The Dark Knight graced our televisions screens way back in the 1960’s with Adam West starring as our Caped Crusader. (And you’ll soon be able to own the collection on DVD.) Since then, he hasn’t been on television in a live action series. Due to Warner Brothers or DC Comics not wanting there to be any discrepancies in the story telling between the big screen and what may get produced on television, we’ve been deprived the glory of seeing The Bat on television. But should this really be a concern anymore?
With the success of comic based television shows like Smallville, Arrow, and Agents of S.H.I.E.LD., the geek community has been blessed with all kinds of guest stars and Easter eggs from our favorite universes. Smallville introduced Oliver Queen as a Bruce Wayne substitute when The Dark Knight Trilogy had begun production because of the aforementioned conflict of storytelling. In Arrow we’ve gotten a plethora of mentions to characters that were born and bred in Gotham City, but not a whisper of the Bat himself.
Batman has seen himself in a multitude of animated television shows and movies. Batman: Year One and Batman: Under the Red Hood are two of the best straight to streaming/DVD films DC has produced. Not to forget, of course, The Dark Knight Returns parts 1 and 2. IF you stop and think about it, Batman might be in the most animated films and TV series than any other comic book hero out there. There’s been many different incarnations of the animated Bat which leads this fanboy to believe, you can’t lose with live action as well.
The Fox Network is going to change all of that. In the very near future we will see the pilot episode of a new show called “Gotham.” This series will be based in Gotham City and will follow a young James Gordon as he starts out his career as a Gotham City Police Officer. Its rumored that his first case will involve a very well known double homicide and that Fox is casting a young boy to play Bruce Wayne. So with all that in mind, obviously we’re not going to see Batman in this show. And I’m okay with that, I love the idea of this show. The premise is somewhat similar to the comic book series “Gotham Central” which focused on the GCPD and Gotham’s villains, with Batman playing a very, very small role in the background. The series was great and it was a new angle on how we view the crimes and schemes hatched by Batman’s rogues gallery. Casting news has confirmed that we’ll see the Penguin and rumors are that we may also see Catwoman and the Joker. Its also been said that the series will end with Bruce putting on the cape and cowl.
My question is, with so many ways to tell a story in the Bat-mythology, why can’t we get a Batman television series, starring the Bat himself? Is it just about money? Not wanting to waste the big stories on the small screen when they can blow minds on an Imax 3-D screen and make millions upon millions? Probably. But as mentioned on a recent episode of Fatman on Batman (A podcast hosted by Kevin Smith which focuses on all things Batman) a series revolving around Bruce Wayne in his teenage years. A Smallville for Batman so to speak. Its an area of Bruce’s life we’ve never seen and in the span of about an hour Smith and Paul Dini (one of the masterminds behind Batman The Animated Series) were able to plot out nearly five seasons of entertaining stories. Now their conversation was just in fun and jest, but I’d watch that show, and it would take nothing away from future Batman escapades in the theater.
Would it really be so bad to expand on the source material of Batman? There’s so many characters, so many stories, so many different points in his life that they can pull from and put their own spin on, that it seems almost endless. Arrow has shown us that while sticking to the source material would be great, there’s always room to improvise and make the story fresh and new. Oliver Queen was a B maybe C character for me until I watched Arrow. Now he’s an A-lister in my book and has quickly become one of my favorites. I’ve always enjoyed his comics but he just never really stuck with me. Arrow has spun a web of characters, guest stars, and stories that has me hooked and I want to see that same thing done to my favorite hero, Batman. The Flash is coming, and plans for a Constantine series are in the works as well. In the war between DC and Marvel, now is the time to build a television universe and why not use one of the best gadgets in the utility belt, The Batman? For now, Fox’s Gotham will have to do, and I personally cannot wait to see what they bring to the cape and cowl.
Do you agree? Would you watch Batman on television if it were the young adventures of Bruce Wayne? Would you want to see him jumping from rooftops in the cape and cowl as an adult, maybe in a Year One type of fashion? Should the Bat only be seen in a theatrical and animated format? What kind of Batman series would you wanna see?