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Batwoman - season 1 (The CW)

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Adam Lenhardt, May 17, 2019.

  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Batwoman_S01_001.
    The sixth DC superhero show from Greg Berlanti premieres on The CW this fall. With "Arrow" ending after a ten-episode fall run, The CW is seeking to fill that grittier, more grounded slot in the Arrowverse with a concept that leans more heavily into the network's progressive, female-centric branding.

    The character was introduced in last December's crossover event. The pilot will jump back in time to tell her origin story, and the first several episodes will feature time jumps to catch the show up to the other Arrowverse series in time for "Crisis on Infinite Earths".

    First Look Trailer:


    Kate Kane never planned to be Gotham’s new vigilante. Three years after Batman mysteriously disappeared, Gotham is a city in despair. Without the Caped Crusader, the Gotham City Police Department was overrun and outgunned by criminal gangs. Enter Jacob Kane and his military-grade Crows Private Security, which now protects the city with omnipresent firepower and militia. Years before, Jacob’s first wife and daughter were killed in the crossfire of Gotham crime. He sent his only surviving daughter, Kate Kane, away from Gotham for her safety.

    After a dishonorable discharge from military school and years of brutal survival training, Kate returns home when the Alice in Wonderland gang targets her father and his security firm, by kidnapping his best Crow officer Sophie Moore. Although remarried to wealthy socialite Catherine Hamilton-Kane, who bankrolls the Crows, Jacob is still struggling with the family he lost, while keeping Kate –– the daughter he still has –– at a distance.

    But Kate is a woman who’s done asking for permission. In order to help her family and her city, she’ll have to become the one thing her father loathes –– a dark knight vigilante. With the help of her compassionate stepsister, Mary, and the crafty Luke Fox, the son of Wayne Enterprises’ tech guru Lucius Fox, Kate Kane continues the legacy of her missing cousin, Bruce Wayne, as Batwoman. Still holding a flame for her ex-girlfriend, Sophie, Kate uses everything in her power to combat the dark machinations of the psychotic Alice, who’s always somewhere slipping between sane and insane. Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate soars through the shadowed streets of Gotham as Batwoman. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, she must first overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.

    Based on the characters from DC, BATWOMAN is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”), Caroline Dries (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Smallville”), Geoff Johns (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Titans”) and Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”). David Nutter (“Game of Thrones,” “The Flash,” “Arrow”) and Marcos Siega (“The Vampire Diaries,” “You”) executive produced the pilot.

    Casting:
    • Ruby Rose as Kate Kane, the title character. Rose previously recurred during the third season of "Orange is the New Black". Her film credits include Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, XXX: Return of Xander Cage, John Wick: Chapter 2, Pitch Perfect 3, and The Meg.
    • Dougray Scott as Jacob Kane, a former military colonel with a chip on his shoulder for Batman, Jacob Kane now commands Gotham’s private security firm The Crows, and has made it his mission to protect his city better than the Dark Knight ever could. But it’s only a matter of time before his unwavering disdain for vigilantes puts him at odds with Gotham’s new caped crusader…who also happens to be his own daughter. Scott previously starred in the first two seasons of "Hemlock Grove". His film credits include Ever After, Deep Impact, Mission: Impossible 2, Hitman, and My Week with Marilyn.
    • Rachel Skarsten as Alice, "the leader of the Lewis Carroll–inspired Wonderland Gang. Swinging unpredictably between maniacal and charming, Alice has made it her mission to undermine Gotham’s sense of security." This show marks a return to the world of Batman; she previously starred as Dinah Lance on The WB's short-lived "Birds of Prey".
    • Meagan Tandy as Sophie Moore, Kate's ex-girlfriend who begins the series as "a high-level private security agent and one of Gotham’s staunchest protectors". Tandy previously starred in "Jane by Design" and "UnREAL". She also recurred on "Teen Wolf". Her film credits include Unstoppable and Piranha 3DD.
    • Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox, "son of Wayne’s R&D director Lucius Fox". He previously recurred on "There's... Johnny!" and "Luke Cage".
    • Nicole Kang as Mary Hamilton. "Kate Kane’s step-sister and polar opposite. But what Mary lacks in a filter, she makes up for with her compassion for Gotham’s underserved communities, proving she has more in common with Kate than she thinks." Yang previously recurred on the first season of "You".
    • Elizabeth Anweis as Catherine Hamilton-Kane, who "made her fortune as a savvy, bullheaded defense contractor, and all those billions position Catherine as one of Gotham’s most powerful residents. For Catherine, it’s a matter of the bottom line: Batwoman is bad for business." Anweis’ TV credits include appearances on “9-1-1,” “Twin Peaks: The Return,” “The Affair,” “Southland,” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

