This seems to be following the lead of the Batman: Earth One
graphic novel in playing up Alfred's military/security background, treating him more as a bodyguard than a butler.
EDIT: I've seen the first episode now, and I'm very impressed. It's the most serious and adult take on Batman in animation since B:TAS/TNBA, although they've had to bow to censorship by replacing real guns with laser pistols (which still have only six shots, somehow). Bruce/Batman and Alfred are both written well and distinctively; it's a fresh take on both characters, but they're still recognizable. And they're both quite impressive in action.
It's interesting how this Bruce talks about Bruce and Batman in the third person as if they were two different people. Judging from the producer interviews, it seems like that duality is a theme they're going to explore in the show.
The voice cast worked better than I expected from the promos and clips. Anthony Ruvivar isn't in the same league as Kevin Conroy or Diedrich Bader, but he did a strong, effective job -- except so far we've only heard him as Batman and private Bruce, not yet as public-facade Bruce. J.B. Blanc was effective as Alfred. I haven't yet heard enough of Sumalee Montano as Katana or Kurtwood Smith as Gordon to really assess them, but at least Montano is okay so far, and I know Smith's a solid voice performer. Brian George was a little forced as Pyg, but better than the previews suggested. Udo Kier was okay as Toad.
The music was more effective than I expected too. The 3D animation still has qualities I'm not crazy about, but it was reasonably effective, and there were some interesting uses of 3D composition, camera movement, and lighting. My main problem so far is the same one I had with Green Lantern
: the sets/locations are too empty. I didn't notice any people or cars beyond those directly involved in the story.
But I'm pleased overall by what I've seen, and I look forward to seeing where the show goes.