Batman is one of the greatest superheroes of all time, and easily one of the most iconic. The adventures of The Dark Knight have spanned comics, movies, video games and more. However, aside from the anime series and the Batman series of 66, the Caped Crusader didn’t see much of a live television presence.
With the rise of streaming services; specifically HBO Max, which controls most things DC, it’s high time fans saw a live-action Batman outside of the movies. Batman has such a rich mythology with so many great stories and characters that the possibilities are endless for limited series adaptations.
ten Batman: Christmas
Batman: Christmas is a unique graphic novel. It is an adaptation of the famous tale by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, featuring Batman and DC characters. The story’s narrator is Bob Cratchit, who is reimagined as the Joker’s henchman. He usually refers to Batman as “Scrooge” and the classic Ghosts of Christmas roles are filled by Catwoman, Superman and the Joker respectively.
The story is unique and has a very contained story. It would work great as a kind of holiday special for HBO Max, giving fans a Batman story while incorporating other famous DC characters into a timeless Christmas tale everyone knows the story of.
9 Batman: Year One
Various Batman films have incorporated elements of Batman: Year One, but why not make a direct adaptation of the famous origin story? After Bruce in his first year as Batman, he makes his presence known in Gotham City and forges his relationship with Detective Jim Gordon.
What would make a direct adaptation great is if Jim Gordon could focus on the limited series; something that could never happen in a two or three hour movie. Gordon has a lot of great moments in the story, and he also dives into how an honest cop deals with seedy corruption within the Gotham City Police Department.
8 Batman: The Long Halloween
Another famous Batman story that elements were taken from, it would be great to see a direct adaptation of The Long Halloween in limited series. After Batman in his second year, he grapples with a serial killer nicknamed “The Holiday Killer” who murders people once a month during the holidays. The story also incorporates many galleries of Batman rogues in minor roles.
The story was adapted into an animated film, albeit with minor and major changes from the source material. Another story contained over the course of a year, with each episode of a limited series to be a month or a season long.
7 Batman: No Man’s Land
After a devastating earthquake, the US government evacuates most of Gotham City and considers the area “No Man’s Land”. This leaves Batman tasked with fighting nearly every one of his famous enemies that wreaks havoc on the nearly abandoned city.
The dark knight rises and The Batman drawn from elements of Batman: No Man’s Land, but they were specifically tailored to the stories and styles of their films. A straight-forward adaptation could incorporate many more villains and be more faithful to the source material, spanning roughly eight episodes from Earthquake to Batman finally reclaiming Gotham City.
6 Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Land
Batman is called to Arkham Asylum to quell a riot sparked by the Joker and once again confronts many of his famous foes. Throughout the story, Batman delves deeper into the mystery of Amadeus Arkham; the asylum’s founder, and a supernatural entity haunting the asylum.
What’s great about this story is that it’s a psychological mystery thriller that would give viewers a better understanding of the inner workings of Arkham Asylum. It would be a great horror element in the traditional Batman story, giving viewers scares that wouldn’t normally be found in Batman movies.
5 Batman: The Three Jokers
In Batman: Three Jokers, Batman follows a lead that gives the possibility that his longtime adversary is three different people. With the help of Batgirl and Red Hood, it is revealed that the Joker is actually three different people.
What would set this story apart as a limited series is how the story is compared to traditional Batman stories. Not only that, but how great would it be to have three different actors portraying the Joker at once and interacting with each other? Having one Joker is fine, but three would be on a whole new level of greatness if done correctly.
4 Batman: Arkham City
The second part of Batman: Arkham The video game series follows Batman as he uncovers the mystery of Arkham City, a super-prison located in Gotham City ruled by Hugo Strange. Batman fights a multi-pronged battle with Strange, Ra’s Al Ghul, and the Joker.
Who says a limited series has to be based on a comic or a graphic novel? the Batman: Arkham is critically acclaimed, and this episode was the best of the series. With its ever-evolving mystery surrounding Arkham City; containing nearly all of Batman’s rogues gallery and his phenomenal ending, it has top-notch limited-series potential.
3 Gotham by gaslight
Gotham by gaslight takes Batman where fans have never seen him before: the 1800s. Bruce makes his Batman debut and tackles the gruesome case of Jack the Ripper terrorizing Gotham City.
A limited series on this story would stand out because it happened almost one hundred and fifty years ago. Since most Batman adaptations have taken place in the present or the future, it would be a breath of creative fresh air to see Batman in a different setting. And maybe a direct adaptation wouldn’t make as many changes to the source material as the anime version.
2 Batman: The Killing Joke
In one of the most famous Batman/Joker stories of all time, Batman plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Joker as he tries to drive Jim Gordon crazy by having “a bad day.” The Joker’s origin story also plays out through flashbacks.
Any Batman fan would know this story, and seeing it adapted as a limited series would make fans happy. While there was an animated version, a brand new thirty-minute prologue was added and heavily criticized. Sticking with the source material, the episodes could be split up to the present day with Batman trying to save Gordon from the Joker and the past with the Joker’s origin and descent into madness.
1 Batman: Knightfall
Batman: Knightfall follows the Dark Knight for six months as he comes up against a formidable new adversary in Bane. When Bane breaks Batman’s back, he appoints Jean-Paul Valley as his successor until he is healed. However, Valley is extremely violent and unstable, forcing Bruce to return to his role as Batman.
While The dark knight rises adapted part of this story, a limited series based on this comic strip would introduce the general public to the character of Jean-Paul Vallée. It would also show the cost of choosing the wrong successor as Batman, something that hasn’t been addressed very often; if ever, in the live-action adaptations of Batman.
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