`Birds of Prey' brings justice to New Gotham

Today's TV

October 09, 2002|By David Zurawik

The image of Ashley Scott as Huntress, all black leather and cheekbones standing atop a skyscraper looking down on New Gotham at night, is already out as one of the fall's hotter posters. So, maybe it's time for the television series from which it comes to actually debut, don't you think?

That would be WB's Birds of Prey, a dark fantasy drama featuring three female crime fighters based on characters from DC Comics. The acting is wooden, and the special effects are not quite feature-film quality. But it's got a campy tone, a strong soundtrack and a great-looking, angry young woman in leather outfits beating up bad men, especially the kind of rude young men featured in beer commercials. The beer commercials aspect alone would be enough to make me a fan.

My guess is that Scott as Helena Kyle, bartender by day, Huntress by night, is going to be the favorite. Her character is the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. She works with former Batgirl Barbara Gordon (Dina Meyer), now in a wheelchair as a result of an attack by The Joker. They are joined tonight by a teen runaway with telepathic powers (Rachel Skarsten).

As with Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and Dark Angel, it is hard to know where female empowerment ends and male voyeurism begins with shows like these. But I'm guessing most of the posters of Huntress will be in the rooms of teen-age boys.

Birds premieres at 9 tonight on WNUV (Channel 54).

At a glance

The West Wing (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) - Amy (Mary Louise Parker) tries to broker a deal between Stackhouse and the White House. NBC.

The Amazing Race 3 (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) - Teams endure a treacherous ride from Mexico City to Tulum, a Caribbean paradise on the east coast of Mexico. CBS.

And Thou Shalt Honor (9 p.m.-11 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) An estimated 30 million Americans are caring for elderly and disabled relatives and friends. This documentary, with host Joe Mantegna, profiles some of them and reports on the obstacles many of them face. PBS.

MDs (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) - Kellerman's superstitions jinx his performance during open-heart surgery on a Buddhist dignitary. ABC.

Cable

The Bronze Screen (7 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Cinemax) - Subtitled "100 Years of the Latino Image in Hollywood Cinema," this documentary includes clips from more than 100 films. Actors interviewed include Ruben Blades, Rita Moreno, Jimmy Smits and Raquel Welch.

Revealed (10 p.m.-11 p.m., E!) - Jules Asner sits down with Jamie Lee Curtis to talk about the fame game - from growing up with famous parents to becoming a celebrity in her own right.

Compiled from wire reports by Sarah Kickler Kelber

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