Harley Quinn: The Complete First and Second Season – Blu-ray Review
Amazon Commissions Earned
Title: Harley Quinn: The Complete First and Second Seasons
Release Date: 2021
Runtime: 594 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Studio: Warner Archive
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Aspect Ratio(s): 1.78:1
Version Reviewed: Blu-ray
– Amazon Commissions Earned –
Blu-ray Release Date: 2/16/21
Voice Cast: Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Ron Funches, Tony Hale, Matt Oberg, Jason Alexander, Diedrich Bader, Christopher Meloni, J.B. Smoove, Jim Rash, James Adomian, Andrew Daly, Rahul Kohli, Briana Cuoco, Giancarlo Esposito, James Wolk, Tom Hollander, Sanaa Lathan, Wanda Sykes, Alfred Molina, Wayne Knight, Jacob Tremblay, Chris Diamantopoulos, Michael Ironside
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Show | Video | Audio | Bonus | Closing | Screenshots
Full Blu-ray Tech Specs at bottom
“Harley Quinn” was a 2019 TV show (or rather series) that originally premiered on the DC Universe (now evolved) and then moved to HBOmax in 2020 [via the DC hub on that], where it is slated to get a third season sometime in 2021.
The show is based on the character “Harley Quinn” created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm — from “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992) and later comics — as well as “Batman” created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and the subsequent characters and villains from that superhero’s comic book stories, graphic novels, TV shows, and films. Not only that, but the Harley Quinn TV series also takes characters from the entire DC Universe of comics, TV shows, and films such as “Superman”, “Wonder Woman”, and more.
The series, as you’d expect from its title, revolves around girlfriend to “The Joker” (voiced by Alan Tudyk) that we have come to know as “Harley Quinn” (voiced here by Kaley Cuoco) as she is about to start to evolve like we have seen in films over the past years. Thing is, she’s about to evolve, and that’s where we first find her, as she ends up parting ways with her “puddin'” himself “Mr. J” after she’s had enough. Harley decides to move in and stay with her best friend, and fellow Batman villain, “Poison Ivy” (voiced by Lake Bell).
Early on, Harley Quinn decides she needs to form her own crew of villains to try to compete with the likes of The Joker and such. She manages to find a crew that really is interesting but not all that impressive by traditional comic book standards? Harley’s crew consists of “Clayface” (Alan Tudyk), “King Shark” (Ron Funches), and least but certainly last, “Dr. Psycho” (Tony Hale). They’ll have their share of adventures trying to stage heists and join up with the Legion of Doom (“L.O.D.”), as well as give The Joker some hell, along with Batman. That’s just the basic premise to the show and yeah, I won’t get much further into it other than say if you want to know more about the voice cast and who voices who, check this Wikipedia cast section out.
The first season of Harley Quinn includes the following 13 episodes with my rating for each listed after the episode title below:
- Episode 1 – “Til Death Do Us Part” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 2 – “A High Bar” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 3 – “So, You Need A Crew?” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 4 – “Finding Mr. Right” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 5 – “Being Harley Quinn” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 6 – “You’re a Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 7 – “The Line” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 8 – “L.O.D.R.S.V.P.” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 9 – “A Seat at the Table” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 10 – “Bensonhurst” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 11 – “Harley Quinn Highway” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 12 – “Devil’s Snare” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 13 – “The Final Joke” – 4.75 / 5
The second season of Harley Quinn includes the following 13 episodes with my rating for each listed after the episode title below:
- Episode 1 – “New Gotham” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 2 – “Riddle U” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 3 – “Trapped” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 4 – “Thawing Hearts” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 5 – “Batman’s Back, Man” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 6 – “All the Best Inmates Have Daddy Issues – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 7 – “There’s No Place to Go But Down” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 8 – “Inner (Para) Demons” – 4.5 / 5
- Episode 9 – “Bachelorette” – 4.25 / 5
- Episode 10 – “Dye Hard” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 11 – “A Fight Worth Fighting For” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 12 – “Lovers’ Quarrel” – 4.75 / 5
- Episode 13 – “Something Borrowed, Something Green” – 4.75 / 5
So, based on those ratings I’ve come up with my average overall rating listed below for the show, in its first season and second season combined. I’ll further discuss the show and my take on it below in the closing section.
Show Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
“Harley Quinn: The Complete First and Second Seasons” on Blu-ray is presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, filling a widescreen (16×9) display entirely. The show originally aired on DC Universe in 4K with HDR, according to Wikipedia. So, there’s the whole thing that it likely was rendered at 4K resolution based on that, which is certainly worth noting.
To get very technical here for a short bit about this 3-disc Blu-ray set, Disc 1 is using 45.15GB total, Disc 2 is using 45.40GB total, and Disc 3 is using 44.44GB total. The first two discs contain 9 episodes and then the third and final disc contains a total of 8 episodes, and as a result, the episodes on the first two discs are using 5GB each. Whereas on the third disc with just 8 episodes total you’ll find they use 5.5GB each with a tad bit less compression. In all due honesty, you’re not really going to notice this too much (if at all) visually. Finally, in terms of technicalities, these episodes all seem to run around 27Mbps on average in the AVC MPEG-4 codec and can hit as high as 39Mbps to 40Mbps, at times.
