‘Batwoman’ Is Getting IMDB And Rotten Tomato Review Bombed For Its Lesbian Lead

Forbes 1 month ago
Batwoman
Batwoman

Today in “sadly not surprising news,” in the wake of its debut this past Sunday, the newest addition to the Arrowverse, the CW’s Batwoman, is currently getting roasted by fans (“fans”) on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes after just one episode.

Batwoman currently sits at a 3.2 out of 10 and an 8% audience score on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes respectively. Here’s how that compares to the other Arrowverse shows:

The Flash – 7.8/72%

Arrow – 7.5/69%

Legends of Tomorrow – 6.8/71%

Supergirl – 6.4/54%

You can say the order of those may be subjective, but they’re all hovering in the same range. Not so with Batwoman, which has Ruby Rose playing Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s cousin who has “a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind.” Uh oh. She’s also a lesbian (as Kate Kane is in the comics), and the pilot includes a storyline about her ex-love interest who decided to stay in PMC training despite anti-gay persecution, while Kane left and refused to bow to the pressure.

You can argue that “well Batwoman is just bad” as an explanation for these low scores, but I mean, after watching the pilot, it’s certainly not significantly worse than any pilot we’ve seen out of the Arrowverse so far, since you kind of know what you’re getting with CW superhero shows at this point. The action is fine, Rose is good as Kane, and there’s nothing to warrant these rock bottom audience scores unless…

This is a review bombing campaign to some extent, something that sites like Rotten Tomatoes said they were going to push back against for at least movies (this also happened to Captain Marvel for similar, social justice-y reasons), but that does not seem to have taken effect for TV shows.

Batwoman
Batwoman

Here are some quotes among the “most helpful” reviews of Batwoman on IMDB:

“The "hero" with whom the viewer is supposed to identify is a short-haired, angry and overbearing biker lesbian. In short, the writers wrote her to be the most unlikable stereotype one could think of.”

“This show was made by and for the progressive lunatic fringe and there's too few of them to pay for such shows. This is also proof that Hollywood is in a bubble outside reality and that is sad for the population at large.”

And Rotten Tomatoes:

“I love strong and empowered women characters, but not when they stop every 10 seconds to remind me how strong and empowered they are, oh, and that they're also a woman. We don't need politics in TV. We NEED good stories and good writing.”

“A horrible, sexist, SJW mess. Doesn't even deserve the half star that I'm being forced to give it right now.”

On IMDB you can only see usernames, but on Rotten Tomatoes they at least have first names listed for fan reviews, and sometimes photos. Of the first 100 reviews I counted, 95 appear to be written by men. Two of the five women gave it a positive score, the only two positive scores I saw out of all 100. I could probably keep going, but I’m guessing the ratio would remain roughly the same.

I am definitely not saying that Batwoman is some masterpiece, but it does not take the World’s Greatest Detective to figure out what’s happening here, even if many of the negative reviews don’t reference sexuality or politics. Batwoman is certainly no worse in the script and action department than the early episodes of these other Arrowverse series, and yet I never saw any of them lambasted to this degree.

The CW does have other shows with LGBTQ characters. It took a few seasons, but Sara Lance is now leading Legends of Tomorrow, where she’s bisexual and has been in a relationship with a woman for two seasons now. Supergirl eventually revealed Kara’s sister to be gay. But Batwoman is starting out with the concept front and center for its lead, not just as a part of her identity, but also a key component in her backstory and her relationship with many of the main characters.

I expect once the trolls dissipate this score will rise in time. The CW has its fanbase and Batwoman looks to be a perfectly fine addition to it, but we’ll have to see what future episodes bring. But it’s clear what’s happening with these initial fan reviews, and as ever, it’s very gross.


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