Batwoman s01e01 – Pilot

“Batwoman,” at least for the pilot, gets a “Sure, you can maybe get away with this.” It’d be nicer if someone was excited about it. No one on “Batwoman” seems very excited. Except Rachel Skarsten as the villain, Alice (like in Wonderland). Skarsten’s awesome. So good you don’t even understand how it’s happening because there’s nothing to suggest anyone was actually going to be really good in the show. The fight choreography is promising, but the direction this episode—by Marcos Siega—is terrible. And they don’t have the effects shots down. Like the matte shots. What ought to be really simple stuff.

Because right now “Batwoman” feels like the most expensive shot in Canada nineties action show ever. Somehow they’re filming some exteriors in Chicago, but it only makes the show feel more Canadian. In that nineties period. It’s not a great vibe. And it’s a really peculiar one, given its supposed to be the new flagship CW Arrowverse show. And it feels like… first season “Arrow.” Only mixed with trailer moments from Nicholas Sparks adaptations when it comes to lead Ruby Rose’s flashbacks. She’s got all sorts of heartache—in childhood, her mom and sister died after Batman didn’t hang around to make sure his batarangs held, then in military academy she got busted out because she’s gay. Worse thing—because she’s also really rich so getting busted out doesn’t matter, but it’s really bad because girlfriend Meagan Tandy stayed (renouncing or denouncing the behavior). In the show’s timeline it’d be Gulf War II era, which it never feels like. The flashbacks just have a lot of filtered lighting, no real personality.

It’s kind of a big miss. Like, they didn’t take this seriously enough and then hired someone really good to cut Rachel Maddow doing a radio talk show host talking about Batman’s return over footage of the city inhabitants rejoicing. It’s a lot better done than anything else in the pilot, which fails Rose, mostly because it sets her up for all sorts of dramatic developments and instead just reveals she never knows what’s really going on and she’s (so far) always wrong about it.

Weird place to put the hero. Only, given the way the show’s structured and the importance of dad and man who forever won’t be James Howlett Dougray Scott, Rose doesn’t feel like the protagonist. And why’s she training to be an elite private army stormtrooper up in the Arctic with what seems to be a old Native American wise man stereotype from the 1940s. It’s really weird. And starts the show on an odd foot.

And the pilot doesn’t set up the show. It’s a bad pilot.

Nicole Kang is really good as Rose’s stepsister. Elizabeth Anweis is not really good as Rose’s stepmom. She’s kind of bad. But Kang’s good.

The show’s taking itself too seriously and, rather annoyingly, never in the right places. It’s that lack of enthusiasm. It all feels perfunctory, not creative. Not even in a craven way.

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