Bye, Kate.

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The CW’s Batwoman: You liked it, you hated it (or based on the ratings) you were completely indifferent. Me, I really did like the show, one of very few series I faithfully watched (back-to-back Batwoman and Supergirl episodes made for a nice 7:00 – 9:00 PM CST pre-workweek slot on Sunday evenings). Yes, the show speedily started to build a needlessly complex series of subplots like most CW Arrowverse shows have done, but I still enjoyed the show’s performances, link to DC Comics Bat-Verse and overall look, not minding one bit that many exterior scenes used altered Chicago skylines (notably oft-filmed LaSalle Street and the ubiquitous Board Of Trade Building for Wayne Tower). Quirky Rachel Maddow voice-overs were just icing on my personal Bat-cake.

But then drama unfolded, lead actor Ruby Rose is gone and fan sites buzzed with speculation about the how’s, why’s and what-now’s.

Batwoman 1Myself, I’d have simply recast the role with someone who thought a steady and visible acting gig with a pre-built fan base wasn’t a bad deal in a profession where most actors barely eke out a living by working demeaning day jobs while toiling in anonymity in storefront theaters, corporate training films and local market commercials. Batwoman wouldn’t be the first television series that had to recast a role, though recasting the lead would be pretty unprecedented.

Now the news pops up that the CW powers-that-be have decided instead to abandon the DC Comics-based Kate Kane character altogether and introduce an all-new person to don the Bat-mantle in season two. I smell CW execs concluding that they won’t get screwed by a series lead ever again, so they’ll be poised to rapidly introduce a new Batwoman as needed. Maybe it’s a subtle message to the leads of their other shows: “You too can be replaced”. Who knows?

Elseworlds, Part 2

I’m disappointed, but sure, I’ll check out the new season, which might suck or might be terrific. The fact is, it almost feels silly to even be thinking about a television show at all when a global pandemic can become yesterday’s news in the face of other overwhelming issues. But a part of me hopes that come this Fall or even in early 2021 when new CW superhero series’ seasons debut, the national political scene will have simmered down (one way or another), we’ll be on a path (however meandering) to resolving once and for all the institutionalized inequities in our society, and even the dreaded and deadly virus will be better contained and managed. At least, enough so I can shut my brain off for an hour or two once a week to enjoy a silly costumed superhero TV show. Which I really need to do, ‘cuz it feels like my head’s ready to explode these days.

 

I Guess I Know Where I’ll Be On Sunday Evenings For A While…

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Buying comics since grade school, I doubt if I acquired more than five or six Superman comics in all that time. Super-anything, actually: Superman, Superboy, Supergirl, World’s Finest, whatever. Aside from DC’s current Lois Lane mini-series, I just never got into the whole Krypton/Smallville/Metropolis scene, instead being a dedicated denizen of Gotham City pretty much right from the cradle, always drawn to the dark side and the notion of a regular person fighting crime partly for justice and partly for vengeance. So, a loyal Bat-fan I‘ve always been (and later Batgirl – well, make that the various Bat-Girlz – and Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Huntress, the Bird Of Prey…).

Super powers? Indestructible? Flying, space travel, alternate dimensions? Not for me.

Yet I clicked on CBS a few years back for the premiere of Supergirl, shocked to discover that Melissa Benoist’s Kara Danvers/Supergirl character, the show’s premise and the entire cast all left me completely smitten. I’ve been a rabid fan since, worried at first when the series switched to the CW, concerned on occasion that the growing cast of characters made for some unwieldly storylines, frustrated to see some characters depart but learning to love the newcomers, and always pleased with the show’s none-too-subtle bits of politicking.

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Season Five premiered this past Sunday and didn’t disappoint, doing the obligatory setup for some impending changes, new personal dramas, secondary villains and the season’s ‘big bad’. A lot of advance chatter dwelt with Benoist’s ever-so-slightly different look (bangs) and more notably, a redesign for her Supergirl uniform. “Pants!” she exclaimed once it appeared, and who couldn’t share her relief. I’ll still ponder precisely where Kara Danvers (like her cousin, Clark Kent/Superman) hid her costume. Super-speed aside, Kara’s sleek Catco Media office attire – a sleeveless dress, bare-legged with designer heels — doesn’t provide any convenient places to stow a superhero’s gear. Bottom line: Where did she hide those enormous red boots? So now she has fake hi-tech specs engineered by Brainiac to trigger an all-new morph-on-the-fly Supergirl suit. Sans skirt.

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But instead of pondering where superheroes hide their super-gear, I’ll focus on what will make the two-hour 7:00 – 9:00 PM CST Sunday slot a real pre-workweek delight: Supergirl preceded by the CW’s new Batwoman, a show that’s gotten a lot of buzz. If Supergirl proudly provided us with a prominent lesbian character (Kara’s adopted earth sister Alex) and a trans actor (Nicole Maines), Batwoman keeps the faith with the DC comic source and Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane. Readers of this site should guess by now that “The Stiletto Gumshoe” is coming from Chicago, so it was nice to see so many Batwoman exteriors shot here (sets and interiors done in Vancouver along with the other Arrow-verse shows), providing a nice visual link to the first two Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman movies: LaSalle Street and the Board Of Trade Building as Wayne Tower (that darn street’s in so many movies), the Field Museum (that’s the dinosaur and mummy museum, not the one with whole airliners hanging inside or the WWII Nazi sub outside). And while I may be wrong, did they locate the questionable mercenary Crow organization’s HQ in Chicago’s Trump Tower? Looked that way to me. If so – cute choice.

Her Time Is Now.

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Ruby Rose may have had a close call with back surgery urgently needed following stunt work gone bad (or whatever it was), but we’ll assume she recovered enough to don the Bat-Suit and that all is on schedule for the premier this weekend of CW’s new Batwoman. All teasers seen so far promise something mighty good, so as with ABC’s Stumptown premier last week, fingers are crossed here, and you know I’ll be planted in front of the TV Sunday evening.

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