Op-Ed: Is It Really 'Battle Royale' Without The Violence?

So last week we told you about how the CW wants to bring the ultra-violent Japanese cult classic "Battle Royale" to the small-screen. Which is nuts, by the way.

During TCA 2012, CW president Mark Pedowitz answered some questions about how the teen-skewing network could approach this in a bit from a write-up on The Hollywood Reporter:

Asked specifically if the network would put a series on the air about high school students killing one another amid a media landscape in which violence on TV and in film is being examined in the wake of the deadly shootings in Colorado at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, Pedowitz was candid.

"No we're not going to go in that direction," he said. "We're going to wait to see what happens and how things develop."

So does that mean the CW will approach the series from a non-violent point-of-view? If CW follows through, are we going to get a "Battle Royale" TV show that's about a group of pretty teens in the setting of a deadly competition that smoulder and kiss and do lots of things that don't involve bloody, bloody death?

This whole thing reeks of CW just wanting to make a "Hunger Games" TV show without actually having the license to "The Hunger Games" so rather than create an Asylum-esque rip-off of "The Hunger Games" it's just nabbing a license with a similar concept and name recognition. So it's a win-win. Now the CW can say, "Hey we just totally love 'Battle Royale' and are totally just mining this rich universe for wonderful stories while replacing its all Japanese cast with totally not Japanese actors. That's cool, right? That's edgy, right? What's 'The Last Airbender?' Never heard of it."

Maybe I'm jumping the gun in my criticism of this particular bit of insanity. Especially when we read quotes like "No we're not going to go in that direction" when asked about the title's violent content. Has Pedowitz seen the movie? Has he read Koushun Takumi's novel? Has he seen this image:

Violence is absolutely integral to all that is "Battle Royale." It's a about high school students who fight to the death. TO THE DEATH. Kids kill kids in "Battle Royale." If you're going to produce a series called "Battle Royale" and it doesn't feature kids killing kids in violent, horrible ways, then please kind sir...do not call your show "Battle Royale."

Now don't get me wrong, a "Battle Royale" TV series can work. Hell, it can be great. But it's gotta be violent. It's gotta be dangerous. It's gotta be controversial. Kids gotta kill kids. HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax...even AMC or FX could probably do right by "Battle Royale." Probably. But the best thing to do, I think...is leave it alone. It's a great movie. It's already got a clunker of a sequel. We don't need to revisit. Let's just watch our Blu-rays and be done with it.

We'll all be happier that way.

What do you guys think? Can a "Battle Royale" TV series work? Is the CW the right place for it? Let us know in the comments!

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