Gotham Knights Is Doomed to Fail Like Batwoman, And The Reason is Obvious
A film featuring Batman is almost a guaranteed blockbuster, no matter the rest of the content.
Batman has been one of the most bankable characters in cinema since Michael Keaton's 1989 portrayal; the role has since become somewhat of a mantle. But the Dark Knight has been notably absent from television series – even those set in his hometown of Gotham City.
The CW's newest DC show Gotham Knights will once again try this approach, despite the fact that it's never really worked out.
Warner Bros. prefers to focus their character on the big screen, leaving them hesitant to allow a series appearance. They've still tried to make use of their character's mythos, sans the iconic character.
Gotham Knights will take place in a world where Bruce Wayne is killed, leaving his adopted son as his heir apparent in saving Gotham's soul. He teams up with a group of his enemies' children, banding together as the Gotham Knights.
The plot isn't all that different from the CW's Batwoman series – one of the lowest-rated series in history while managing to still run for three seasons. In Batwoman, Batman mysteriously disappeared three years before the pilot. His cousin, Kate Kane, takes over for him in his absence.
The show holds a 23% audience score, though the critics weren't as harsh.
There was hope that Batwoman would feature Batman at some point – just like fellow CW show Supergirl with the equally iconic Superman.
And for some time it seemed like it would happen. In Episode 20 of the first season, Warren Christie was cast as Bruce Wayne. However, he ended up playing not the actual Bruce, but Tommy Elliott, the modern Batman villain Hush. In the mythos and the series, Elliot surgically crafted his face to look like Wayne to pay back an old grudge.
The only real connection to Batman was his cousin – Kate Kane. But when her actress left after the first season, they decided to introduce a new Batwoman instead of recasting the role. Thus, all connection to Batman was gone. CW is making the same mistake once again with Gotham Knights.
It seems obvious, but the reason fans watch Batman content is for Batman. It's not for Gotham City; it's not for the Bat Family; it's not for his extensive rogues' gallery. Those elements are only part of what makes the Batman mythos great – removing Batman from the equation disintegrates all interest and appeal.
A successful Gotham Knights would obviously be welcome by all fans, but if Batwoman is any indication, fans shouldn't hold out hope.