So I bought Season One of the 1966 Batman TV series, and I’ve been gleefully reliving my childhood binge-watching a show I haven’t seen in a couple of decades. The first season was brilliant. I’ve read the producers or the network believed it was a bit too dark and lightened it up for Season Two which, I believe, cost them their adult audience by pandering to the kids and thereby killed the show.
Season Three was the flailing of a dying man, even sillier than Season Two, the network geniuses not understanding why Season One was such a hit: its pitch-perfect balance between the absurd and the (preadolescent) entertaining captured in perfect tone in the pilot, “Hey Riddle Diddle.” That show gave me nightmares as a kid when the Riddler set the Batmobile on fire and then threatened Robin with a scalpel and a head vise, while being laugh-out-loud funny when Batman enters a discotech, preferring to stand at the bar because, “I wouldn’t want to attract undue attention.”
I’m only now really appreciating how brilliant the show was, and how either the network or the studio killed their own golden goose by not truly understanding how delicate the formula was or how vitally important the balance was to maintain. Other things I’ve discovered: