For those of us who are suffering from post-Nolan withdrawal of the caped crusader there is not a lot of information that is currently being divulged to sate our needs. The interest level of Batman would, in my opinion, exceed that of other heroes (example: Superman). With that in mind, I began to wonder what a series like Smallville would look like, but without being a Smallville. Not only that, but Bruce Wayne didn't spend his teenage years in a high school or corn-fed community. So, if there was going to be a series that could live along side (albeit separate in story) it would have to follow a certain path. Ladies and gentlemen I give you my idea for a Batman live action series entitled "The Path to the Bat," or "Becoming Batman," or "Wayne," or "The Wander Years" (starring Fred Savage).
The series would start out with Bruce on a boat. There is no need to give an entire episode to his origin, as I don't think there are too many people who are unfamiliar with the catalyst moment in young Bruce's life. There can be a quick flashback to a gun going off when something heavy hits the deck of the ship, or something along those lines, but there is no need to slow down the development or direction of the series by doing this. For a good example look at the new Spider-Man film with Andrew Garfield. Origin stories are just played out.
So where would it start? The first episode would have to focus on how inexperienced and angry Bruce is about the injustice done to his family. He would disembark somewhere in France, and upon seeing some thieves or other criminal sorts he would attempt to intervene. His furor and anger towards the criminal element would overpower any sense of self preservation, and he would get beaten, badly. Because of this he would pop up on the radar of Henri Ducard. Not the man we know as the former leader of the League of Shadows, but as the manhunting French detective that would teach Bruce about forensics and the art of deduction.
Here he will not only gain invaluable skills needed to become the world's greatest detective, but he will also learn about the restrictions and red tape involved while trying to stop illegal activities through the proper channels. Eventually, it will be his unsanctioned involvement with some of Ducard's cases that will force him to leave to save his mentor's reputation. Or Henri could be killed while trying to solve a major case (think along the lines of a Sherlock episode), and Bruce must flee after taking matters into his own hands.
None of this happens over one episode either.
Then Bruce will travel to any of the other areas that would lend him skills and abilities needed to become Batman. Whether it be from the body control methods of the Nepalese monks, the tracking and hunting education he receives in Africa, the stealth and combat abilities from Japan, or any of the other martial arts areas he goes to, Bruce's journey could span seasons.
Through out the show we would get small allusions to what Bruce will eventually become. Whether it be the his disgust of clowns, not liking people who are two-faced, having a porcelain penguin thrown at him in a comedic skirmish; the ability to incorporate what will-become into the present story is almost limitless. There could even be a point where Ducard begins tracking the illegal trafficking of what will eventually become the Venom that powers Bane's strength. Again, that is just an example, but I think it could work well.
To use another show as an example, let's look at the BBC series Sherlock. One aspect of the show is in how Moriarty is constantly keeping watch over Sherlock (as is his brother, Mycroft). This adds a fun element to the show, in that his actions are always being watched and graded by someone who is potentially more powerful than he is. For Bruce's journey, that could easily be Ra's Al Ghul. Because of his vast international connections, and need of a proper heir to his organization, he could monitor, influence, and invest in Bruce's travels. Ra's could even pit Bruce against other potential suitors for Talia Al Ghul without their knowledge.
The show would have to be done without the fantastical elements of Smallville in order to keep the tone serious and interesting. Yes, Smallville has been a successful show, but the ethos of Superman is different than that of the Dark Knight's. This isn't really a pitch (although if any studios are reading this then yes, it is a pitch), but what I think would be an engrossing, creative, and fun way to show a different side of the world's greatest detective that isn't often portrayed.