    Marcos Siega directed the pilot, which was shot in Vancouver and Chicago.
     
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  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I will definitely give the show two or three episodes to lure me in. And its timeslot is a big plus in its favor since I won't be watching anything else to compete with it.
     
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  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    My initial thoughts:
    • The production values seem like a step up from the other Arrowverse shows. Not at the caliber of "Gotham" (which, despite its many faults, was beautiful to look at), but definitely a step up from "Arrow" or "The Flash" or "Supergirl". My concern is that they shot the Gotham City exteriors for both the "Elseworlds" crossover and the pilot in Chicago. That gives Gotham a scale that Star City and Central City, which are just different parts of Vancouver, don't have. If the show moves to Vancouver full time from the second episode on, with just establishing shots of Chicago filling in for Gotham, it will lose a lot of that scale. The same thing happened to "Supergirl" when it moved from Los Angeles to Vancouver starting with Season 2.
    • I liked the all-black prototype of the Batwoman suit in that trailer better than the final version. The red bat logo on the chest is fine -- reminds me of "Batman Beyond" -- but the red wig looks ridiculous and would seem to be a hazard in the field.
    • Ruby Rose has a limited acting range, but she oozes charisma. Hopefully she'll grow as a performer the way Stephen Amell has over the course of "Arrow".
    • Caroline Dries will be serving as the showrunner for this. On one hand, I'm glad they're bringing in fresh blood since the existing pool of Arrowverse writers has output that's feeling stale. She has experience in this arena, having written a dozen episodes of "Smallville" back in the day. "The Vampire Diaries" was always more comfortable with sadistic villains than the Arrowverse has been. On the other hand, she was the showrunner for a couple of the most disappointing seasons on "The Vampire Diaries". Not sure if that's her fault, or just a case of the show having run out of steam by the time she got the job.
    • Dougray Scott is a nice counterbalance to all of the rah-rah feminism. The first season of "Supergirl" really benefited from having Calista Flockhart's Cat Grant providing a biting, cynical pragmatism as a contrast to Kara's sunny, naive optimism.
    • I hope Batwoman stays a solo hero. The other Arrowverse shows have suffered from team bloat over the years, which has taken focus off the central hero.
    • Luke Fox feels a lot like Curtis Holt in that trailer, my least favorite "Arrow" character. Hopefully I'm reading that wrong.
    • Rachel Skarsten brings a fun, unpredictable energy as the Joker-esque Alice. I wonder if this show has access to Batman's rogues gallery now that "Gotham" has ended.
     
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  4. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    I just hope this show can avoid two big pitfalls: 1) all the relationship nonsense that bogs down the other CW shows (Berlanti’s shows on the DC service do a nice job of avoiding this) and 2) the grotesque imagery of the recently finished Gotham. That show just got too absurd in its twists and turns.
     
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  5. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    I’ll watch it and probably like it.

    I know I would really like a real Superman and a real Batman tv show though.
     
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  6. Montytc

    Montytc Second Unit

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    This looks worth checking out. I hope it will not disappoint.
     
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  7. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Premieres tonight at 8/7c!
     
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  8. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I've gone back and forth all summer about watching this show, but after careful consideration, I'm going to likely pass on it. It sounds too much like Arrow crossed with Gotham (with a female protagonist, of course), and with each of those shows, I quickly tired of the grim tone and overpowering somberness of the storytelling. I will be reading reviews and comments and maybe I'll change my tune if there are enough positive reactions to what's presented. I will record a couple of the initial episodes just to have in case the reaction is super positive and I want to see for myself.
     
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  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The thing I liked most about the pilot is that it looks like Batwoman is going to be a solitary hero, with Lucius Fox's son as her Alfred. "Arrow" and "The Flash" got too bogged down in their team dynamics over time. The shows became more focused on the interpersonal conflicts within the team than on stopping the bad guys.

    The premise of this is similar to The WB's shortlived "Birds of Prey" in that it exists in a world where Batman and Bruce Wayne have mysteriously vanished. The problem with that is that being Batman and saving Gotham was Bruce Wayne's life purpose, overriding every other aspect of his life. I can't imagine that whatever reason they ultimately reveal for his absence will satisfactorily explain why he'd have abandoned Gotham to its fate.

    I also think it'd be more interesting if they'd taken a page from Batman Begins and made Wayne Enterprises amoral and corrupt in Bruce's absence, rather than shuttering it entirely.

    The suit isn't perfect; the helmet in particular is a bit too bulky. But it's one of the better ones in the Arrowverse, and there was a bit of a thrill seeing someone dressed up as a bat fighting bad guys. We've had so many Batman adjacent projects over the years, it's nice to have one that shows us what a hero dressed up like a bat actually gets up to.

    The production values were also a step up from the Arrowverse standard. The Chicago exterior shooting gave Gotham a sense of scale and scope that Star City and Central City have never really had. The Batcave set is excellent. Lets hope there isn't a steep drop off for future episodes.

    It was obvious by the end of the episode that this season's Big Bad was Kate's presumed dead sister. I'm glad they let the cat out of the bag now, rather than dragging the reveal out.
     
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  10. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    I enjoyed the premiere. I like the look of Gotham, although the cinematography in the show Gotham was much better (one of the best photographed shows I've ever seen, despite lacking in many other areas). Already I can see how it hits the CW formula for these shows, so any effort to do something different would be nice. But they've definitely struck the right vibe, and I look forward to more.
     
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  11. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Two episodes in, and it's reminding me a lot of first season "Arrow", between the dark tone, emphasis on street-level fighting, and screwed up family secrets.

    I like that they're continuing to use Chicago location shooting for a lot of the exteriors. It gives the show a scope the other CW DCTV shows don't have. I wonder if they shot a whole bunch up front, and that will slowly get restricted to establishing shots as time goes on, or whether they will build Chicago shooting blocks in the show's filming schedule.

    I like that Luke Fox isn't an all-purposes genius like Felicity was on "Arrow" and Cisco tends to be on "The Flash". I like that he's smart, but he's just figuring it all out along with Kate.
     
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  12. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    This is probably one of the few new shows I'm watching this season. Just caught up with both episodes, it's okay (though Rose is so slight of build, the action scenes will require some suspension of disbelief), and I'm enjoying seeing Rachel Skarsten chew up the scenery, as my last recollection of her was of a teen just coming into adulthood on Birds of Prey.
     
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  13. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The promotional materials in the months leading up to the show's debut made it sound like Kate added the wig and red chest emblem as basically a declaration of the "girls rule, boys drool" mentality. I was glad to see that the actual reason more nuanced and grounded: Batman has a lot of baggage and a lot of enemies, and his apparent return puts both her and the people of Gotham at risk. Making it clear that she's not Batman but rather someone new allows her to start with more of a clean slate. It's also a commitment to the city that she's taking up this mantle.

    My biggest complaint three episodes in is that Alice is the villain thus far that feels like a Gotham City villain. "Gotham" had many problems, but it understood how to make the rogues gallery sufficiently colorful. Gotham isn't just a city, it's a mindset. Outside of Wayne Tower and the Batcave, it just doesn't feel sufficiently gothic.
     
  14. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I have now watched all three episodes after being persuaded by a friend to change my mind about sampling it. By the end of the second episode, I was ready to leave it behind, but I gave it one more episode (Sunday's episode), and it was much improved by having an antagonist other than Alice.

