Television Man | by Aidan Morgan
“I was born in the shell of an old cathode ray tube set. I guess you could say I’ve always been on TV” — Television Man: The Movie (1976)
So many possibilities went through my mind when I found out the CW would be making a Batwoman series. Could Batwoman be a woman who is part bat (hopefully the wings and not, say, the nose)? A woman who collects sports (i.e. non-airborne, non-living) bats? A woman who is actually a colony of bats in a trench coat? That would be my favourite possible version, if only for a once-per-episode batsplosion that would turn Batwoman into a modern-day Incredible Hulk. Except instead of turning into Lou Ferrigno, she turns into — you guessed it — bats.
Sadly the answer, television friends, is none of those things. Batwoman is a woman named Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) who does not think or even pretend she’s a bat. Instead, she pretends to be Batman, who is also not a bat (or bats).
I realize this is confusing, so let me explain. Mild Batwoman spoilers ahead.
This… Is The Bat Place
The show is set in a Gotham that has been abandoned by Batman and now must fend for itself without the help of a man who runs around in the night beating up clowns and psychiatrists and so on. In this Batman-shaped void a private security company has sprung up, run by Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott). When Kate’s ex-girlfriend Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy) is kidnapped by an insane criminal (Rachel Skarsten) who wields a knife and a bat (hey wait a second), Kate returns to the city to rescue her ex and work through some emotional baggage with her father. In the meantime, she ferrets out her cousin Bruce’s secret identity, breaks into the Batcave and becomes Gotham’s new symbol of hope.
Like Bruce Wayne, Kate Kane is defined by an originary family trauma that fuels her desire to stay up late and punch people. There are a few twists built into this tragedy: Kate is the sole survivor of an “accident” that took her mother and sister, Batman attempted but failed to rescue them, and her sister’s body was… never found. Will this last tidbit pay off almost immediately? Yes. Yes it will.
Like so many television pilots, Batwoman has a lot of explaining to do, and it does it with varying degrees of success. The most compelling is Kane and Moore’s relationship. The CW has done an admirable job of depicting LGBTQIA characters, but this may be their first program with a queer woman placed front and centre.
The show suffers from issues that are endemic to CW superhero shoes. Blunt dialogue, on-the-nose plotting and clunky pacing (exacerbated here by the demands of a pilot episode) seem wedded to the form. Batwoman will need several episodes to find its footing
In conclusion, I rate Batwoman PRETTY GOOD IF YOU LIKE THAT SORT OF THING.
This… Is The Good Place
Oh hey, The Good Place (NBC) is back for a fourth and final season. This time, the five dirtbags and a natty demon (Ted Danson) are attempting to save the world and prove humanity’s worth to the Judge of the universe (Maya Rudolph). Will they succeed? Will Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper) find their way back to each other? Will Jason (Manny Jacinto) survive the knowledge that the Jacksonville Jaguars have traded Blake Bortles? Only 11 episodes remain. Fork me.