I know I've talked about wanting to see a new live action series somewhere on these forums, but I can't remember where. Anyway, this is what I want to see next. I don't want it to be soon - give it several years for the sake of distancing it from the Chris Nolan movies. I won't mention that it's also because my dream is to be the showrunner on said series, and I'm in no position to do that yet. But that's a pipe dream, so I won't mention it.
In live action adaptations, Batman's been the most exposed of any superhero, because he's been the most successful. Counting the serials, Batman's made nine appearances in live action on the big screen, and we're awaiting the tenth; he's made two significant appearances in live action on the small screen, and they were both high camp (the '66-'68 show, and the yes-that-actually-happened Legends of the Superheroes
in '79). You could make the argument that Daredevil, The Punisher, or a number of other, more obscure comic book heroes are far more in need of a good live action TV series than Batman; I'd love to see a Daredevil and/or Punisher series done well, because not only have they not been done well on live action TV, they haven't been done really well in live action. That there have been numerous good animated Batman TV series makes the argument for a new live action one more
of a reach (Batman: The Animated Series
/The New Batman Adventures
is, I'd argue, the best adaptation of a comic book character for television to date).
So why should Batman be brought back to the world of live action TV? Well, because a serious Batman TV series in live action is something we've never seen before. And isn't that the point? To keep doing things that we've never seen before with a character that's been around longer than any of us have?
There are three big reasons to do this:
1) The chance to do long-form stories that can't be told with quite the same breadth even in a film on the level of The Dark Knight Rises
. You could do The Long Halloween
, you could do No Man's Land
, any number of major arcs. Sometimes that would mean a very literal adaptation that's barely adaptation, but it wouldn't be that straight-up all the time. Serialized storytelling certainly doesn't always work on TV, but the possibilities here seem like they could be endless. It doesn't have to begin and end with major comic book arcs. More exciting is that you could develop some relationships to an extent that you can't quite in the space of a 2-hour or 2.5-hour feature; we could really dig into the eternal battle between Batman and The Joker, Batman and Catwoman/Bruce and Selina could be a romance (or two) that really anchors the series, we could see The Penguin in a constant struggle for legitimacy or at least the perception
of it, and build him into an actual threat without the grotesquerie of the Burton version (which I love, but I don't want to see that take repeated), on and on. The Nolan films have had a continuity, a scope, and an ambition that I love, appreciate, and admire hugely. A serialized Batman TV show could do even more.
2) The chance to explore different tones. Tones
, plural. I want a show that has the freedom and the ability to move from one tone and style to another from week to week – not in a bad, uncertain way, but in a positive, eclectic way. I want to be able to go from moody gothic fairy tale to contemporary crime drama, but also anything beyond or in between. I want an adaptation of “Arkham Asylum” (the graphic novel), then an adaptation of “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge.” I want a lighter adventure story one week, an intense serial killer story the next. I want a splashy superhero tale one week, a relatively low-key detective story the next. I’m excited by the possibility of doing any kind
of Batman story without losing the consistency of the characters within it.
3) The chance to “bring to life” some characters who couldn’t carry a movie, but deserve a chance, or a second
chance, in this form. Poison Ivy, The Mad Hatter, Mr. Freeze, Zsasz, Black Mask, these characters aren’t going to be at the center of a feature film any time soon anyway, but I’d love to see new stories with them in this medium.
The ideal, of course, is that this show would be on HBO, and, fortunately, that only makes sense because HBO is a Time Warner company just as DC and Warner Bros. Pictures are.