If you aren't watching "The Cape", you should be.
I don't mean "you" universally. I mean "you" as in "you people who keep reading this blog".
The Cape is a show on NBC about a costumed figure with no special powers (other than his escape-artist training and the eponymous nifty gadget), fighting against a deranged supervillain and a gaggle of oddities in a baroque city. It is uniformly terrible. But it is also the closest thing to the Batman comics covered here at Batman Completion that I've seen in quite a while.
There are some dissimilarities in the plots, but what strikes me most about it is the same mix of tones and genres that I once referred to in Batman comics as the "Batamari", a rolling, sticky metaphorical clump of culture, images and styles that get remixed and appropriated into the comic. That's really just another way of saying that early Batman has a really, really wide range of stories it can tell and ways it can tell them, such that the same comic can do a story where Batman fights a dragon inside a book of fairytales AND a social realist/gangster tragedy about two Gothamites whose lives tread parallel paths, one good, one evil. It can encompass gangsters, the gothic, propagandistic anti-Nazi stories, the utterly silly, the murder mystery...
I see the same things in The Cape, which has so far mixed in family melodrama, childhood nostalgia, foreign assassins, mysticism, conspiracy theories, an evil circus, a costume party on a runaway train, Tom Noonan, of course superheroes, and so on. It veers wildly in tone from scene to scene and episode to episode, and you never know quite what you're going to get when you tune in.
It is terrible, mostly because something that schizophrenic is really, really hard to pull off, and the writers (and most of the actors) are not even close to being capable of succeeding at it. At its worst, the show is insipid, but at its best, it's a loopy kind of crazy that's impossible not to watch. It is, perhaps, more fun to mock afterwards (I particularly enjoy reading the AV Club's reviews). Nothing wrong with that, of course.
I don't think it's suited for today's viewers, though. Even if it were a better executed show, the concepts are just too ridiculous and too varied to hold an audience. I think these days we're used to more "niche" entertainment--you don't really get the kind of Charles Dickens, all-in-one stories these days. Invent Batman today, and it wouldn't work at all.
Anyway, the Cape's already canceled, and there will only ever be ten episodes of it, eight of which have already aired. But if you like what you've read here, I urge you to check it out before it vanishes. At the very least, play the drinking game. (That's one shot every time somebody says "the cape". I am not responsible for any alcohol poisoning that may occur.)