News Batman Prequel ‘Pennyworth’ gets series order At Epix

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Enterprise is Great, May 16, 2018.

  1. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Honestly, the thing that excites me most about Alfred is not so much the title character, but the 60s British setting, as it allows us to explore characters that haven't had any screentime before.

    Given that Spyral is based out of the UK, I'd be amazed if we don't get at least get Agent Zero/Doctor Dedalus & the Hood (probably with some humor at his being namedafter a medal).

    Also, unlike Gotham who ended up with a big Batman-sized hole when they started bringing in the 'freaks' (and I'll be shocked if Alfred doesn't go the same way), the first Squire (and Knight) is a 40s to 60s character and always has been, and it's not unlikely that Lady Godiva and Thomas Wayne move in the same circles. Jason Blood and Shining Knight would also fit the setting and era if they want to plum England's mystical history.
     
    OCD Geek likes this.
  2. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    A new Rip Hunter.

    Then we can have Rory and the new guy Arm-wrestle at conventions.

    Sweet. :)
     
  3. OCD Geek

    OCD Geek Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Dude. Honestly, you've managed to completely change my opinion on this thing. Also, looking into the George Mann's Newbury & Hobbes/Kim Newman's The Diogenes Club side of the Whoniverse tonight has gotten me into a British pulp thriller mood. A British/DC flipside to Agent Carter starring Alfred could be fucking awesome and really something special if it's done right. I just hope that Rome/Mentalist: Seasons 1-3 Bruno Heller shows up this time.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    How is Alfred Pennyworth not a popular pre-existing character? Heck, I'd love the idea of an Alfred prequel if it weren't from the Gotham creators.


    What people keep missing, though, is that the purpose of a spinoff or an adaptation to a new medium is to attract a new audience, not just the same old one. The whole reason for expanding to a different venue is to increase the size of your audience, to attract people who weren't interested in the original version. There are people who love Supergirl or The Flash but have never seen a single episode of Arrow. There were Star Trek: Voyager fans who had no interest in TNG or DS9. And of course Torchwood was deliberately aimed at a very different, far more adult audience than Doctor Who.

    So it doesn't matter if what you make doesn't appeal to every viewer of the original show, because the whole point is to add new viewers, so that the two shows together have a larger audience than either one alone.


    Better by what standard? From a creative standpoint, it doesn't matter either way, as long as the stories are good. But from a business standpoint, from the perspective of the show's owners, it's definitely better to use a character you already own the rights to than a new character created by someone else.

    The thing is, fans tend to exist in a bubble where we assume that everyone out there has the same knowledge we do about genre fiction. Adam-Troy Castro has just been talking about this in a Facebook thread. There are people out there who have no idea that Smallville was based on Superman or that Deep Space Nine was connected to Star Trek. There are people who just don't register those connections, to whom any given show is not a spinoff or an adaptation or what-have-you but just the show they're watching now. That's a much, much larger part of the audience than we fans usually realize. And that's the target for a show like Pennyworth. The target audience is people who want to see a spy show with an interesting lead character. And somebody at Warner Bros. probably thought, "Hey, Alfred's an interesting character who used to be a spy, and we own him, so we could get a show out of that." Which is cool for people like me, Batman fans who are interested in that untold part of Alfred's life, but it's also cool for people who just want to see a retro spy show with a charismatic, English-accented lead.


    Of course, but the two are not competing or mutually exclusive choices. The goal, naturally, is to have as large an audience as you can get. So it should be obvious that the ideal is to appeal to both the established audience and a new audience. The problem exists only in the minds of gatekeeper fans who feel they have to build walls between themselves and other audiences, to lay claim to a fandom and be purist about it. There's no conflict between appealing to the existing audience and attracting a new, different audience. They're both parts of the same overall strategy to increase viewership.
     
