Adam West reveals Batman's biggest flaws

Time, it seems, was the greatest villain of all.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

Production on any show is typically wrought with scheduling conflicts, especially when big, recognizable stars are onboard. Deadlines must be met, with the threat of budgetary concerns looming above every decision. People have other projects lined up they need to move on to. The network expects a certain amount of episodes on a certain date. Most times, they've already sold the advertising space for these new shows. 

But, lots of things get complicated on the way to the premiere. In Adam West's 1994 autobiography, Back to the Batcave, he explained all the ways Batman could've been better if there was only more time.

"Only a short break separated the completion of our promotional efforts from the start of the second season," West wrote, presumably from beneath a years-old Batman cowl.

"Frankly, we didn't leave ourselves enough time to hash out where we were going to go with the show in our sophomore year; as a result, it wasn't what it should have been. The villains were aimed at holding on to older demographics, the product-buying public that sponsors wanted to reach, and the plots became formulaic so we'd be able to give younger viewers familiar thrills. Both were wrongheaded moves, I think."

The trouble didn't stop there. West goes on to describe what he felt were very underwhelming villain characters. He praises Art Carney as a great performer but admits that the Archer character is weak. He also threw some shade at Ma Parker and Clock King.

"The third season was even worse," West continued, "a generally very unhappy time for me."

"To begin with, we were cut back to one night a week, with a cliffhanger usually coming about halfway into each half-hour episode, which always felt terribly contrived, or at the end of a show that would be continued the following week. Though that meant half as much work for cast and crew, the loss of one night took something important away from us, and it took some of the wind from my sails."

Specifically, West noted that the third season scripts "lacked the wit and sparkle" of the earlier episodes. Again, though, West felt that the villains were partially to blame, as characters like Louie the Lilac and Lord Phogg failed to register the same impact as A-tier baddies like The Joker and The Riddler. 

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41 Comments

grogan81 19 days ago
I loved the show but a lot of the villains became super cheesy and just plain bad. And as it has been stated, why take Julie Newmar out of the Catwoman suit? She was sooo sexy. No offense Eartha Kitt.
Jimtypes 20 days ago
I think 2 nights a week would wipe out the uniqueness of any series. Too much of a thing, good or bad leads to burn out for an audience.
THOMASTERRYJR 21 days ago
Adam West, Burt Ward, and Yvonne Craig have the inside information on why and how the Batman series did not have a fourth season. I believe another reason why the series flamed out so quickly was the lack of budget which was given to the producers to create a decent episode of "Batman". If you don't show the investment in the series with the production sets, guest stars, wardrobe, writers, you won't put out a quality television episode or series. One has to wonder if the ABC executives had not given the OK to dismantle the Batcave after they had cancelled the series, NBC was willing to pick-up the "Batman" series. Maybe NBC would have given the "Batman" producers more money to produce a higher quality product and the series would have been on-the-air for an extra two or three years.
leslarkin 21 days ago
Does anyone remember the episode that Batman used a sound generator that put out "12,000 dB above high C" to discourage an attack by a tiger? Note that high C is a frequency, and dB is a unit of power, therefore can't be added. And according to my math, 12,000 dB is enough to wipe out our entire solar system. The Sun puts out about 3.86x10^26 Watts. 12,000 dB, using a reference value of 0.001 Watts, is 1.0x10^1197 Watts. That makes it 2.59x10^1170 times more powerful than the Sun! The only place he could keep batteries that large is in his awesome utility belt! Where else?!?!
MichaelPowers 21 days ago
I don't know. Even if the scripts had been able to maintain the quality of the first season of the show into the other seasons, perhaps the series was always going to be a red hot fad that would rapidly burn out.
George58 21 days ago
Batman TV series biggest flaw was replacing Julie Newmar as Catwoman. No one, and I mean NO ONE could take her place or look as great as she was in that costume.
kevopilis 21 days ago
Interesting. As a male fan of skin tight onesies, my fav villain is Catwoman.
One of my favorite episodes is in season 3, the one with the mice, silly, but,
still. I always think about how much fun the actors had, even the Simpsons ''do a couple Batman
shout outs.
PJM 21 days ago
The bad guys are the most important character is any superhero movie or show. I they are not cast correctly, its a bust.
PirateRadio 21 days ago
Clock King, the Archer and Lord Phogg were the worst villains in my opinion.(I'm sure there were others) John Astin was a great Gomez but a
horrible Riddler. And if we're talking Catwoman, no one could hold a candle to Julie Newmar.
Adam West was spot on with his assessment.
leslarkin 21 days ago
The Batman TV series was awesome! It was an excellent pairing of drama and comedy. And adding Batgirl provided something that every man can appreciate, and occasionally dream about. I still watch it every weekend.
JHP leslarkin 21 days ago
me-tv -2
atibamanii 21 days ago
Gheez, no mention of Cat Woman and Ertha Kitt? Really, Adam?
ellipsekd atibamanii 21 days ago
I, for one, preferred Ertha Kitt as Catwoman. She seemed purrrfect in the role.
Lantern ellipsekd 19 days ago
Agreed. I think Eartha Kitt was a real feline masquerading as an actress/singer.
trogg888 21 days ago
I started and there was never a comic that was corn ball like the series.im glad I was still young enough to appreciate any superhero series.there was never a sense of menace in any of the villains and Batman didn't look like he could punch his way out of a paper bag,but still I liked it and still watch it on me especially if julis neumar is on
Coldnorth trogg888 21 days ago
My favorite thing of the show was when they were supposed to be walking up a wall. More humor than bad guys in original
atibamanii trogg888 21 days ago
Certainly didn't prepare me for things like The Dark Knight! I loved and miss the campy humor and fun of the tv series. Everything's got to be violence or maladjusted characters now. I could use a good "POW!" and "KABOOM" once in awhile. (-:
daleuhlmann 21 days ago
I totally agree with the late, great Adam West that the show's decline began during the second season, in which many of the episodes became TOO campy for its own good, with often very contrived humor. One online observer once commented that the satire was more clever and subtle, so that viewers were supposed to laugh "WITH the show," while, starting with the second season, they were supposed to laugh "AT the show." Frank Gorshin's absence as the Riddler during the entire sophomore sesaon due to a salary dispute with cheapskate Greenway Productions didn't help. In addition to the other third-season problems commenters have mentioned, the show's budget was drastically cut. In fact, the author of THE BATMAN BOOK felt that the sets often looked as if they had been borrowed from a local high school production.
djfone 21 days ago
"Batman" was a meteor, a cultural comet that burned white hot at the start, then burned out just as quickly. 13 years later on the same network, "Twin Peaks" did the same. Adam West really pulled his punches in describing the weakness of the Phinneas Phogg character, since Yvonne Craig described guest (former) star Rudy Vallee as a nasty, foul human being who was a gigantic PITA to the cast & crew.
tootsieg 22 days ago
There is a time and place for everything.
Adam West is right. The show ran out of time.
JHP 22 days ago
Adam you were the best Batman ever but like life - it gets old and before you know it
Rick 22 days ago
I'm sure Adam West didn't want to throw shade, and was still being diplomatic in "Back to the Batcave," so I'll say it:

