Aussie comedy 'The Justice Lease' brings Batman v Superman to the suburbs

A new Aussie YouTube comedy series asks who would really win in a fight if Superman and Batman lived in a sharehouse in the suburbs. Welcome to "the dorm of justice."

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
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Forget the Batcave. Batman is living in a shared house in "The Justice Lease."

Severe Comedy

Nobody ever asked Superman whether he wanted to share a screen with Batman.

When it hit cinemas this week, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" was (rightly or wrongly) billed as one of the biggest superhero films of 2016. But back in 2013, after the movie was first announced, Superman wasn't too happy about sharing a movie franchise with the brooding bat.

That's the premise behind "The Justice Lease," a new YouTube comedy series from Australian outfit Severe Comedy.

"The Justice Lease" reimagines the cartoon heroes of the big screen as everyday guys, living in a share house in the suburbs. Welcome to "The Dorm of Justice" -- Superman has ironing to do, Batman has a drinking problem, and Aquaman has put on a bit of weight, now that he's on land and he's stuck without his super powers.

It's the second season of "The Justice Lease" to come from creators Jeremy Brull (who also directs) and Paul Ayre, after producing the first season on budget of AU$10,000 "and about $80,000 of favours." While the first season followed Superman (played by Ayre) around the launch of "Man of Steel" (with YouTube episodes released to tie in with the film's real-world premiere), Season 2 tracks Superman's struggles as Batman steals his thunder once again.

As series director, Brull says his "crippling obsession over superheroes" kicked off the first season, but a big win at the Viewster Online Film Festival helped the team develop the concept further for Season 2.

"This time, our whole season is 75 minutes long -- so it's practically a feature film," he said. "With the AU$70,000 we won from the Viewster Festival in 2014, we were able to really increase the scope of the series and tell a much bigger story that really put our characters through the ringer!"

There's a raft of new characters, with Lois Lane, Poison Ivy, Green Lantern and Senior Constable Gordon all popping up, but the old Batman/Superman rival is still the heart of the show.

"When 'Batman v Superman' was announced back in 2013, to us that was hilarious," says Brull. "We'd just spent the entire first series following Superman before the release of 'Man of Steel' -- his one shot at getting popular again...Then, one month later, Superman finds out that Batman is starring in the 'Man of Steel' sequel -- now titled 'Batman v Superman'. Bummer."

While Brull says creating a superhero series on a tight budget has been "exhausting," it has had its benefits.

"Our show's comedy comes from the fact that the real life versions of Superman and Batman are quite underwhelming compared to their movie counterparts -- so that takes a lot of pressure off us."

And as for which team he's on in the Superman v Batman debate, Brull is diplomatic.

"Actually, I'm more of a Daredevil guy right now."

Disclosure: This reporter is acquainted with the creators of "The Justice Lease."

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