Birds of Prey Review – “Lady Shiva”

Sorry it’s a day late. If someone tells you not to register in two full time academic programs simultaneously, listen to that person.

Cast

Dina Meyer as
Oracle/Barbara Gordon.
Ashley Scott
as Huntress/Helena Kyle.
Rachel
Skarsten
as Dinah Lance
Shemar Moore as
Detective Reese
Ian
Abercrombie
as Alfred Pennyworth
Mia Sara as Harley
Quinn

Written by Edward Kitsis and
Adam Horowitz,
based on a story by Adam Armus and Kay Foster.
Directed by John
Kretchmer
.

Original Airdate

Lady Shiva originally aired on Wednesday, November 28, 2002

Synopsis

One of Batgirl’s old nemeses returns to New Gotham after an eight year
absence at the same time one of Huntress’ high school friends returns
to New Gotham after an eight year absence.

High Point

Alfred’s last scene of the episode.

Low Point

The main guest star’s lack of acting talent.

The Future of the Show

The latest rumours say that the WB will give the producers of
Birds of Prey the rest of the originally ordered 13 episode
run to wrap up the series, rather than just ended the series after
this episode. Based on the last two weeks, I really hope that’s the
case.

Cheesecake, Anyone?

First, we see Huntress at work in a sweater that’s cut across the
chest to expose cleavage. Am I just incredibly sheltered, or did that
strike anyone else as odd? Then, we see Huntress at work later on,
wearing what looked like a loose fitting bra, and nothing else above
the waist. As if that weren’t enough, they brought in Sung Hi Lee as
the guest star. I’d link to her website, but Bureau 42 tries to stay
family friendly. For the people who like their women young, we had
Dinah dressing like, well, like the Huntress, in an attempt to attract
a particular male. To top it all off, we had a revelation about
Dinah’s friend that a lot of fanfic writers are going to love working
with.

Despite all of this, I still found Dina Meyer’s Oracle to be the most
attractive woman on the show. She’s also the only one who didn’t seem
to go out of her way to show off her natural endowments. I’m sure
Daemonik agrees with me. Anyone else?

The Streetcorner

Danny O’Neil and Neal Adams were two of the pioneers of comics in the
early silver age. It’s nice to see them getting some recognition from
the New Gotham municipal government.

The Review

The story wasn’t original, but it sure felt new to this
series. Yes, there were a lot of cheesecake shots (as mentioned
above), but they were fairly well integrated into the script, and were
not overemphasized in the direction. The writing focussed on
characters rather than body parts and battles, and benifitted greatly
from it. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were minimal, but well done. There was the use
of Dinah’s abilities, the explosion in the teaser, and some excellent
wire fighting. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story was solid this week. I spent some time questioning
whether they’d go with the obvious solution to the mystery, or if
they’d make a more parallel character development and have the villain
be the daughter of the original. The writers were good enough not to
insult the viewer’s intelligence by giving conclusive evidence of the
connection early on, leaving us to wonder only about how long it would
take the characters to figure it out. Dinah’s story thread actually
had some degree of genuine mystery and suspence, as well. I give it 5
out of 6.

The acting depended greatly on the individual. Sung Hi Lee
was bad. Ashley Scott was decent, but she seemed terrible when she
shared the screen with Dina Meyer, who did an excellent job. Rachel
Skarsten wasn’t up to par with Dina Meyer, but she was good. Ian
Ambercrombie was fantastic in all of his scenes. I give the acting of
the ensemble 4 out of 6, supported mainly by Dina Meyer’s generous
screen time.

The emotional response this produced was primarily surprise.
The same writing team have been writing the episodes for the past few
weeks, and the improvement they’ve shown in that time is
considerable. I’m starting to regret the decision to cancel this show
more each week, since it looks like it can really go somewhere. The
only truly powerful moment of the show itself was the scene with just
music as Oracle looked in the display case. I give it 3 out of 6.

The production quality this week was high. The direction was
excellent, the cheesecake was pulled out of the spotlight, the music
was perfect, and the lighting perfectly set the mood. I give it 5 out
of 6.

Overall, this is an episode that I would gladly watch again.
If the second half of the series keeps up to this level, I might even
be willing to buy a DVD set. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Lady Shiva receives 31 out of 42.

10 replies on “Birds of Prey Review – “Lady Shiva””

  1. mbourgon says:

    Ditch the first 5 – all shows
    I think some sort of rules ought to be set for TV shows, especially Sci-Fi – write and shoot the first 5 episodes, then VAULT them. Put them away. Save them for the DVD extras.

    I’m serious. I’ve only seen a couple of shows (especially sci-fi) where the pilot didn’t suck, or where the first few episodes didn’t suck (Nowhere Man is the only show that comes to mind where it was on all cylinders from day one). Some people have mentioned that Firefly started to get good with Out Of Gas, which was episode 5 or 6. B5 needed a season to really get up to speed. Dark Angel needed several episodes, although the pilot kicked ass.

