The wrangling over the legal rights to Watchmen just gets more and more complicated, as Fox presses its arcane claim to the movie rights to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' postmodern superhero graphic novel. The latest theory about the case: it's all about Batman, really. Rich Johnson with Lying In The Gutters cites sources who claim the whole Watchmen lawsuit is just a ploy by Fox to get the rights to release the 1960s Batman TV series on DVD. Allegedly, Fox owns the rights to the actual footage starring Adam West as the less growly version of the character, but Warner Bros. owns the copyrights to Batman and all the other characters. So Fox's Watchmen suit is aimed at brokering a Bat-deal where Warners okays DVDs of Bruce's campiest moments, in exchange for a go-ahead with Zack Snyder's "Batman can't get it up" movie. (A side note: I'm a tad embarrassed — I thought the 60s Batman show was on DVD already, or I would have mentioned it for sure in my roundup of great science fiction TV that isn't on DVD yet. Also, sorry about Misfits of Science too.) Other sources, like TV Shows On DVD, say it's not that simple — even if Fox gets Warners to agree to let Batman out of this fiendish rights trap, they still have to negotiate new contracts with every actor, propmaker and craft services worker from the original show. That's because the original 1960s contracts only covered broadcast rights. (But I'm wondering if that isn't the case with every classic show that gets released on DVD? Don't most of those shows have contracts only covering first run and syndication rights, not other formats? And yet, we get every episode of Matlock on DVD.) In any case, even the TV Shows people say it's quite likely that Batman will be the peacemaker who steps in and settles this bitter dispute between two media giants over Bruce's almost-lookalike and his dysfunctional friends. [Lying In The Gutters and TV Shows on DVD via IGN]
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