Gotham Knights Show Is Already Repeating An Arrowverse Batman Mistake

Gotham Knights’ announcement had a promising start met with as much excitement as there was curiosity; however, from revelations about the Batman-based series, the show has already repeated the Arrowverse’s previous mistake. In the process of reorganization, DC experimented with all kinds of new projects and canceled others as part of a merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery. However, while CW’s latest Gotham project could’ve been a new beginning, it has struggled so far to escape its past.

Not to be confused with the video game of the same name, Gotham Knights became another comic-inspired drama among a slew of other Batman spinoffs both previously released and currently in the pipeline. Focused on Turner Hayes, the adopted son of Bruce Wayne, the show is about a team of new roguish vigilantes taking over for the dark knight’s assumed death. Having recruited CW veterans such as Supernatural’s Misha Collins and former writers of Batwoman, its pilot was neither a sequel nor spinoff to the previously produced Arrowverse show and unrelated to HBO’s The Batman programming.

Related: Why Batwoman Was Canceled After Season 3

Citing a decline in ratings, the CW canceled Batwoman after three seasons and around the time Gotham Knights’ pilot finished filming. With a new series and the opportunity to change things up, another DC television show came with high hopes. However, with the same writing staff of Batwoman revisiting ideas in a Batman-successor story, Gotham Knights’ premise reads like its predecessor: a team of vigilantes attempts to fill in for a missing Bruce Wayne. Rather than learn from a premature cancellation, Gotham Knights repeated Arrowverse’s mistake by being another “Team Batwoman” series in an already oversaturated medium when HBO Max’s original The Batman spinoffs were in development.

Batwoman aired at a time when other superhero shows had already found popularity. When Batwoman premiered, the prequel series Gotham had just concluded and already gave audiences a story about a world without Batman. Meanwhile, paralleling the Arrowverse, Titans told its story about Batman’s legacy. When Batwoman tried to explore LGBTQ+ themes and social issues through its protagonists, characters like Dreamer, Sara Lance, and Alex Danvers had already accomplished this within the same continuity. By the time a “Team Batwoman” came about, there was already a “Team Arrow” and “Team Supergirl,” with little to distinguish their characters’ dynamics. From its declining ratings and sudden cancellation, it should’ve been a sign that audiences were ready for something different.

Gotham Knights is repeating the same mistake by echoing Batwoman and other Arrowverse concepts at a time when HBO has already promised original series based on the already critically-successful movie, The Batman. With repeated story elements from the CW’s writers, similar characters (as evidenced by the LGBTQ+-identifying Row siblings), and a filming schedule close on the heels of Batwoman’s cancellation, a change of pace was needed. Unfortunately, this change hasn't been realized yet by Gotham Knights. Adaptations of stories such as Batman Inc. or Battle for the Cowl would’ve been ideal for a new bat-family television series. There’s so much potential but little chance for its realization or success if CW continues retreading territory, especially when it’s in direct competition with more ambitious and inspired Batman projects.

There’s still time for Gotham Knights to surprise audiences by delivering a new experience. The Bat-family's strength didn’t come from wealth, gadgets, or martial arts training, but rather their ability to adapt. With changes from another Warner Bros. merger deal and an uncertain future for the Arrowverse, now’s the time to evolve, stand out, and perhaps learn from the past.

More: Is The Arrowverse In Trouble? New Cancellations Are Another Bad Sign

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