    So, because the first few eps sucked, BoP will be cancelled. I know a lot of people who stuck with it for 3-4 episodes, and then skipped the rest. Again, a shame. I wish the network/producers could look back, say “these suck”, and fix them or something before showing them. But I’ll enjoy the 2-part finale, provided they do it. Alas, poor Oracle. I knew her well, Horatio…

  2. UncleJam says:

    Missed it
    Oh man, I missed this one and it sounds like it was actually good. :(

    I locked myself out of my apartment Wednesday night and by the time I got back in, I had missed all but the last 2-3 minutes.

    I guess since BoP was cancelled, there’s no chance of the WB rerunning this ep. So much for taping them all. :(

  3. Cerberus7 says:

    Bitter-sweet surprise
    I was losing interest in this show quickly, but decided to put my attention to this episode. I said to myself “ok, one more time.” It was a bitter-sweet surprise. Sweet because the show again flexed its “potential” muscle, bitter because we all know the show’s been axed. If more episodes were as good as this one, Birds of Prey would be a damn fine show. Few shows can find their “zone” in just one season, though, and it’s unfortunate that TV execs expect them to or die.

  4. Daemonik says:

    Dina

    I still found Dina Meyer’s Oracle to be the most attractive woman on the show. She’s also the only one who didn’t seem to go out of her way to show off her natural endowments. I’m sure Daemonik agrees with me.

    Agreed, but you already knew that. :)

  5. Daemonik says:

    Lady Shiva
    You know, when this show first started I had trouble distinguising whether it was going to be an homage to the “Bang” “Pow” 60’s Batman or a sad rip-off of Black Scorpion. Considering that they’re guest starring porn stars as villains, I guess Black Scorpion it is.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with Sung-Hi Lee, I’ve done extensive visual inspection, she’s got everything exactly where it’s supposed to be and in fine form, but there has got to be a few pretty looking asian women in Hollywood who can actually act and don’t cost a fortune.

    Were there no budding Joan Chen’s looking for work? Or does the casting company do it’s auditions while surfing porn? Considering their constant focus on cleavage shots, and the WB’s between commercial cuts of Ashley and Rachel crawling on the floor or drenching themselves with water while looking severely f**kable, I don’t really have to ask that question.

    This episode wasn’t great, but it was tolerable, if only because it focused on Oracle and dealing with the ramifications of making the protection of others your personal mission.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Lady Shiva

      Not that there’s anything wrong with Sung-Hi Lee, I’ve done extensive visual inspection, she’s got everything exactly where it’s supposed to be and in fine form, but there has got to be a few pretty looking asian women in Hollywood who can actually act and don’t cost a fortune.

      I recommend Sandrine Holt. Take a look at “John Woo’s Once A Thief” for the details.

  6. Daemonik says:

    The Willow Effect….
    I’ve been thinking about Dinah’s girl friend at school and had to step back a second. Has she gotten much screen time before? And of the bit of screen time that she does get, why suddenly out her?

    Could it be what I will henceforth refer to as the “Willow effect”? I mean, Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been openly gay for a while now and the character has even been allowed to experience one of the most romantic/tragic relationships I’ve ever seen on tv, for a straight or gay character. But the main thing was that ratings didn’t go down, if anything her relationship with Tara gathered a cultish sub-audience of the main show.

    So now we have a new show, trying to find an audience, and out of left field they out what has been a minor character. Could it be for anything other than a desperate hope to latch on to some of the gay audience?

    Having a gay character in and of itself is (to some) an admirable thing for a tv show to do, but can anyone doubt that this was a ratings gamble rather than fleshing out a character’s depth? If they really wanted to shock people, how about having a gay male character that doesn’t worship at the alter of Judy Garland.

    But that’ll never happen, will it? Considering the core audience this show was going for is the 14-25 males, the “Willow Effect” will bring them home like spawning salmon, drooling for a glimpse of two girls kissing.

    Put a man in tights and a cape, he better not be thinking of spreading his creamy justice on anything but our toast.

    • Cerberus7 says:

      Re: The Willow Effect….

      Put a man in tights and a cape, he better not be thinking of spreading his creamy justice on anything but our toast.

      SPOOOOOOOOOON!

      :)

    • SciFi0964 says:

      Re: The Willow Effect….
      The minor plot between Dina and her friend I found interesting for one reason alone; the zinger that her friend switched lab partners because she wanted to get close to another woman.

      Personally, I found Dina’s adventures in high school a distraction from the Lady Shiva story.

  7. SciFi0964 says:

    Some semblance of Crimefighting?
    Question: Did I miss something or was it automatically assumed Lady Shiva was hauled off to jail by police at the end? If not It leaves that bitter aftertaste of an unfinished or poorly plotted story.

    I would rather see mentioned the villian incarcerated by police with evidence, vanquished, or let go rather than keep that consequence in the shadows.

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