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Advance Review: DC Universe’s ‘Harley Quinn’ Animated Series Is Another Winner For The Year-Old Streamer

The DC Universe streaming service, already known for its premium, excellent DC Comics-based series’ Titans, Doom Patrol, Young Justice: Outsiders and the sadly cancelled Swamp Thing, will next week add yet another entertaining series to its programming lineup: Harley Quinn, an over-the-top, vulgar animated series centered around the fan-favorite character. And I mean that all in the best way possible!

I think that the easiest way to describe the streamer’s new Hard R-rated series would be ‘Adult Swim meets DC’s New 52-era comic books.’ Not only is Harley Quinn a very funny show, but it also offers up a more serious aspect of the antihero’s story that’s spanned across other media and the comics themselves. That is, her relationship with The Joker often defined Harley and it started being an issue because the best Harley Quinn stories, dating back to Batman: The Animated Series nearly 30 years ago, were always the ones where she is detached from The Joker (like the Batman: TAS episodes ‘Harley’s Holiday,’ ‘Harley and Ivy’ and ‘Harlequinade’).

This version of the character, I’m happy to say, follows more in line with Margot Robbie’s big screen take on Harley as well as her most recent series of comic books. Here, the series creators do a rather excellent job of representing her as a strong independent woman who does not want to consistently be overruled by The Joker. This, as opposed to the woman hopelessly in love with The Clown Prince of Crime. But, Harley doesn’t completely just ‘get over’ The Joker immediately overnight and this premiere episode really does an excellent job of showcasing the self-questioning one experiences when it comes to a break-up.

The series features The Big Bang Theory‘s Kaley Cuoco taking over the voice of the character, previously played by both Arleen Sorkin and Tara Strong. The pilot gives us an idea of how important the friendship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell). That relationship will be a huge part of the series, which is great because the two characters paired up is always a blast, as first evidenced in the aforementioned Batman: TAS episode ‘Harley and Ivy.’ Judging by the premiere episode, this series looks to be almost Poison Ivy’s series as much as it is Harley Quinn’s.

In this episode, Ivy attempts to get through to Harley, who only sees the world through rose-tinted glasses. Ivy is desperately trying to guide her here, by making her realize everything that a Joker-free life has to offer. Their friendship and chemistry are easily the most endearing parts of the series and it should be fun to explore that as we watch Poison Ivy Harley realize her dream in becoming criminal queen of the underworld, minus “Mistah J.”

Haley Quinn is not going to be for everyone and the show is not by any means one the whole family can sit and experience together in their living rooms, but it does excellent work as far as satisfying that ‘Adult Swim’-loving crowd, which clearly is the audience they want to reach. Harley Quinn joins all of DC Universe’s previous exclusive series’ as must-see television.

Harley Quinn begins streaming on DC Universe beginning Friday, November 29, 2019.

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