Television Series DVD
Birds of Prey
Produced By: Tollin/Robbins Productions
Distributed By: Warner Home Video
First Aired On: The WB Network
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Those of you who have been carefully perusing my articles will discover that I am a Birds of Prey nut. I love the comic book series and I was an avid fan of the television series that, in my opinion, was cancelled way too soon. The television series was loosely based upon the comic book. It featured Barbara Gordon, formerly Batgirl and now Oracle, master of the cyber realms, Helena Kyle, the daughter of Catwoman and Batman, and Dinah Lance, Black Canary’s daughter. The show had a tremendous following, the fans launching a huge campaign to save the show or at least get the season that did air sold in DVD format. Well, I am happy to say that the DVD campaign was a success – the Birds of Prey DVD hit stores in early July and us rabid BOP fans either had them already pre-ordered or were running to the local stores to pick up a copy.
I have rather mixed emotions about this DVD set. First of all, I am so happy to finally be receiving a DVD collection of every Birds of Prey episode that aired on television. It should be declared a sin to have to wait so long for a favorite television show to come to DVD. We fans have waited with baited breath for our DVD sets to arrive and when they did, we immediately poured over the packaging to discover what goodies we would find within. The outer shell of the DVD was rather cool, a cardboard rendition of the interior covering which, in the casing, gets kind of wrinkled and looks a little cheesy. The informative booklet included in the DVD set was nice and I liked the fact that it included pictures from the series. The DVDs were packaged nicely and rather safely within.
The packaging told us that some of the music used in the television series had been changed for the DVD. We weren’t too happy with that notion, but secretly hoped that certain songs would still be included, such as the theme song Revolution by Aimee Allen. It was the show’s signature after all and we hoped that the WB wouldn’t change that. We noted that there weren’t many extras, but the ones that were included made us happy. First, we were getting the Unaired Pilot episode, something that the rabid fans among us, myself included, had already gotten their hands on long ago. We were also getting the entire series of web cartoons entitled Gotham Girls – all three seasons. I had seen a couple of episodes of the internet cartoon series featuring Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy and enjoyed them. I couldn’t wait to see the rest.
Popping the DVD into the player, I was immediately surprised by the song playing in the Main Menu screen. This is not a song I recognized. Uh oh! And, just as I suspected, I discovered that this would be the song that would replace Aimee Allen’s Revolution. Now, I have nothing against the new song – it’s pleasant enough. However, Revolution was a hard-hitting rock song more suited to the action of the television series. The new song is soft and lilting, much more suited to an episode of Dawson’s Creek. This replacement of theme songs is something that’s happening more and more with new series DVD collections and it is rather unsettling to true fans. One would hope that with enough complaints, this sort of thing will be limited in future DVD releases.
I have to say that I am very pleased with the visual clarity and sound quality of the Birds of Prey DVD collection. Each episode is crisp looking and visually pleasing. The sound clarity is excellent – I not only hear every word the characters are saying, I also hear every song played in the background very clearly. Nice enhancement done there.
Unfortunately, the theme song of Birds of Prey was not the only music changed for the DVD. A great many songs were left out of the mix and some of the songs that took their place just didn’t seem to fit. Two songs that really should never have been swapped are Anything But Ordinary by Avril Lavigne and All the Things She Said by t.A.T.u. Avril’s song was played at the very end of the episode entitled Prey for the Hunter. In the beginning of the episode, Huntress had been discussing with Oracle how sometimes she wished she could live an ordinary life. Anything But Ordinary was the perfect ending response song to the statements made earlier in the episode. The song by t.A.T.u. appeared in the final fight scene in Devil’s Eyes, the final BOP episode. This song has received mixed reviews, however, I feel it was placed perfectly. If you listen to the lyrics, you’ll understand why it was placed here – “All the things she said / Running through my head…” This represents all of the things Harley has said to Barbara that push her over the edge. The song was perfect for this scene, but was replaced for the DVD with some action music that had no meaning.
Another thing that is bothering me is the replacement of not one, but all of the songs in the Unaired Pilot episode. As those of us who got their hands on this episode prior to the DVD release know, most of the songs in this episode are the same that were used in the Aired Pilot. So why did the creators of this DVD feel it necessary to change anything. I can understand if the one song that differed wasn’t available for use, but that didn’t justify changing all of the songs. A ridiculous move on the DVD creators’ part.
I loved each and every episode of Gotham Girls and was pleased that they were included in this DVD set. I particularly loved the first couple of seasons which included funny single episodes. The third season was a full length story cut into segments. It was enjoyable, but more serious than the original seasons. I think that the series creators got away from what made the internet cartoon fun in the first place.
It would have been nice to have some more extras included – perhaps some cast interviews or promo trailers or the like. And yet, I can’t really complain about this DVD. It took so long for true fans of the Birds of Prey television series to get a DVD collection set. Believe me, I’m very happy to have a DVD set that will outlast the VHS-taped episodes currently in my collection. Despite the changes to the music, this is the same show we all grew to love that was taken from us too quickly. The Birds of Prey DVD is a must have for any true fan of the Birds of Prey television series.
For more on Batman, Batgirl, Catwoman and the Birds of Prey, check out these articles:
Batgirl Year One
Batman in the Seventies
Birds of Prey
Black Canary / Oracle: Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey: Old Friends, New Enemies
Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds
Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student
Birds of Prey: Batgirl / Catwoman & Catwoman / Oracle
Birds of Prey: Between Dark & Dawn
Birds of Prey: Secret Files & Origins 2003