Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Epix's show about Batman's badass butler is proud that nobody can tell it's a comic book show

Sean Pertwee as Gotham’s take on Bruce Wayne’s blood-soaked, born killer butler Alfred Pennyworth.
Photo: Jessica Miglio (Fox)

Fox’s baby-Batman series Gotham has always had a complicated relationship with its comic book source material; from the start, the show’s more overtly cartoony (and enjoyable) elements, like Jada Pinkett Smith’s late, lamented Fish Mooney, contrasted wildly with the dour, serious crime show it seemed to have aspirations of being. Now that attitude is apparently making its way over to the show’s butler-based sort-of prequel series at Epix, too, with Pennyworth executive producer Danny Cannon noting, with apparent glee, that most of the test audiences he’s shown the series to don’t even realize it’s a DC-based show.

We had a test audience and there were only so many who knew it was a DC-related series,” Cannon told Deadline at the TCA winter press tour today. “It was incredibly positive and that’s because the characters are being drawn out.” Glossing past the question of why audiences would necessarily care about a future butler with a dark and bloody past if he didn’t end up being the Batman’s faithful servant-dad, Cannon seemed delighted at the idea no one watching the show might draw connections back to silly, frivolous things like comic books. (Please: Nobody tell this poor guy about the MCU; we don’t know if he could take it.)


The series stars The Imitation Game’s Jack Bannon as Alfred, a former SAS soldier who ends up starting a security company with uber-rich doctor (and future permanent traumatic flashback star) Thomas Wayne. The show won’t have access to Batman’s rogues gallery, but will apparently see the pair face off against “archetypal villains and classic villains of British literature,” so anybody who had “Batman’s butler shoots Professor Moriarty’s granddaughter in 1960s London” on your 2019 TV Bingo Sheet, hey, good news: You’re a winner.

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