(CNN)After a creatively unsuccessful first season, “Batwoman” revealed that original star Ruby Rose would be leaving, but that the show would continue without her. In the first few episodes, the contortions needed to organize the baton (or Batarang) move mostly fizzle, giving the impression that this CW drama is running on fumes.
Without giving something away, the premiere must explain Rose’s Kate Kane’s sudden absence. Rather than recasting or starting over, the producers decided to place the batsuit on a new character, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), and shoehorn her into the show’s world.
After featuring the first lesbian lead in a DC superhero program, passing the cape to an African-American star adds to the series’ trailblazing. However, adding a new Batwoman while maintaining the continuity of the show proves to be a tough balancing act.
Yet, in the same way, that the Big Guy received extensive training before bringing his vigilante act to the streets of Gotham, being Batwoman should be about more than just the costume. The first two episodes effectively rush through those measures in order to keep a semblance of action when breaking in a substitute.
Ryan does have a backstory that provides a reason for bringing down the show’s main villain, Alice, who is insane (Rachel Skarsten). However, coping with the emotional fallout from Kate’s absence necessitates some hurried on-the-job preparation.
On the positive side, the novelty of a new star could entice viewers who tried the show but weren’t impressed to give it another chance. Who knows, maybe as the season progresses, the storytelling will slow down.
At the very least, continuing the tale ensures that the show’s viewers are not left hanging. But, more than anything, the second season of “Batwoman” sounds like a hastily thrown-together rescue operation because it’s quicker — or maybe less dangerous — than the alternatives.
It’s debatable if TV needs one. Since, for better or worse, “Batwoman” feels like the same old show even with a new caped crusader.