    LaxScrutiny likes this.
  5. Astra

    Astra Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Location:
    Dresden, Germany
    Did they actually say where it will be filmed? If it isn't filmed in the UK then my interest will be much lower. You can't recreate British architecture in the US. It would seem fake. It needs the original British setting. "Galavant" did it right.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Well, Gotham filmed in New York City rather than trying to fake it with Vancouver or Toronto. So maybe?
     
  7. OCD Geek

    OCD Geek Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Location:
    New Jersey
    According to the Deadline interview with Cannon that I linked to above, they're filming at Warner Bros Studios Leavesden in England.
     
    Astra likes this.
  8. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 20, 2001
    Location:
    West Haven, UT, USA
    Regarding whether this is a spinoff of Gotham, I don't think it is based on reporting I've seen and Danny and Bruno's latest comments.
     
  9. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    This is a new version of the character, so while the name Alfred Pennyworth might have been around, this specific version has not. If this was actually a Gotham prequel or a Nolanverse prequel, I'd be a lot more interested.

    I have to confess hearing some of the ideas people are throwing around, and really thinking about this more in general as Bond/Avengers style 60s British spy show set in the DC universe, I am starting see the appeal. I guess it just seemed kind of weird at first that of all the DC characters they could pick for a new show they chose Batman's butler.
     
    OCD Geek likes this.
  10. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2001
    Location:
    Mr. Adventure
    Well, I guess my interest in this is:

    3+ out of 4 - 60's spy thriller conceived while doing Gotham
    - maybe scores a point if 60's spy thriller with DC connections
    0 out of 4 - Gotham spin-off, is anyone really interested that it's "Batman's Alfred"?

    Though, to be fair, Gotham's Aflred does obviously have some skills beyond general butlering.
    I guess Pennyworth and Moneypenny would make for a good couple.
     
  11. Astra

    Astra Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Location:
    Dresden, Germany
    And there you have the perfect shipping name: Moneypennyworth!

    I hope they'll get out of the studio once in a while, but it's a good start!
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Alfred has always been one of my favorite Batman characters. Even back in the '60s TV show, Alan Napier's Alfred was a badass -- he singlehandedly defeated the Joker twice. And the comics version was established decades ago as having an intelligence background, a background that's been referenced in multiple screen adaptations from the last episode of Batman: The Animated Series ("The Lion and the Unicorn") to the Nolan movies to Beware the Batman to Gotham. Alfred having a rich and colorful past is a well-established part of his character.

    But then, these are the producers who didn't trust that a crime drama about Jim Gordon would work, chickened out, and piled on a bunch of premature Batman references. So I fear they'll do the same this time.

    And again, most viewers don't exist inside the geek bubble and don't know or care how different shows and concepts are connected to each other; they're just there for the experience of the show itself. Give them a retro spy drama about a cool British secret agent, and they'll just think it's a James Bond knockoff, and that'll be fine with them.
     
  13. Astra

    Astra Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Location:
    Dresden, Germany
    I knew Superman and Batman but that was about my knowledge of the DC universe. I watched all the movies. And I loved "Lois & Clark" because it concentrated on the relationship problems, it was never about Superman fighting bad guys. THAT's how you put a new angle onto an old story!

    What I love about both of these characters how they have to split themselves between their two lives, and how one sometimes affects the others. Being a superhero certainly isn't easy. Clark having to run away from Lois to rescue someone without being able to give a proper explanation, or Bruce still having to get out of bed even though Batman got badly beaten up the previous night.

    I tried "Smallville" in the beginning but soon found that I'm too old and not the targeted audience with all the teenage highschool drama. I hear it got more adult later on but it already had lost me then.

    I didn't know anything about Green Arrow, I only started to watch "Arrow" because it had John Barrowman. And because they promised at the beginning that they would try to keep it real. I truly loved the first season, I bought all the action figures, I still liked it in the second season but then more and more superheroes with superpowers got added and the show lost me. That was not what I had signed up for.

