.

Episodes in this four-disc collection are: the Pilot; Slick; Prey for the Hunter; Three Birds and a Baby; Sins of the Mother; Primal Scream; Split; Lady Shiva; Nature of the Beast; Gladiatrix; Reunion; Feat of Clay; and Devil's Eyes.

Very popular theme song "Revolution" was performed by Aimee Allen.
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on July 8, 2007
By the time they finished airing the new episodes I was sad to see it go. This was a show that would eventually build on the character driven stories to show some fine performances by the leads. The interplay between the characters was well balanced and entertaining. The addition of Mia Sara as Harley toward the end of the series was fantastic. Great villians make for great heros. Nice casting.

I waited a while to see a decent program with Dina Meyer as a lead. This was that show for me. Ashley and Rachel both seemed to dive into their parts with some flair. With Alfred and the detective rounding out the regulars.

My one criticism was that (especially on my recorded tapes) the sound volume seemed to be very low at times. Not so, with other shows I had recorded. I had to rewind and turn the volume up to catch a joke spoken "under the breath" more than once. Worth the effort, but not something I would expect the casual viewer to go through.

The start was a bit slow, but the series did grow on me. I hope to view the performances again, maybe in a better format. Give those ladies (and gentlemen) their wings once again.
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Despite the many liberties it took with DC mythology, Birds of Prey displayed a boat load of promise, but sadly got the axe before it had the chance to grow into something special. The story revolves around Helena Kyle, AKA The Huntress (Jericho's Ashley Scott), who just so happens to be the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. She joins forces with the wheelchair-bound former Batgirl Barbara Gordon (Dina Meyer), and the telepathic Dinah (Rachel Skarsten) to fight crime in Gotham City when Batman mysteriously disappears. Other familiar faces from the Batman world appear also throughout the course of the series, including trusty butler Alfred (Ian Abercrombie), Harley Quinn (Mia Sara), and even the Joker (played by Roger Stoneburner with the voice of Batman: The Animated Series' own Mark Hamil!), but there were often times when the show just felt as if it wasn't sure of what it was. Granted though, Birds of Prey never came off as cheesey and sugar-coated as Smallville, and by the time the series came to an end, things were just starting to really pick up. Despite it's flaws though, Birds of Prey always managed to entertain. Who knows what might have been, but the fact is Birds of Prey was never given the time and opportunity to grow, which is a crying shame. Its great that WB finally had the good sense to release the series on DVD, which has been long overdue to say the least.
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on July 16, 2008
Okay, I just picked up the 'Birds of Prey' DVD set.
It looks and sounds fine, but here are a couple of things that you will probably want to prepare yourself for before buying it, so you won't be dissappointed.

1) Though it is in the original 'widescreen' aspect ratio, IT IS NOT enhanced for widescreen televisions (anamorphic widescreen). What does this mean? Well, if you have a standard TV, you will have a black border at the top and bottom of your screen. If you have a 16:9 TV, you will have to blow the picture up to fit the screen (which means a lower picture quality) or else you will have a black border surrounding the entire picture.

note : Oddly enough, the 'Unaired Pilot' IS enhanced for 16:9 televisions. Hmmm....

2) A great deal of the music that was on the show at the time that it originally aired (including the original theme song by Aimee Allen) has been replaced for the DVD (most likely to keep down the cost of the licensing to include it in on the DVD). (In the finale, the TATU song that played during the big action scene is most notably gone.)

note : Though the Michelle Branch song has been replaced at the end of the 'Unaired Pilot', it is still there at the end of the 'Aired Pilot'.

BUT...

I am glad that they released the set. It looks better than my VHS-taped off of TV copied with all of the station logos blocking portions of the picture. I do wish that the entire DVD was 16:9 enhanced. And I do wish they would have been able to leave the great theme music during the titles.
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on July 26, 2008
I'm a sucker for any/all permutations of the Batman mythos, and BOP provides a fresh take on the happenings in Gotham. Featuring three strong female characters and CSI-meets-X Files stories, it's truly a wonder that the show didn't succeed. Dina Meyer is absolute perfection as Barbara Gordon/Oracle--one of the very best casting choices in all of the Batman movies/shows. Kudos also to Mia Sara. Her Harley Quinn is a scheming mistress of evil, not the airhead comic relief of Batman:TAS.

WB and the creators of "Smallville" caught lightning in a bottle for 13 episodes. There may never be another live-action Batman series, but I'm glad we have BOP to treasure. It's a must-have for Batfans with with open minds.
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on January 30, 2012
I guess you can say this show was OK when you consider all of the obstacles that Warner Bros. put in its way.

First Warner Bros. allowed the producers to use the Joker and the Batman in the pilot, but then pulled away permission to use Batman and all of the DC villains when the show went into production. This caused a major problem for the writers since Batman was suppose to make guest appearances to help out and the ladies were suppose to take on some of their old foes from the comic books. That's why the episodes kept flashing back to the 60-second Batman/Joker sequence from the pilot. The writers had hoped to attract Batman fans to the show. The change forced it into a run-of-the-mill "mutant of the week" series like Smallville's earlier seasons.

