If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Welcome to (what I hope to be) a new series of blogs in which I highlight something specifically created for the web that I wish to spread to everyone. Now, mind you, I'm not trying to self promote anything (believe me, I'm not talented enough to create this kind of stuff), nor am I trying to diverge traffic from the lovely Spill.com. I'm just trying to give something a chance at gaining fans. Today's subject is the fan film creation known as The Joker Blogs:
Now I know what some of you are thinking; "A fan film project? About Batman characters? Please, Tommy! The only one worth a damn was Batman: Dead End and you know it." Well, you're wrong. Suck it. This series takes place in the same universe as Christopher Nolan's Batman films and follows The Joker after he is put in Arkham Asylum for the crimes he perpetrated in Dark Knight. The gimmick is that the series is filmed on a hand held camera as part of taped therapy sessions The Joker has with his psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel (wink wink), though Joker will often take the camera to film depraved antics of his own.
The idea of a web series focusing on the events following The Dark Knight version of The Joker's incarceration is a bit groan inducing and could go oh so potentially wrong; the production is likely to be poor, the writing can't possibly hold up to Nolan's and, above all, it is unthinkable that anyone can match up the powerhouse performance of the late Heath Ledger. Well The Joker Blogs manages to throw those theories out the window. The production value works for its first season given limited budget constraints and builds up during its second season to the point where you wonder how the hell they managed to put some much into it. The writing isn't necessarily the brilliant puzzle construction building of Nolan's films, but it is crisp and fleshes out its plots and themes over a short amount of time per episode as well as over a season. The writing also manages to cram in a lot more character based humor which I felt was slightly lacking in Nolan's films (though that is an extremely minor complaint about them) and has plenty of mythology gags from the comics, animated series, Nolanverse, etc, to keep true fans happy while not distracting from the story.
Then comes The Joker. Being that the premise of the show is in-universe, no one is ever credited, including the man behind the clown make-up. This helps to make the show feel more authentic and helps to divorce people from the fact that Ledger isn't behind the make up. Whoever the guy is, he does a fantastic job. He has the look and mannerisms down pat and his voice (while a bit too nasal) drives home his mimicry. Yet, his performance isn't just simple copying from Heath. He embodies The Joker persona quite well and also makes it his own as the series progresses. Other performances in the show are also quite well done, especially from the woman who plays Harleen.
The series has gone through its first two seasons and the third is getting ready to start. I'd strongly recommend watching all of the episodes, but if you want a highlight reel, here are links to what I consider to be some of the series' finest episodes;Episode 17