This show offers up a style of computer (2D) animation with very sharp black outlines that look very similar to the DC Universe Movies but comes with a tad bit different level of shading and such. The colors are just beautifully bright and vibrant all throughout. Sure, they can be subdued in some darker scenes to set a mood visually, but for the most part, this is a bright and colorful show. It has some pop to it, here in 1080p HD, and really does feel it came from a 4K rendered CG animation source. There’s not really one flaw to be found here, or any signs of compression being any bit of an issue, on one single episode throughout both seasons of the show. I have to honestly say that this TV series, in its first two seasons, on Blu-ray looks very impressive. If you’ve watched this on HBOmax, you’ll notice it looks less compressed and lacks pixilation. If you watched the show originally on DC Universe in 4K, you’ll wish they had also done a 4K UHD Blu-ray release.
Video Quality Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)
Audio on the Blu-ray Disc release of “Harley Quinn: The Complete First and Second Seasons” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround sound. This comes as an improvement over both the audio presentations found on DC Universe Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and the HBOmax Dolby Digital 5.1 surround using the lossy AC3 container.
Dialogue is the most important thing to this mix and for this show, with its witty and naughty bits, and is thankfully delivered spot-on from the center channel speaker and requires no volume adjustments.
Both the music and the sound effects sound great, getting a pretty balanced 5.1 surround presentation with a nice amount of rear channel usage as well presents us with a nice amount of LFE – felt quite a bit here via the subwoofer. The show itself has some very intense as hell, almost painfully realistic, sound effects for fight scenes and explosions and all. The sound effects feel a whole lot larger here on Blu-ray in a lossless 5.1 format. There’s a whole hell of a lot more oomph here than most of you would expect for just an animated TV-MA show such as this. It’s impressive a good majority of the time throughout the 22 minutes or so of each episode. There is never a dull moment.
Even on the 15th episode (“Riddler U”) this 5.1 lossless mix almost approaches being something I’d consider “demo material” during some of its action sequences, specifically near the end of the aforementioned episode. It’s intense at times, and not just in that episode, as it can get that way in other action scenes, and overall the DTS-HD MA 5.1 here does this show justice.
Audio Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
No bonus materials are included with this release. Nothing. Nada. Zilch, so that’s what it gets for a score there in the bonus materials department.
Bonus Materials Rating: 0 (out of 5)
“Harley Quinn“ in its first and second seasons is a TV series that I found to be downright hilarious at times and it has a very, very unique approach to looking at characters from the DC Universe of comic books and other forms of entertainment that they have appeared in.
Eh, fuck it! I’ll just be blunt here in this review and not censor myself one single damn bit along the way. After all, this is what the show’s main character does in this very adult-only DC animated series. Well, it’s TV-MA and for mature audiences. It contains a few uses of the F word in almost every episode. That’s something I can dig.
The plot of the show is all hashed out in the very first episode when we meet Harley Quinn in the middle of a typical heist that she’s doing for her puddin’ – the clown prince himself – The Joker. It turns out, he’s a shitty boyfriend and is ready to throw her under the bus at any point to save his ass when a real threat comes along, like Batman. And, sure enough, that happens and she’s left to go to Arkham and the Joker gets away in a submarine. Yes, a fucking submarine that has a horn that plays “La Cucaracha.” This show is that over-the-top in a very cool, downright hilarious, way.
The first episode is pretty graphic in terms of the language and the visuals even for somewhat typical DC Universe style animation from the folks over at Warner Bros. Animation. The story, voice acting, establishing of the characters, and the whole dilemma (plot to the series) is put together well. The show starts out as a bloody mess of a laugh riot.
The show just starts to progress more and more into Harley trying to form her own group of villains and get an arch-nemesis along with the aid of Poison Ivy. At least here in the first season, it does, anyway. It gets funnier and funnier along the way and there’s honestly an incredible voice cast. It’s DC characters in that beautiful Warner Bros. Animation that I’ve grown to love saying and doing the most foul-mouthed and at times pretty disturbing things. I fucking love it! I won’t ruin things for you and tell you what all happens but I gave you a synopsis earlier in the show itself section, so you know what all it consists of. The second season offers up some changes and dramatic events. Again, I am not going to spoil that shit for you at all.
In terms of video quality, this does the show justice and looks very impressive for an animated TV series. The show actually could have received a 4K UHD Blu-ray release, as it originally aired in 4K with HDR on the DC Universe subscription-based service. It could look a tad bit better if it were to get that release on that format but for now, this will do and it looks greatly upscaled to 4K, as I tested a few episodes.
In terms of audio quality, this again does the show justice in terms of its lossless 5.1 surround sound presentation throughout all of the episodes in the first two seasons.
Sadly, this Blu-ray release gets no bonus materials at all. That seems really odd to me for DC animated stuff. The DC Universe Movies always have a lot of extras. Plus, there’s not even a digital copy of the two seasons of the show. That’s a bit crummy, to keep it real here. Still, it’s forgiven that the release lacks extras, and I can say that this Blu-ray set is Recommended for Adults!
Lastly, just make sure you don’t let the kids watch this cartoon, because they see “Harley Quinn” on the cover, as they don’t probably need to hear their superhero character friends saying some of the things they do on this show. This is for the select group of intellectual audiences that know how to appreciate sophisticated mature content such as this. I mean, shit! I shouldn’t even have to say this but some will likely make the mistake or it is bound to happen. Parental locks are a bit different on a Blu-ray player than they are on streaming services and game consoles but I’d suggest maybe learning how to use them if you’re a parent. I’m not and even I have thought about this kinda stuff.
In terms of Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.75 (out of 5) for video quality
4.5 (out of 5) for audio quality
0 (out of 5) for bonus materials
Recommended for Adults!
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