Harley Quinn is currently wrapping up its dynamite third season, and something special is happening with this show, one that somehow overcomes superhero fatigue with great characters and honest-to-goodness jokes. How can one of the best animated series on TV be another frickin’ superhero show? Apparently, if you treat your audience with as much respect as your characters, great things can happen.
And yet, when HBO Max announced the fourth season last week they noted that this Gotham was getting a new showrunner: longtime writer Sarah Peters. Described by co-creator and exiting co-showrunner Patrick Schumacker as an “incredibly influential voice on Harley since season two,” Peters has written some of the show’s most beloved episodes, including the hilarious Ivy’s unforgettable bachelorette party.
“The show’s tone is super specific, and I love the challenge of mixing emotionally grounded relationships, character-driven jokes, and then also, like, parademons and shit,” Peters told The A.V. Club via email. “Harley may be fighting Superman, but she’s thinking about an Instagram caption. That irony is my favorite place to draw stories and jokes from.”
However, this isn’t like when the Joker went up against Debbie. Things are still good in Gotham as showrunners Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumaker will be “taking more of a 10,000-foot view of the series,” Schumacker told The A.V. Club by email. “We will continue to act as advisers and facilitators, and will still be weighing in on the season arc, episode outlines, scripts, voice records, and giving feedback on designs, and cuts. We’re very aware of what Sarah has in store for season four, and we’re thrilled with what she and the team have planned.”
Not that we were that worried. Harley Quinn has survived much worse than a longtime writer getting a promotion. “My main goal as a writer on previous seasons has been to make Harley and Ivy’s relationship honest and relatable,” Peters said. “I believe when we run that kind of arc through high stakes stories and queef jokes, that’s when the show’s at its best.”
“I hope to strike that balance with season four: bringing our amazing fans even more of what they love, as well as exploring new territory of what it means for these two badass superwomen, who see the world very differently, to move forward in their relationship.”
Meanwhile, Schumacker and Halpern will be expanding the Quinn Television Universe by opening Noonan’s, an upcoming spin-off about the dank pit of scum and villainy in Gotham: Noonan’s bar, where all the bad guys hang out and get loaded. In the meantime, Harley Quinn sounds like it’s in good hands.
“With Sarah as showrunner, the fans can expect a smooth transition into a new regime,” said Schumacker. “Now she has the chance to spread her wings as leader of an incredibly talented season four writing staff. We are lucky to have a true comedy queen in such a key role.”