Batgirl was awful. She was the shark-jumping event for Batman.
JHP Rick 22 days ago
it was in time of the women's equal right's movement - shows in the late 60's and 70 dripped of that mantra
Coldnorth JHP 21 days ago
I’ve never had a comment I made deleted before I one I sent to you. If it was disrespectful to someone I am truly sorry
JHP Coldnorth 21 days ago
its all ok :)

back in the day; women's rights / lib were all the rage - now it is more nebulous in watching tv's ads
BrittReid 23 days ago
Batman was dead on. The third season was awful, and after The Riddler, Catwoman Julie and The Joker, nobody could compare. King Tut, Egghead and Falseface were good. The other bad guys lame.
JHP BrittReid 22 days ago
l think the peanut butter got spread on a little too thin - it happens
Coldnorth JHP 22 days ago
I love peanut butter on a hamburger bun warmed up in a toaster oven. Geeezzzzzzzze now I’m hungry, and it 1:30 am.. lol
JHP Coldnorth 17 days ago
ahhh try some Nestle's chips after you pull it out of the toaster oven:) - and your peanut butter has to be chunky:)
cperrynaples 23 days ago
Adam was right! Clearly both the Puzzler & the Bookworm were pale copies of Riddler & Joker!
Stoney cperrynaples 23 days ago
Bookworm was ok, if a bit forgettable. The Puzzler was a joke.
Coldnorth cperrynaples 21 days ago
I liked the original bad guys. Joker, riddler and penguin
Jon Stoney 21 days ago
I'm pretty sure the Puzzler was brought in because Frank Gorshin was again unavailable (or unwilling) to play the Riddler. The script just had the villain's name changed.
Stoney Jon 20 days ago
I think that is correct. I read somewhere it was a contract dispute.
Stoney 23 days ago
On the other hand, King Tut and Egghead were created specifically for the TV series, and they were very well done.
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