Discover or rediscover an unknown DC live series featuring Gotham City, Harley Quinn, Alfred, Oracle and the superheroine Huntress.
If most live series adapted from DC Comics are well known today, such as Arrow, Flash, Supergirl or Legends of Tomorrow, few remember a precursor show but canceled after 13 episodes: The Angels of the Night.
Entitled Birds of Prey in the original version, this series was created by Laeta Kalogridis, who started then, and would later sign Shutter Island and the Altered Carbon series. The original idea is clever:
Batman defeated the Joker and locked him up. Before being captured, the psychopathic clown assaulted Barbara Gordon / Batgirl condemning her to a life in a wheelchair and killed Catwoman, who was Batman’s companion. The Dark Knight locked up the clown in Arkham and left town heartbroken.
In this series, we follow Helena Kyle, daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle (Catwoman). She was first raised by her mother as her father is unaware of her existence. When Selina dies, she takes Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) as her guardian. Become unofficial supervisor of the protection of Gotham under the name of Oracle, she guides Helena, metahuman, to become super-heroine under the name of Huntress (Huntress in VO).
They meet Dinah Lance, a young half-metahuman girl who has “access to the powers of the mind” as the voiceover reveals. Together, they become The Angels of the Night.
The recurring villain is Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist on her own, who wants to make Gotham pay for the confinement of the Joker and she has Helena Kyle as a patient. This doesn’t make too much sense since Harleen already seems under the influence of the psychopathic clown but she is working in broad daylight in Gotham.
If we ignore this fact and that the Joker seems to shoot lasers (see screenshot), we must recognize that the series would undoubtedly have deserved to have a complete season 1 (at the time, 23 episodes). Because if the character of Harleen is really caricatural, the relations between the Birds of Prey are rather interesting.
The context provided at the start with the absence of Bruce Wayne, the presence of Alfred alongside Oracle, the relationship between Helena and Jesse of the Gotham police (played by Shemar Moore), the fact that Helena is in therapy with Harleen Quinzel… all this contributes to forming a pleasant atmosphere, while remaining in a more or less believable context with the idea that we have of the DC universe if we only know the movies and animated series.
As often in the series of the CW (at the time called The WB), the special effects, sets and costumes clearly lack the means and we feel with Birds of Prey an opportunistic desire to make a “Buffy-like”.
That said, for its precursory aspect, The Angels of the Night deserves to be seen as an integral part of DC’s history on the small screen, and the interpreter of Huntress, Ashley Scott, reprized her role in a crossover of the Arrowverse.