The Joker Blogs

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TV

The Joker Blogs is a web-based fan series created by Scott McClure and Andrew DeVary, set in the eight-year gap between the events of The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The series centers around the Joker's actions following the events of The Dark Knight, and introduces several DC Comics characters that have never before been portrayed on screen, such as Thomas Elliot, Jeremiah Arkham, and Harleen Quinzell. It has become a huge success among fans of the Batman universe, and has led to many copycat series.

Plot

Series 1

In the aftermath of the events of The Dark Knight, the Joker has been confined to Arkham Asylum. He is ordered to attend therapy sessions with Dr. Harleen Quinzel, who is to assess whether he is faking insanity. The Joker seems to express attraction to Harleen, which she rebuffs. When the Joker breaks out of his cell one night, he murders one of Arkham's guards and leaves him in Harleen's office as a gift. He also somehow manages to leave the asylum and gruesomely murder Gotham's district attorney.

Harleen is laid off and temporarily replaced by a new therapist, Hugo Strange. However, the disastrous results of Strange's hypnotherapy session with the Joker forces Jeremiah Arkham, the asylum's director, to reinstate Harleen. The Joker soon learns that Harleen is engaged and plans to move to Metropolis after her wedding, which seems to upset him. It's revealed that the therapy protocol videos are being uploaded to YouTube, which is causing Arkham Asylum to lose funding.

The Joker orchestrates his own escape on the night of Harleen's wedding and goes on a seemingly random killing spree. After kidnapping Jeremiah Arkham and two asylum staffers, the Joker conducts a home invasion of Jeremiah's house and terrorizes Jeremiah and his wife, Lisa. The Joker tells Jeremiah to help him with some "tasks" and that his wife will be killed by a time bomb at midnight if they are not completed. The Joker abandons Lyle Bolton, one of the kidnapped staffers, in a sewer after fitting him with a tracker.

After killing Harleen's prospective brother-in-law, the Joker enlists a suicidal hobo named Ted as a cameraman and drives off to her wedding. The Joker enters the church, leaving minutes later with a bloody arm. The Joker and Ted kill several police officers in a gunfight before escaping in a squad car. Jeremiah briefly escapes but is quickly recaptured and forced to sell the asylum to a mysterious benefactor of the Joker's. The Joker allows the time bomb to go off, driving Jeremiah to despair. He then calls the police so that they can arrest him while Ted escapes.

A later wedding video shows the Joker attacking the ceremony and killing Harleen's fiancee, Guy Kopski, as the guests flee. The wedding photographer, Jack Ryder, films as the Joker tries to kiss Harleen but is confronted by Batman. Batman holds the Joker up against the wall and contemplates killing him, but is shot by Harleen. Harleen then shoots the Joker in the arm for killing Guy. Harleen leaves and the Joker turns to Batman, only to see that he has vanished.

In the wake of the crime spree, Arkham Asylum becomes privatized and is brought by Lex Luthor, the Joker's silent accomplice in the previous events. Lex visits the Joker in his holding cell, where the Joker reminds him that he now owes him a debt.

Further Evidence

Lisa Arkham is revealed to have survived the explosion, but is now comatose. With no further money to pay for her medical treatment, Jeremiah recruits Lyle Bolton and Scarecrow in a plot to kidnap Commissioner Gordon's wife in exchange for control of Arkham Asylum and Lisa's continued well-being. Meanwhile, Andrea Beaumont kills the young hedonistic gangster Alberto Falcone while Selina Kyle kidnaps Thomas Elliot and delivers him to Jeremiah. Finally, Harleen visits the Joker in solitary confinement and vows to keep him there for the rest of his life.

Series 2

Series II is told through a series of interwoven story lines, as opposed to the Joker-focused first series. Six months after the wedding, Harleen has been promoted to Chief of Staff while the Joker remains in solitary confinement; Lex Luthor, the new owner of the asylum, is running for president.

Lex shoots a campaign ad while GCN reporters Summer Gleeson and Jack Ryder try to interview him. Lex tries to be evasive of the reporters and heads into an elevator, but the two join him inside, sealing them in together. Upstairs at the Arkham board meeting, Dr. Charles Cavendish and several of the city's biggest gangsters - Roland Daggett, Miles 'Matches' Mallone, Roman Sionis and Rupert Thorne gather to discuss how to run the Asylum. They are all surprised by the arrival of Andrea Beaumont, who has come to claim her father's position on the board. As she sits down, a package is delivered to her containing an earpiece. Meanwhile, The Joker receives a visit from Ted, who brings a large cake and a spoon, the latter of which he makes disappear. As he is wheeled away by the guards at the end of visitor hours, the Joker cuts through his straight-jacket with the spoon.

