I finished the first disk for Birds of Prey TV Series and I have to ask, “Why was this cancelled?” The acting was good, writing passable, special effects fantastic for a TV budget. Other than some directing issues, there was nothing wrong with this WB series. Seriously, I wanted to know. I also wanted to know why I had never heard of this 2002 television series.
Well, the fact it was put out by the WB really answers the first question. That was the “new hip shows” that aired on Channel 9 in the Chicago market. Channel 9 was over watched when I was a child. Black & white re-runs of The Cisco Kid and Rawhide; Bob Luce Wrestling, Ray Rayner, Bozo’s Circus, Family Classics with Frazier Thomas; in short, kids shows and Cubs baseball. Ray Rayner also doubled as Ollie (Oliver) the Clown on Bozo’s Circus. Once you had seen every film Frazier Thomas had on Family Classics three or more times, there wasn’t much reason to turn the channel on.
WB/CW – Blessing and Curse
Creation of the WB CW thing was a blessing and a curse. They only understood teen and/or cult stuff. When it came to the cult stuff they only understood it had become an instant cult market.
To understand that take a look at “the top 25” per TV Guide. I never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it had a cult following. It was coming to an end in 2003 and the WB was looking for a new cult hit to replace it. This lead to at least two cult favorites that got cancelled after a single season.
Firefly. They gave Joss Whedon a bunch of money and told him to create something great. The WB/CW aired the shows out of order and killed off airing the series before all episodes had aired. The SyFy channel picked up the existing shows and aired them all. Most other science fiction based networks have this short-lived series as a staple in their schedule. Personally, I own it on DVD. I just haven’t been to see the Brown Coat Nation at Comicon.
Birds of Prey. A DC Comics based show about powerful women fighting crime in the Batman universe. Being a television show they had to scale back the violence and couldn’t drop F-bombs. They settled for some visually amazing martial arts acrobatics combined with special effects and ample cleavage shots of Ashley Scott.
Continuity Needed for a Cult Hit
Back in 2002 the WB and CW had not figured this out. The show creators did, just not the network or upper management. Joss Whedon brought his Buffy fans forward to Firefly. Birds of Prey brought in Dina Meyer to play Oracle (Cat woman after getting shot). For those of you who don’t know the name, she was Dizzy Flores on Starship Troopers.
The tough as nails football playing beautiful Tom Boy who could rock a dress and heels pining away for Johnny Rico. Wanting him so bad she joined the Mobile Infantry to fight beside him while his love interest went off to fly in the stars. If you ladies are looking for a role model in life, it’s Dizzy.
Trouble in Paradise
They didn’t advertise Birds of Prey any place Starship Trooper fans would have heard about it. Yes, the “trooper” universe has been around a long time. Dizzy was such a fan favorite they brought her voice back in Traitor of Mars.
Guess what else management did? They put this show on in the same time slot as The West Wing. Yep. In 2002 when the show was at the peak of its audience and going to run strong until 2006. Rather than understand you cannot derail a juggernaut like that, they sacrificed shows hoping for a miracle.
This series should have been allowed to live. The Birds of Prey movie franchise has really kinda trashed the story line. I’m kind of glad the movie tanked. They didn’t keep continuity with what came before. If you like high quality shows with cult followings, this short-lived series is for you. I regret waiting twenty years to see it. On the other hand, I have a perspective I wouldn’t have had twenty years ago and I was too busy watching The West Wing.