I say this as a huge fan of Buffy and Angel: WB/CW shows always look cheap. ALWAYS. Because they simply are. It's not just the sets, either. A show like Gossip Girl (no, I don't watch it, but I've seen snippets) that shoots on location instead of sound stages still looks cheap because of the way it's shot. It looks like TV while HBO shows look like movies. It's the cinematography, attention to detail (which goes into "production values"), and editing that just make all the difference in the world.
AND, they never lose their teen demographic skew. Supernatural
is absolutely aimed toward the teenagers: they grab the guys with the "darkness" and they grab the girls with their pretty shirtless lead actors. I'm not dissing it, either. I say a good story is a good story, no matter the demographic. Otherwise, Veronica Mars
would not be one of my favorite shows ever, as it was clearly a "high school show" in its 1st two (best) seasons, and I was a bit old for high school shows when it 1st aired. But it happened to be a VERY good, different, and often brilliant high school show that simply told a great story with fascinating characters. Angel
did get quite dark, but it was always still a bit soapy, and never forgot its main demographic. This Batman show, if it was going to follow Nolan's lead, would need to avoid that "catering to the teen demo" stigma the CW attaches to every one of their shows.
And NBC has yet to handle a show with the kind of grittiness/gravitas this would require. I like Heroes
just fine, but it's totally a guilty pleasure, with plenty of its share of cheese and mediocre writing.
If you want it to be handled by the best talent the industry has to offer and be given the type of budget it deserves, it just has to be HBO. There's a reason their shows cost more. Though I do agree they're still a bit overpriced.
Man, I feel like I'm advertising for HBO and I don't even regularly watch anything on there anymore, lol. They just need their edge back (aka risky big-budget concepts), and in this dream scenario, a Batman/Gotham City show would be perfect for that.