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Extended Doom Patrol trailer showcases comedy, drama of DC Universe series

Just call them… complex.

Streamer DC Universe has released an extended trailer for Doom Patrol, its second live-action superhero series, in advance of the first episode's premiere tomorrow. The four and a half-minute spot dropped this morning on DC's YouTube Channel.

The Doom Patrol's members may be quirky and sardonic, but they all gained their powers through some kind of tragedy, and the series' blending of comedy and drama is on full display here. The extended trailer gives us brief looks at each character's origin, teases the warm nature of their relationship with mentor Dr. Niles Caulder, AKA the Chief (Timothy Dalton), and offers an unsettling first glimpse at the villainous Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk).

The spot opens with the Chief booting up Brendan Fraser's Cliff Steele (AKA Robotman), telling him that the compound in which he's awakened is "my home… a safe place for you, and others like you, to heal." He's then introduced to a peer tasked with helping him on the road to recovery: Larry Trainor (AKA Negative Man), who fills Steele and the viewer in on a bit of his backstory. "I flew airplanes," Trainor says, as we're shown an episode from his past life as an Air Force pilot involving the harrowing accident that gave him the ability to harness and manipulate negative energy. It also appears that Trainor was a bit conflicted even before this life-changing incident; in a voiceover, we hear his wife saying, "You promised things would change after we moved here… you said there'd be no more late night beers with the guys," as Trainor is shown in the company of another male pilot doing a lot more than having a beer.

We're then let in on Steele's past as a racecar driver, a career which likewise ended in a spectacular crash; this is intercut with a drunken Steele sitting on the floor, talking on the phone (with his wife, presumably) making reference to some unseen indiscretion. "I don't know what happened to us," he says. "I don't know if you even care how sorry I am." His young daughter is also seen in this flashback, her memory haunting him as he takes a solitaty stroll through the corridors of Caulder's compound.

We then segue into the past of Rita Farr, AKA Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), who used to be in the movies (sorry, "pictures"). Her terminology, manner of speech, and the scene's introduction in black and white all suggest that her origin — involving a dunk in a lake, and an encounter with a strange force residing therein — took place decades ago, although she doesn't appear to have aged a day since then. Suffice to say that the incident, which endowed her with the power of extreme malleability (and we do mean extreme), left her appearance somewhat unsuitable for the "pictures."

The next segment focuses on Diane Guerrero's character, known only as Crazy Jane, who is "in a mood" (we get the feeling that this is pretty much her natural state). In a voiceover, she claims to have 64 different personalities, and she's shown in some kind of institution as her narration explains, "a group of creepy scientists did terrible things to an innocent girl." At least one of her personalities appears to be pretty badass, as we see her uppercutting the hulking Robotman right up a flight of stairs.

We then hear Caulder's voiceover, as he tells an unseen party, "I'm working with some fascinating people… each one of them is just bursting with potential." He's then revealed to be speaking to Joivan Wade's Victor Stone, AKA Cyborg, whose origin involves a lab explosion caused by his own petulant outburst during a fight with his mother (who was apparently killed in the accident).

Then, our introduction to Eric Morden, AKA Mr. Nobody, whose abilities — which seemingly force his body to constantly disintegrate and reassemble itself — appear to have been incurred during an experiment performed by Caulder himself. "I've been admiring those freaks of yours for quite some time," Morden says in voiceover, as we see the entire Doom Patrol (minus Cyborg) assembling in response to what looks like a major Mr. Nobody-related disturbance. 

We then see our heroes put through the mental and physical wringer, questioning whether they are the right choice to face off with a supervillain, becoming stranded in some kind of post-apocalyptic hellscape ("This is what the world looks like when we try to live in it," Negative Man says), and ultimately accepting their responsibility to band together to save the Chief from Mr. Nobody's clutches. The series' tagline: "What doesn't kill you makes you stranger," an apparent nod to the flick widely considered to be the greatest DC Comics adaptation of all time, The Dark Knight.

Speaking of such things, if you catch a bit of a Joker-y vibe from Tudyk's Mr. Nobody, there's a reason for that. The actor is pulling double duty for DC Universe; in addition to his Doom Patrol role, he'll be voicing the Clown Prince of Crime in the streamer's upcoming Harley Quinn animated series. In a recent conversation with ComicBook.com, Tudyk admitted to having to make a conscious effort to set his two characters apart from one another, as he was performing the roles concurrently. "[I wanted to make them different] as far as vocally, just specifically vocally," he said. "But [the similarities are] in the character, it's in the writing. It really is there as far as his wry sense of humor, his sadistic side, his anger issues."

It'll be interesting to see the beloved actor — best known for the role of Wash in the classic cult series Firefly and its spin-off feature Serenity, in which he suffered one of the saddest onscreen deaths ever — take on a pair of purely villainous roles, and his Mr. Nobody frankly looks terrifying. Doom Patrol looks to encompass a wide variety of tones, from scary as hell to side-splittingly funny to engagingly heartfelt, and if this trailer is any indication, an amazing balance appears to have been achieved. The series certainly has the behind-the-camera pedigree to make it all work; its executive producers include comics legend Geoff Johns, TV veteran Greg Berlanti (the architect of the CW's Arrowverse), and writer Jeremy Carver, who has contributed episodes of Supernatural and Frequency.

Fresh off the success of the first season of Titans, all signs point to DC Universe having another winner on its hands with Doom Patrol. Catch the first episode tomorrow, February 15; if you haven't yet subscribed, now would be a pretty good time to do so.