Season Two of DC’s Harley Quinn is a Smash Hit

The adult animated series isn’t clowning around with its great character, story, and humor


Source: Warner Bros.

Harley Quinn posing with her crew Poison Ivy, Dr. Psycho, Sy Borgman, King Shark, and Clayface. Season two premiered on April 3rd, 2020 but has been gaining attention since its recent switch from DC Universe to HBO Max. Even celebrity fan James Gunn recently tweeted, “Everyone watch Harley Quinn on @hbomax and help them get a well-deserved season three!”

Owen Etter, Staff Writer

Released at the beginning of April on DC Universe, DC seemed to step back from their common attitude of darkness, low colors, and serious tones to produce a bright, colorful, and hilarious TV series called Harley Quinn. As the show recently moved to HBOMax and got renewed for a third season, I decided to check the series out, and if you like fantastic television with an adult edge inspired by fantastic comics, Harley Quinn is a must-see.

The second season picks up right where the first season left off and is just as praised by comic fans and reviewers. Free of her ex-boyfriend The Joker and living in a Gotham City without Batman, the season revolves around Harley Quinn’s desires to both be taken seriously as a villainess in a new lawless Gotham along with her burgeoning romantic feelings for a close friend. The show keeps its fantastic voice acting from the previous season, including Kaley Cuoco as Harley Quinn, Lake Bell as Poison Ivy, as Toby Hale as Doctor Psycho, Ron Funches as King Shark, and Alan Tudyk as Clayface and the Joker. 

One worry that crosses the minds of a lot of viewers when deciding to watch a TV series that has its origin in a comic book is the concern that they have to read the comics to understand it. With this series, that’s not an issue at all. I barely knew who half of these characters were, but not a single character felt too complicated with their powers. This was achieved by not making each character defined by their own powers and not making plot lines about how physically powerful someone is.

Perhaps the most striking part of the series is all the quirks each character has that make them unique. Clayface is really into drama, making every heist a melodramatic stage show. In one episode, plays the role of a college girl named Stephanie and forgets he’s only doing this to infiltrate another villain’s lair–instead, he becomes obsessed with his phone and partying. Another fantastic example is Bane, who is oddly supportive and encouraging despite being bullied by every other villain in the series. When it is revealed that Bane has his own prison, we expect violence but then are charmed when he encourages his captive to make nice and talk about feelings. These characterizations are nothing like the comics but are immediately relatable and accessible.

Even when the supporting cast is in the spotlight, Harley still steals the show. In the beginning of Harley’s journey, the ruins of Gotham are split up by five major villains, and her main goal is to show that she can also run with the big dogs. In challenging each antagonist, she finds out that she really isn’t a cold-blooded villain but someone who just wants to live freely and follow her passions (even if it causes a bit of chaos along the way). Her story arc is genuine and never seems forced or overdramatic as she slowly changes over the course of thirteen episodes.

One huge reason why this TV series works is its strong adult humor. While there are several sexually-charged jokes and tons of harsh cursing, they aren’t gratuitous because the characters are all villains and their whole personality is to be bad. This doesn’t mean the content would be appropriate for everybody: there is some intense violence that made me wince every once and a while. This might turn some viewers off, but I found it to be just tame enough to recommend to high school juniors and seniors.

I had been wanting to watch Harley Quinn for a very long time, and I must say that it was well worth the wait. The second season’s humor, voice acting, characterization, and ending (which I won’t spoil here but actually surprised me) are stellar–nothing seems rushed or forced and the series is incredibly smooth. What really makes this series better than the other similar shows like The Boys is definitely its charming characters who all feel immediately relatable. This show is also completely accessible to non-comic readers and even people who aren’t fans of superheroes. It’s just that good. Overall, this show’s second season was as riveting and perfectly adult to suit my taste. With its well fleshed-out story, unique characters, and stunning voice acting, I don’t think there’s a better adult animated series than DC’s Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn is currently streaming on HBOMax.