TV review: Pennyworth
It was probably when a felon's intestines cascaded and splattered onto the floor, that I had to wonder if such a scene was really necessary in a crime drama about Batman's titular butler.
Pennyworth is an alternative history of how young ex-British SAS soldier Alfred Pennyworth went from bouncer to looking after that moody orphan with the flying rodent obsession in stately Wayne Manor.
There are a few issues with this, chiefly the highly-repeated mantra of most DC Comics-based products - "grim and gritty".
Effective in Christopher Nolan's excellent Batman trilogy, but now too often an excuse for an excess in distasteful darkness.
Jack Bannon plays Alfred, making his way in an alternative, yet-to-swing 60s London while getting mixed up with secret societies and international security concerns.
There is also the issue inherent to all prequel stories, from Smallville to Gotham - the constriction to the story. Characters have set destinations, and in this case, Alfred will take up Thomas Wayne's (Ben Aldridge) offer to head to the US.
Without mystery to the conclusion, it can lead to us wanting to skip to the end.
The style cribs from early Bond and classic 60s UK shows like The Avengers and The Prisoner, where behind every quaint village and stately home lie elaborate shenanigans - although here, there's a more fascistic bent.
Similar to Todd Phillips' Joker, Pennyworth feels like an unrelated concept wrapped in DC Comics material to Trojan-horse its way into existence.
What remains to be seen is how much future referencing will be done.
As a standalone series, there is the potential to really upset the Bat cart.
Could Paloma Faith's psychotic henchwoman Bet Sykes be the Joker's mum?
Could this Alfred turn out to be Bruce Wayne's real dad? If this does turn out to be true, it shows how obviously it was signposted in the first few episodes.
Pennyworth is definitely not one to sit the kids in front of, but for a mature audience, it is entertaining in its own right.
Yet, for something based on Batman, it still begs the question: Why so serious?
Warner TV (StarHub Ch 515/Singtel Ch 306), Mondays at 9pm
Find something to munch on GrabFood while you watch Pennyworth