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Bat-Bulletin: Batman on TV, but in Live Action?

Heath Ledger Joker


Recently, there has been a surge of rumors that have hit the inter-webs that after, The Dark Knight Rises is finished, that Warner Bros. is looking to keep the Batmania alive with a live-action TV series.


Now, I encourage you to take this with a great grain of salt but the rumor is that Warner Bros. has put an unidentified executive in charge of overseeing the development and production of a new live-action TV series. The series is being described as a continuation of the "Nolanverse" (god I hate that word), where the show would try and maintain the mood and themes that Christopher Nolan has presented in his two films to date. Warner Bros. wants to keep the show attractive to the younger adult audiences and maintain that "realistic" approach.


The belief behind all of this is that Warner Bros. would be able to recast the Joker in a TV series versus trying to bring him back in film, where audiences may still oppose to the idea after Heath Ledger's legendary performance and tragic death. It would allow Warner Bros. to create a complete new and different version of the character without stepping on Ledger's legacy. Also, of course Warner Bros. is looking at this from a financial perspective; a live-action TV episode showcasing the Joker as the main villain would only give the studio some of its highest television ratings ever, giving them more then just a nice steady cash flow.


Among the previous two rumors, it is said to believe that Karl Urban would portray the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Urban is best known for playing Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in the recent Star Trek film directed by J.J. Abrams, and he is also portraying Judge Dredd in the upcoming film, Dredd.


What are my thoughts on all of this? Ok, so here is my opinion on all these mysterious and very obscure rumors. I like the idea that Warner Bros. would choose not to rush another Batman film into production after Nolan is finished, so I like that they are looking for other options. However, with another CG based animated show that is supposedly in the works, as well as the bat-universe being involved in the Young Justice animated television series, I worry that Batman could overcrowd his welcome. Meaning, yes, Batman is one of the most popular pop culture icons ever, but with two animated series, and an additional live-action show, people may get a little tired of seeing the character so frequently. Also, let me remind you that the last time we saw Batman on television in live-action form was the 1960's TV show with Adam West and Burt Ward. Now, I love the 1960s television series more than most but Warner Bros. might be a bit rusty with putting the property back on television. Smallville has become a success, but do we really want this to be similar to Smallville?


My other problem with this rumor is the idea that it would try to remain and be similar to the "Nolanverse", what does that mean? (Here comes a rant)… I've never liked that word simply because it makes it sound as if Christopher Nolan is the first guy to ever come up with the idea of making Batman exist in a realistic world, because he isn't. Also, when I read that, I keep thinking that Warner Bros. would just be trying to cash in on the Nolan films popularity, which is what I ultimately think they are trying to do. Honestly, after Nolan is finished with The Dark Knight Rises, I want a new and fresh perspective of the character. I don't want Nolan's vision to carry on throughout the franchise for the next 5 to 10 years. Nolan's vision was his own vision, give someone else the creative freedom that you gave him whether it be a live-action TV series or another film or an animated film or TV series. Trying to emulate what Nolan did without Nolan apart of it would eventually fail, and it wouldn't live up to the standard that fans expect when you tag Nolan's name with Batman.


The other two rumors that the Joker could be recast and Karl Urban would portray Batman, so of course the Joker would have to make an appearance on any television show. And let's face the facts, the Joker will appear again someday in a live-action film, and he will be portrayed by another actor. I understand the Heath Ledger situation, and I agree that he should remain away from the franchise while Nolan is still the focal point of it, but the character is too essential to keep him away. And no other actor will portray the Joker the way Ledger did, so the Joker being on TV rumor, to me really isn't a rumor because if there is a live-action TV series, then of course the Joker will appear. Now, Karl Urban as Batman… it’s an interesting suggestion, and that's all it is at this point, but I'm not really a fan of it. Urban has consistently played physical roles so it makes sense that he would be a candidate for the role of Batman, but the characters he has played, never really have great emotional depth to them and that's what would worry me. That Urban wouldn’t be able to play the dual-role, meaning he wouldn't be able to switch from Bruce Wayne to Batman and so on. Yes, essentially they are the same man, but I could just see Urban really "hamming" it up as Bruce Wayne when he is in the public eye. I see where the rumor is coming from, but for now I'm not really in favor of it.


I don't want to make it sound like I am opposed to the idea of a live-action TV series because I do like the idea. The problem is that with the kind of show they are describing would come a rather large budget and the whole idea is a bit of a wild-card. The most successful television shows have always survived and remained successful due to great characters, and the Batman universe certainly has plenty of those. The problem I see is assembling a long-term writing staff as well as a well-rounded and long-term cast that would remain loyal to the show. Also, what network would the show air on? If it wants to remain in the "Nolanverse" then it is going to be mature and be straddling that "R" rating line, which would make HBO seem like a logical choice. The problem with HBO is that it wouldn't reach the largest audience possible. I like the idea of airing it on a channel like, F/X where you can take some liberties but it remains on cable.


So I like the idea but I still need more legitimate information before a verdict could be reached. And let me remind you again, that this is nothing but a rumor, in fact, a rumor that has no legitimate sources behind, so take that for what you will.


Posted by Zach

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