Good morning fellow gamers, now today is Wednesday, which means that I pretty much, have no scheduled item to talk about. That being said, I’m more than eager to fill today’s slot with a thought that’s been mulling in my brain as of late. I’ve tried to hold it in, but the thought just keeps beating at me. Now I know in past weeks those of you who have followed me will recall that I have an overwhelming love and appreciation for Batman.
I’m practically enthralled with anything that has his logo plastered all over it, and I consider the Batman: Arkham series to be one of the best superhero games to ever be released. This got me wondering though about one very peculiar detail, which many may have overlooked:
Why hasn’t there been a live-action Batman TV Series since the 1960’s?
Is it because Batman’s too provocative of a comic book to be put on the small screen? Is it because Christopher Nolan’s had so much high quality success with his Batman universe that nobody else wants to dare to attempt take on The Dark Knight in a small screen adaptation? I want to know, because honestly I think that’s what television is missing lately. I remember when I was younger and watching every different form of Batman I could glue my eyeballs to:
- Batman ( 1960’s – Adam West )
- Batman: The Animated Series ( 1990’s – Kevin Conroy )
- Batman Beyond ( 1999 – Will Freidel )
My point is – Batman’s been around, and for as many cartoon iterations that he’s had over the years I’ve always longed to have a live-action one back in my life. I’ve wanted a Batman show that I could look forward to as an adult now. I remember watching the 1960’s version on AMC with my grandparents and remembering how campy and humorous it was – but it still made me retain a memory and that’s what counts.
So, where do we go from here? Batman: The Animated Series was probably one of the most well known Batman lore ever to be produced for the small screen, certainly we wouldn’t dream of tarnishing that – but I suggest we honor that tradition with a live-action version for today’s modern audience.
Many adults, like myself, were once comic-book reading nerds hunkered down in their rooms like it was a burrow at Bag’s End. Why should they have to be subjected to comic book ideologies designed for children? So that poses a brand new question:
If a Batman: Arkham series [or a live-action Batman of any kind] was made for television – what channel would broadcast it? – And who would fulfill the roles?
Well it’s worth noting that within the past couple of years we’ve seen a dramatic leap of some major movie faces taking roles upon the small screen – and I think it’s a joy to see that. You’ve got actors like:
- Steve Buscemi [Boardwalk Empire]
- Dustin Hoffman [Luck]
- Anna Paquin [True Blood]
- Keifer Sutherland [Touch]
- Dominic Monaghan [Lost]
- Olivia Wilde [House]
- Jennifer Morrison [Once Upon A Time]
My point is that television audiences are now getting experiences that they never have, with actors that they’ve only thought were film based stars. They are branching from their traditional formats and coming to the small screen, which, provides a wonderful backdrop for a high-production live-action Batman to be able to successfully be done for this generation. The station it would go to would have to be one willing to take a risk.
There’s always this sort of risk/reward thing when trying to develop comic-book television shows. [ just look at the clearly under-watched and under-rated Cape from NBC ] The benefit for anyone who were to grab this franchise though, would be the popularity factor. Batman is an insanely popular pop-culture icon. If you slap a Bat-Signal on a television screen they will come [ if even for only a moment if it sucks. ] So, how do we begin, and who would play these roles? Well here goes:
I personally say that some of the higher end, more premium networks would have to take charge of this if it ever came to be. I’m not saying shows like Smallville, The Cape, and other comic/sci-fi genre shows aren’t good on networks, but there’s something that premium channels like HBO and Stars can provide franchises like Batman – freedom of expression. The comic book versions of Batman are surprisingly dark and often deal with lots of very intense violent situations that I don’t think could accurately be depicted via a network company judging on my past viewing experiences.
Is it possible that a network could pull Batman off?
Yeah, certainly, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Fringe and Grimm and they’re much darker than past shows on their respective networks, but my point is, taking away that risk of restriction will help to tell a better-rounded story – so my vote goes to HBO, Showtime, or Stars.
Now on to, who would play these iconic roles?
This is a very difficult task and by no means am I an expert or am I a casting agent who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to placing people in roles. These are just a gamer’s musings on who he feels would fit and suit a live action television version of Batman: Arkham. Honestly, I’m hoping people will disagree with me and post their own opinions of cast members. The more odd and interesting the better, who knows if suggestions made here may actually become a reality some day?
Now some folks may hurt me with this suggestion – because nobody will ever out-do Kevin Conroy for a Batman voice. Conroy has something special in his soul that allows him to be the quintessential Dark Knight – but I digress. I personally believe though that one man may be able to pull this off if given the chance. I’m a massive Mad Men fan and for some reason whenever I see John Hamm on the screen I instantly think of a certain superhero billionaire playboy – of course there is also Matt Bomer from White Collarto contend with. Either gentleman, I feel, has the charisma and swagger of Bruce Wayne, while still having enough intensity and muscle to put on the cowl for a television screen.
Now Harley was probably one of my favorite Batman vixens when I was growing up. There was just something so charming about her flirtatious nature, her charisma, and her brute ruthlessness that was so deceptive to the common of Gotham. This is why, when I scavenged through the remains of Hollywood I was disappointed that I couldn’t put Brittney Murphy in this place [ RIP Brittney Murphy ] I always felt that Murphy would have made a wonderful Harley due to her humor, infectious personality, and take-charge female attitude. Alas, I had to look elsewhere and so my choice for Harley would have to be none other than Malin Akerman.
She’s already got enough geek-cred for being a vital part of the Watchmen series as Silk Spector. She’s got humor and wit and we’ve witnessed she’s definitely got some ass-kicking vixen in her. Definitely my one and only choice for Harley Quinn at the moment, but any other suggestions are extremely welcome.
This one is extremely hard to deal with. I find Joker to be the one villain I can never place a face with. I was also one of those guys who, when posed the question as to whether Heath Ledger could pull of Joker, stated that I couldn’t picture him fulfilling that role. How stupid do I look now hmm? I was blown away by his performance, so to even attempt of fill someone in this spot is hard – extremely hard. I’m going to try to anyways though – so please outcry your distaste if you think my choice blows.
My choice for Joker comes off of two things:
Can the person play an evil villain convincingly? – and does the person have a wit to them when doing so?
I originally wanted to throw NPH’s name out there – because I felt he did a wonderful job as Dr. Horrible, but alas, Neil Patrick Harris is just not imposing or vicious enough for me to consider him a real threat in the Batman universe. I finally broke it down to two people I feel could fill that role: Steve Bucemi or Michael C. Hall.
Steve may seem like an old choice, far too old to play a supposedly 30-something Joker, but Bucemi is a wicked, dark, brooding badass in Boardwalk Empire. He exudes this aura of fear in people even for his lanky stature and I think that’s something that Joker brings out in his character. Hall would be my second choice, because he’s younger and he’s got experience playing a serial killer on television’s Dexter. The man knows what playing a psychopathic individual is all about and he can do it with style. So either of these men I think would make fine additions to the Joker pool for a tv series.