‘Batwoman’ Season 2 review: New star Javicia Leslie can’t save the same flawed show

Without offering anything away, the best should represent the unexpected lack of Rose’s Kate Kane. Rather of modifying or going back to square one, the manufacturers decided to put the batsuit on a brand-new character, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie), inserting her into the program’s current world.

Passing the cape to an African-American star contributes to the series’ trailblazing, after presenting the very first lesbian lead in a DC superhero program. However integrating a brand-new Batwoman while keeping the remainder of the program undamaged shows a tough balancing act.

During a conference call with reporters on Friday, executive producer Caroline Dries said the challenge was to integrate the Ryan character in a way that “feels organic” while maintaining the show’s other qualities.

Still, becoming Batwoman really ought to be about more than the outfit, inasmuch as the big guy himself underwent rigorous preparation before taking his vigilante act into the Gotham streets. Given the need to maintain some semblance of action while breaking in a replacement, the first two episodes basically race through those steps.

Ryan does come with a back story that includes a motivation for taking down the show’s main villain, the psychotic Alice (Rachel Skarsten). Yet that still requires rather hasty on-the-job training while dealing with the emotional fallout from Kate’s absence.

On the plus side, the novelty of a brand-new star does offer the chance of earning a second look from viewers who sampled the program and were unimpressed. Who knows, the storytelling might settle down as the season progresses.

The Batman franchise obviously remains one of DC’s crown jewels, so discarding a series associated with it isn’t a decision made lightly. Warner Bros. (like CNN, part of WarnerMedia) has become more aggressive about bringing Superman and Batman offshoots to TV, including “Supergirl” and “Superman & Lois,” which will make its debut in February.

At the very least, continuing the story creates the prospect of not leaving the program’s fans dangling. But more than anything, the second season of “Batwoman” feels like an on-the-fly salvage project because that’s easier — or perhaps less risky — than the alternatives.

“The city’s gonna need a Batwoman,” one of Kate’s cohort says early on.

Whether TV needs one could be another matter. Because even with a new caped crusader, “Batwoman,” for better or worse, essentially looks like the same old program.

“Batwoman” returns Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. on the CW. The network is part-owned by WarnerMedia.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.