Secondly, the producers wanted to shoot in Vancouver where they planned to use the 30% cost savings for a bigger CGI budget. Warner Bros. forced them to shoot in LA without giving them a larger budget, and the producers had to use the same CGI sequences, such as a CGI Ashley Scott running across the same rooftop, over and over again.

Thirdly, Warner Bros. told the producers they didn't like the Harley Quinn character and had her written out of the show. Again, Harley Quinn was an important part of the writers' plans and they had to get rid of her. Then surprisingly, when Warner cancelled the show, the studio told the producers it wanted the Harley Quinn story arc to be wrapped up for the show's eventual DVD sales. Back came Harley Quinn in the final two episodes, and also the series' best episodes as Harley Quinn evolves into the supervillain Harlequin.

Ironically, this wasn't the first series Warner Bros. had interfered with. 1990's series The Flash also had to deal with the problem of not being able to use any of the Flash's trademarked supervillains. Only at the end did DC allow Mark Hamill to play the Trickster, but it was too late to save the show from cancellation.

Birds of Prey could have been much more if WB hadn't wimped out!
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on June 9, 2014
This was a slick, well written, well plotted series, with excellent performances and great action sequences. It starred the always delightful Dina Meyer, as well as new comers Ashley Scott and Rachel Skarsten. Loosely based on the DC comic team headed by Barbara Gordon after being paralyzed by the Joker in "The Killing Joke," re-told with a more tragic outcome in this alternate DC Universe, wherein Batman has left Gotham, the heroins of Birds of Prey protect New Gotham from crime, both street level and super powered.

This was the WB's attempt at expanding the super hero franchise already gaining popularity with Smallville, before they were the CW. This would likely explain why Birds boasts a cast that is "CW hot," with a soundtrack from the hottest up and coming musical acts of the day, and to be fair, the production is extremely slick. The series also featured cameos by Batman, Cat Woman, and the Joker... at least in the opening credits. And there is a continuing sub-plot with Harley Quinn as a Psychiatrist with a dark agenda to rebuild the Joker's empire.

The unfortunate truth is it failed to find an audience among the fan boys and Dawson's Creek devotees that built the network into a real contender. In it's original airings, the show was frequently pre-empted for other programs, and was decidedly hard to catch when it did air. Thankfully, the CW has revised its policy, and maintains a reputation as a network that will give shows more than a fair shake. This, of course, comes too late for the ill-fated Birds of Prey. :(

The painful irony of Birds is that with the inception of the New 52 in DC Comics, the sort of alternate storyline that provides the basis for Birds is not uncommon. In the current continuity, Huntress is the daughter of Batman of an alternate earth, and is paired with Power Girl. Black Canary remains a core member of the super team, but Oracle is now Batgirl, the Killing Joke timeline having been obliterated by the arrival of the new continuity.

Perhaps what brought the end of the show was the fact that it was Batman without Batman. As a hardcore, long-time comic book fan, I have great appreciation for the show, but a mainstream audience would likely be lost in New Gotham. Still, without the Birds of Prey helping lay the ground work for a superhero series on an upstart network (ABC's attempt with the 1990's The Flash notwithstanding), we might not have had the series that followed. Current cash cow: Arrow, and the upcoming CW treatment of the Scarlet Speedster might never have found a home were it not for a small but loyal group of fans who watched, loved, and maybe even clamored for more.

Many comic book and comic book adaptation fans may grind their teeth when they hear the series mentioned, I read where it made the list of worst comic book adaptations ever, but the series has its charm.
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on July 15, 2008
Just a quick statement. I am very happy "Birds of Prey" is on DVD. Even though it is "Standard" (though still widescreen)... I can "zoom" in and it is no problem. With my set up, I experience no picture cut off. What is ridiculous is when I viewed the unaired pilot...IT IS ANAMORPHIC! In what world does this make sense? Great Series... gone too soon.
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on November 22, 2007
Used to love this show. Just as it's building up steam and collecting a following, the WB cancels a show that was fun and exciting. The women in this series were great to Watch, loved the action and the fight scenes. Would love to see a movie made with these characters on the big screen!
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on July 19, 2015
Actually this one snuck up on me by being a good show. The acting is top notch. For a show that was on 12-13 years ago, it's pretty good given the Freshman cast. The storyline develops over the course of the "season" quite well.

The cast revolves around four females (three hero's and one villain). That's fine; good idea. Not many people are familiar with Batman's daughter from the comic books. Now if the cast included Wonder Woman, AquaWoman (or Aqua Girl even), Lois Lane, and Amanda Waller, then it would've been a sure fire hit.

The only bothersome part to the show is the entry fight scene of Batman fighting the Joker...the Joker looks (for lack of a better word) stupid. Also, Barbara Gordan's wheelchair is sitting way too high and I'm positive it's to accommodate the camera angles. I mean she is literally sitting in a chair 3 and a half feet off the ground.
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