    That twas about the time when I started with "Gotham". I heard about it when it was new but I thought it would be teenage drama similar to "Smallville" and never even tried it. I only came to it years later when I saw the Diamond Select Toys action figures and the awesome displays they came with and thought I could use them for my other figures. But then I didn't want to buy figures without having any idea about their characters, so I started to watch and got hooked. They were in the middle of season 2 in German TV at the time and it was fun for me trying to put the names I knew from the Batman universe to the new faces. "Oh, so this is Gordon! And this is Alfred!"

    Just an insight into the thoughts / feelings of Astra, who actually isn't into comic superheroes but somehow ended up watching a lot of this stuff, for different reasons. Actors / characters that I can relate to are a big deal. I'll give the new guy a fair chance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
  14. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2001
    Location:
    Mr. Adventure
    More and more, I think shows come into their own in their second seasons and show their true stripes. Sometimes they nail it from the start but the second season if where it shakes out. Legends of Tomorrow is going into its fourth season riding the coattails of its second not its first.

    I've been looking through some old interviews with Bruno Heller before Gotham aired and he never really states that it's going to be a crime drama about Jim Gordon. He's interested in Jim Gordon because he doesn't care for superheroes, he doesn't like costumes or extraordinary abilities. From the offset he also states "We won't break the canonical truth of the Batman stories, but we'll play with issues of chronology.". I think people were expecting more like Greg Rucka's Gotham Central but I wonder if that was actually said.

    One thing that has never wavered through all the seasons of Gotham is the vision of bringing a slice of seedy 70s New York to life. If you consider Gotham to be a character, a place of that time where and the show is named after it, it has been pretty consistent in that.

    I'm not trying to convince that it's a good show (and there are a lot of counter-arguments there) but I don't think it's necessarily strayed from its principles.

    http://collider.com/gotham-interview-bruno-heller/
    https://ew.com/article/2014/05/08/gotham-interview/
    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/comic-con-gotham-ep-gordons-720242
    https://www.latimes.com/entertainme...o-heller-batman-mythology-20140720-story.html

    Where does Gotham fall between the kitschy Batman TV show and the Dark Knight films?
    If it fell anywhere, it's between those two in the sense that it pays due homage to the dystopian world of modern Batman, but it also has some of the humor and fun of the old show.

    I did give it a 3+ out of 4 as a potential 60's spy show outside of the Gotham connections.
     
  15. Kai "the spy" (Holiday Special)

    Kai "the spy" (Holiday Special) Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    I'm not even supposed to be here today.
  16. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2001
    Location:
    Mr. Adventure
    io9 describes this as Jack Bannon impersonating Michael Caine. It's interesting because it does kind of seem like more of the precursor to the Caine Alfred than the Sean Pertwee Alfred from Gotham that this is said to be a spinoff from. It seems more and more that working on Gotham was an inspiration/starting point for doing a series about Alfred but not necessarily the one from that series.
    I still think a more grouded hardboiled Equalizer type show with Sean Pertwee's Alfred set within Gotham (but away from the batfreaks) could have worked well.
     
  17. Soong-type Android

    Soong-type Android Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    A series about Bruce Wayne's butler? Reminds of when Sony were seriously considering developing an Aunt May movie. They're definitely intent on milking the Batman IP for all its worth.

    What next? A series showing how Wayne manor was constructed?
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Except that it's been established comics lore for decades that Alfred was a badass soldier and/or secret agent long before he became the Wayne butler. So it's much more plausible as a premise than an Aunt May movie. More along the lines of a movie about Peter Parker's birth parents Richard and Mary, who turned out to be CIA agents who were killed by the Red Skull.
     
  19. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2001
    Location:
    Mr. Adventure
    This continues to look interesting and still looks to be raising Caine (Michael, that is).


    Reminds me that I'd love to see the GTA series go back to London.
     
  20. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I know I was kinda meh before, but this trailer really piqued my interest. Now I'm actually disappointed that this is on Epix, which I don't get.