Jeremiah Arkham, assisted by Lock-Up and Scarecrow, breaks into the Asylum. He contacts Andrea via her earpiece, and reveals each of the board members' roles in her father's death. Arkham explains that he is her only friend in the building, before hanging up and sending the Asylum into lock-down. He announces to the people inside that anyone who fails to leave will be killed. In the ensuing chaos, Joker escapes from his bindings and kill his guards. He then escapes to an empty locker room, and steals a handgun and a video camera from one of the lockers. He begins to record himself, referencing Schrödinger's cat, then proceeds to shoot at one of the locker doors, presumably killing a guard who was hiding inside. As the Asylum remains in panic, Harleen seeks refuge in her office, where Scarecrow ambushes her and sprays her with fear toxin.

As emergency power kicks in across the Asylum, Lex finds himself stranded in the elevator with Gleeson and Ryder. Elsewhere, the Arkham board members become agitated when they discover a knife through a portrait of Amadeus Arkham. Suddenly, the oldest board member drops dead with a knife in the back. As the chairman attempts to escape, he is suddenly dragged away by a hooded figure, who then proceeds to attack the rest of the room. When the figure sees Andrea, it suddenly stops, as a look of recognition and shock flashes across Andrea's face.

Meanwhile, Elliot wakes up alongside Jim Gordon's wife Barbara in a temporary operating theater constructed in the basement of Arkham Asylum. Arkham appears and explains that he wants Elliot to save his brain-dead wife by performing multiple transplants to replace her failing organs, and skin grafts to save her from the burns that cover her body. Elliot initially refuses, pointing out his Hippocratic oath. However, when Arkham brings him Selina Kyle to be the donor for the needed organs, Elliot maliciously then decides to go ahead with the procedure as a horrified Barbara looks on.

Cast

Episodes

Series 1 (2008-10)

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Further Evidence (2011-13)

Before the release of Series Two, it was announced that six-part mini-series was to be released to bridge the gap between the two stories together. It would also reveal background information on several episodes from Series 1, such as Meet Steve. The first episode was released on October 21st 2011, and it ended it's run on 18th February 2013, three months before the second series premiere.

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Series 2 (2013-14)

A second series was announced on 18th July 2011 via a short teaser trailer released to the series' official YouTube account. It was announced to be a ten-episode arc taking place over the course of a single day at Arkham, and in some marketing material carried the subtitle "One Bad Day", a reference to the classic graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke. The second series premiered on May 6th 2013.

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Production

At the premiere for The Dark Knight in 2008, filmmaker Scott McClure dressed as the Joker. When many of his friends noted his likeness and uncanny impression of Heath Ledger's interpretation of the character, McClure came up with the idea to produce a web series with himself as the star. After a successful pilot episode was released, he and his friend Andrew DeVary produced seven more episodes, concluding in the mid-season finale BRB.

With the show's popularity growing, the produced a further eleven episodes concluding in the season finale Home Sweet Home. By then, the series's popularity was well of the rise, and in July 2011 a second series of 10 episodes was announced, with the gap between series one and two bridged by a six-part miniseries titled Further Evidence. Further Evidence marked a departure from the found-footage style of previous episodes, instead being shot in a more cinematic style (with the exception of Pull the Plug, which was shot in a found-footage fashion). When Series 2 premiered in 2013, it continued this change of style, whilst still using the found-footage format on occasion.

Reception

The series has received universal fan acclaim, with most of the positive reception directed at McClure's acting and the love for the DC Universe's canon. Paper Droids said of the show "The Joker Blogs is a fan-made web series that capitalizes on [Heath Ledger's] portrayal and manages to, at the same time, put an original twist on the character and the ’verse... the production quality is fantastic... [it's] gloriously put-together, fantastically written, and phenomenally acted; this web-series is one you really can’t miss out on."[2] Fanboy News Network said "So what makes this series stand out....? The one thing that can make or break a web series like this is the writing. McClure and DeVary have a clear understanding that at his heart, the Joker is a horror movie character. Even in the light hearted early installments, there is a feeling of tension brought on by the character that increases as the series progresses. By the time the Joker escapes, the series has become a horror story with some comedic elements."[3]

References

External Links