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Batman Television Series Reboot - It's About Time

Adam West is in this picture of
Julie Newmar - so I'm told.
It's been a while since I had a rant about Batman but I've been listening to recent Batman on Film podcasts where the team there again reiterated that a live action Batman should be exclusive to the Silver Screen as an 'event' movie that fans look forward to.

I completely disagree.

Batman's career on film started in serialized shorts in the cinema back in 1943 and again in 1949. It was the success of the re-release of the 1943 serial in 1965 that inspired the 1966 TV series and movie spin off. All of these series were quite popular and demonstrate that Batman works as a serialized product.

I haven't even mentioned all the Batman TV cartoon/animated series over the years.

More so than the films it's Batman on Television (mostly the '66 series and various animated series) that has kept the legend alive for main stream audiences - even more so than Batman comics. Personally I've never read a complete Batman story in the comics.

Having to wait 3-5 years minimum for a new Batman story on the big screen and having to wait around ten years just to get through a trilogy of films is a crock. I don't care how good a movie is. There's only so many times you can rewatch it on DVD.

Don't get me wrong. I love the films and they should be 'event' movies. I just don't see that you can't have a good Batman series on television that is its own thing. Completely unrelated to the movies. Audiences are sophisticated enough to know that a TV show is unrelated to the continuity of a movie franchise.

Live action Batman on television is screaming out for a reboot for a new generation. Batman on television has been defined by the 1966 series for decades. It's a series that you either love or loathe. I loved it as a kid. It's the reason I'm a Batman fan today. However it's somewhat cringe-worthy (but still fun) to watch it as an adult. Unsurprisingly Adam West who played Batman in the series is still popular and is fairly active on Facebook.

As a reboot I'm not talking, necessarily a Christopher Nolan style copy reboot. If I'm completely honest, Christopher Nolan's Batman isn't my Batman. There's a lot I like about his version but there's still something missing for me. What Chris has done, however, is shown that Batman can be popular as serious drama/action movie. It doesn't need over the top design, special effects and comedic scripts.

Crime shows on television are real popular right now with the CSI and Law and Order franchises. I've already written about how I'd like one of these shows to perhaps do their take on Batman in The Bat Suit and CSI: Batman.

I've also written about how there's an opportunity to put Robin on the small screen to tell his Nightwing story perhaps in Can Batman's Robin find his Cool?

More than anything though, the reason to put Batman on TV is not to create a series with self contained one hour episodes each week. Rather it's to tell longer and more detailed stories in serialized format.

As an example I'm going to highlight the 2003 British TV series State of Play which was adapted into an American film of the same name in 2009 and starred Russel Crowe. I am a huge fan of both for different reasons but one thing most people can agree on is that the series is better. Not because the movie is bad, it's just that the series has so much more depth in every aspect of the story and covers more ground.

Imagine a Batman series in the format of State of Play. Not single, self contained and similarly structured episodes with threads running through to future episodes but one complete story that unfolds over the entire series with twists, turns, surprises and more. Is that not how Batman should be done and is that not a good reason to put a live action Batman on TV? To tell bigger more detailed stories.

Forget this BS of live action Batman should only be on the big screen. At the rate these films get made I'm only likely to see two or three per decade and, to get a detailed story like Nolan's, it takes a decade just to tell one complete story.

There's plenty of room between movies to fill the gaps with a Batman television series. Especially now that Nolan's last film is set for release this year. It's a great time to bring Batman back to the small screen in a ground breaking, prime time drama series for adults.


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