    Alice is a real problem for me, though. She's being performed in such an overtly mannered and hammy way that it's a total turnoff and makes me want to flash forward through every scene in which she is featured. And since it's clear she's in for the long haul, I'm going to have a portion of every episode that I find irritating and absurd.
     
  15. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    That's true of most Gotham villains, though.
     
  16. Garysb

    Garysb Cinematographer

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    Show has gotten full season up from the original 13 episodes ordered.
     
  17. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Happy that we had a different villain this week (even though her capture was fairly anticlimactic), and that "Alice"'s identity has now been confirmed to all in her family. No tedious extending of that argument.
     
  18. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    I agree on both counts. Magpie was originally a Superman villain in the comics. A version of the character also appeared in the final season of "Gotham".

    One of the irksome things about the Arrowverse is that characters have a tendency to keep secrets way longer than necessary, to artificially create drama. It was good writing that Catherine reached a point where she knew it was certain that the truth about Alice (and thus the deception she'd perpetrated a few months after Beth went missing) would come out, and she came clean with Jacob.

    I have to say, Dougray Scott did a great job of conveying Jacob's sense of betrayal at what Catherine did, intermingled with his own guilt for abandoning the search for his missing daughter. It changes the stakes going forward, because he knows his actions (or lack of action) contributed to Beth becoming Alice. Much like Batwoman, he's not going to find it so easy to pull the trigger next time he has the opportunity.

    I also liked that Kate's new fling realized that Kate was lying to her, and called her out on it by the end of the episode. I really really liked that Kate, rather than continue to feed her BS, was as honest as she could be given the circumstances. Being Batwoman wasn't compatible with being in that relationship, and she realized it and made a choice.

    Another thing: being a real estate developer is a better occupation for a secret identity than most of the ones we've seen in the Arrowverse.

    Barry is barely on the job at Central City PD at all, Kara comes and goes as she pleases at CatCo, and Oliver went through a string of jobs that weren't particularly conducive to leading a double life. Barry had Joe West to cover for him, Kara had Jimmy Olsen to cover for her, and Oliver benefited from the fact that Star City is basically in perpetual crisis and everybody's so concerned with not dying that they don't have a lot of time to worry about his whereabouts.

    But being a real estate developer means that she can be just about anywhere in the city without arousing suspicion. She's the boss, so she doesn't have to worry about anybody micromanaging her time. She's got Luke to be her intermediary and take meetings when she's tied up with superheroics. And it gives her the opportunity to set up convenient secondary lairs in other parts of the city.

    The big question mark for me is the timeline. Last year's "Elseworlds" crossover event was set in December 2018, and Batwoman had already been operating for months at that point. So the "Batwoman" pilot had to take place in early- or mid-2018. Crisis on Infinite Earths will begin on December 10, 2019. Given Batwoman's hostage, all of the episodes to date had to have taken place within just a few weeks of each other. That leaves four or maybe five episodes to cover nearly two years of time to "catch up" with the other series ahead of Crisis.
     
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  19. ponset

    ponset Second Unit

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  20. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Alice's origin story was appropriately horrifying. You can tell that Caroline Dries was a "Vampire Diaries" showrunner, because this show is twisted like that show was twisted, in ways that the other Arrowverse shows are not.

    Mouse appears to be a gender-bent version of the Batman villain Jane Doe, who is a master of voice mimickry and disguise. Her real name was Jane Cartwright, while Mouse's real name is Johnny Cartwright.

    I actually kind of loved Mary and Luke together. Mary's drunken "Guess how many people I've killed?" bit was hilarious.

    What makes Alice interesting is that she's a potentially redeemable villain, instead of the usual irredeemable comic book villains. All of the horrible stuff she's doing comes out of a deeply wounded place. And her bond with Mouse is classic Stockholm Syndrome. She is loyal to him because he was the only one who was kind to her in a terrible situation.

    It's also worth noting that she described her captivity in the basement as the first worst day of her life. So there are probably other horrible things that happened later on that shaped Beth into Alice. Mouse and his father didn't exactly put her on the path to surrounding herself with stable individuals.
     

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