Batwoman Deserved Better

Leigh Klein ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Well, it’s March, and we all know what that means: the sun’s coming back, birds are singing, and it’s the anniversary of the final episodes of Batwoman. I’m sure you’re as distraught as I am. 

Batwoman ran on everyone’s favorite CW network for three seasons between October 2019 and March 2022, before getting officially canceled on April 29th of that year. I did not have to look up that date, I have it memorized. It was a hard day. 

The CW had a rough time two years ago, just before their acquisition by Nexstar Media Group, canceling ten shows in just a few weeks. Other notables to get the ax were DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Legacies, and newcomer 4400 — but I’m not here for them. 

I am here as a person who likes Batwoman a reasonable amount; a person who maybe has one (or three) Batwoman posters on their bedroom wall. Two years after cancelation, this is still a show I love very much, and I’m here to avenge it.

We did not give Batwoman its dues. I’ll walk that statement back just a bit. 

At its premiere, the titular character of Batwoman meant Kate Kane, played by Ruby Rose. The series was a highly anticipated addition to the CW’s lineup of DC comics adaptations, joining shows like The Flash and Supergirl in their established expanded universe. Rose played Kate Kane in the “Elseworlds” crossover event, and a full series order followed. Season one was well received, for a CW show, and was renewed for a second before the first had finished airing.

What wasn’t renewed was Ruby Rose’s contract. The reasons are disputed and largely irrelevant for this piece, but Rose left the series in May 2020, leaving the future of the show up in the air. Who would be Batwoman? Would they recast Kate Kane? Should they scrap the series altogether?

To put it bluntly, Kate Kane is one of comic history’s most famous lesbians. Her legacy is important to fans and to comic culture as a whole. The CW made sure to specifically look for a lesbian actress when they were casting her, and people were excited to see how Rose would take on the character. Although the network said they would search for another queer actress to play Batwoman, no one was sure if they would handle the iconic character with respect.

They didn’t scrap the series, clearly. Instead, they cast Javicia Leslie as an entirely new character, Ryan Wilder, to become the next Batwoman. The news broke in July 2020 to extremely mixed responses. Some said they felt it prevented the awkwardness of a character recast, others felt it would spoil the Batwoman legacy and ruin the show.

This is the part where this article becomes a full-on opinion piece, because Leslie as Ryan Wilder ended up saving the show. Critical reception soared, and reviews praised her performance every single week while season two was airing. Despite the late introduction, her chemistry with the rest of the cast was unbelievable and the series found some of its most dedicated fans.

With Leslie’s casting, Batwoman became even more culturally important. A Black queer actress leading a prime time superhero series was so refreshing and genuinely just awesome to watch. Even when it fell victim to classic CW pitfalls — random zombie episode, cheap special effects, really bad wigs — it was just plain fun. I looked forward to it every week, and I still miss it.

So now, two years later, I still sit here and wonder: why were people so mean about it? 

Okay, I know why. Bitter Arrow fans on YouTube hated that the new Arrowverse show was about queer people, and they hated it even more when it was about Black queer people. But how did we let them get away with that? 

Every day on the internet, I see people wishing for the return of full seasons of television, and characters whose stories aren’t only about queerness, and unapologetically silly TV. Batwoman has it all! 

This was a show that received a disproportionate amount of negativity compared to its peers — seriously, when was The Flash’s last good episode? — and honestly just deserved better. Nothing could’ve saved it from cancelation with the CW’s whole slate on the chopping block but it should have been appreciated while we still had it. 

This March, do me a favor: watch Batwoman. I won’t judge you if you skip season one and go right to the season two premiere. I promise you won’t miss much. Long live the CW.

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