Is A Series Focusing On Arkham Asylum A Good Idea?

So, Gotham PD is canceled for the time being. In place of that HBO Max exclusive is a reported series that focuses on Arkham Asylum, and considering the prominence of the DC landmark, it’s shocking that only video games have used Arkham Asylum as a catalyst for the material. There’s no word what the show will focus on; Will it be about the patients? Given that Gotham’s finest citizens reside within these walls, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the focus were on these villains. In theory, a series that showcases Arkham Asylum is a great idea. Just how the hell can this one place contain DC’s most crazed villains? Naturally, the show will contain DC’s signature villains, but it could also be a detriment to the series as well.

Remember Gotham? The show is about Jim Gordon and how it was supposed to document the detective’s world through the corrupt underbelly that plagued the city way before Bruce Wayne turned into Batman. That series turned into a hot mess that tried to cram as many villains as it could. Heck, it’s surprising that Two-Face didn’t show up as well. The problem wasn’t the fact that it became a series focused on the villains, but that it was so enamored with the lore of DC’s world that it got lost within it. It stopped becoming Jim Gordon’s story, and though he remained the protagonist within the show, Gordon’s journey was based on whatever villain (or villains) was ruling that season. That’s the concern about Arkham Asylum in that it may get lost in the lore of its comic book characters by cramming too much into the series. Obviously, you can’t have an Arkham Asylum spin-off without some of the infamous DC names on the roster, but it would be great if the focus wasn’t specifically on the bad guys themselves. We already know the story of Joker, Riddler, or even Harley Quinn. Now, the focus on how these bad guys survive the prison/mental institution can be fascinating.

What happens when you strip Riddler or Joker of what made them infamous names? Perhaps the Asylum tries to change these corrupt minds into the type of citizens that can actually live in the world outside? However, given the corrupt nature of Gotham City, the officials would likely make their methods cruel and unsanctioned. The show will still have the famed villains, but it doesn’t lose sight of what the premise is. We don’t need to see Joker trying to come up with plans of taking over Gotham City again, or Riddler going around the hospital leaving odd riddles for his sanity and happiness. We should get to the human side of these characters that allows us to go in depth about what happens to these lunatics once they step inside of the asylum. We can also focus on the workers who have to deal with these sorts of people. They can’t be ordinary themselves, after all, this is the place that houses the most corrupt and dangerous criminals on the planet. An Arkham Asylum series will be great if it knows what it is and never strays away from that notion. If Arkham ends up being a villain free-for-all, then even though it would be a predictable route, the show can still tell great shows as long as it’s confident in its direction.

Admittedly, this could be a great vehicle for Harley Quinn, as this will showcase a different side of her character that isn’t given much focus. Following her path as a psychiatrist would give a greater insight on the being itself, which is what’s been sorely lacking with Quinn. The movies love to focus on the crazy and villainess side of the character that they forgot to slow down and focus on the intelligent doctor who eventually makes the turn to evil thanks to the one and only Joker. Arkham Asylum series is just a matter of the writers containing it to be something other than another superhero show. It needs to stand out in the way that WandaVision or Doom Patrol did. Arkham Asylum doesn’t have to go too crazy or out of the box to impress audiences, but it simply can’t rest on its laurels because it’s a Batman spin-off. The focus on Arkham Asylum is a better idea than what was original pitched with the Gotham PD series; however, if this show goes off the rails like the original Gotham series, then it’ll become the latest missed opportunity in the DC canon.

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