Welcome to Gotham
So Fox revealed the first trailer for Gotham this week, and it looks pretty cool! Not “ohmygodneedtowatchimmediately” cool, but “I’ll definitely check this out” cool. For those of you who have either forgotten about the New Batman-less Batman show or weren’t aware of it before now, Gotham is the new WB produced show that follows rookie cop Jim Gordon as he navigates his way through Gotham City’s dark alleys, crime families, and other aspects that will make the city your top spot to visit through Travelocity. It’s also serving as a quasi-Smallville take on the Batman, if early reports are to be believed.
The trailer has plenty of images that should make Batman fans feel right at home. There’s the dark moody imagery from the Nolan films, the ominous music, and the classic shot of young Bruce Wayne kneeling over his parent’s bodies (an image that gave me chills when I first saw it in the trailer). There’s a lot to like here, or at least enough to make me tune in for the first few episodes to see if I like it.
When Gotham was first announced, I was pumped. I’m a huge fan of Gotham Central, the series which follows the regular beat cops and detectives who have to serve and protect in a city threatened by Gotham’s villains. The Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker penned series is one of the best comic books ever put to print, and it’s tailor made for TV.
Gotham, even though it appears to be borrowing heavily from Gotham Central, is taking a slightly different narrative though. Putting the emphasis on Jim Gordon’s early years as a cop is pretty interesting, but I’m sure I’m not the first Batman fan to admit that seeing characters like the Riddler, Catwoman, and Penguin before they become the big time Batman villains they are is a little weird. I’ve always been a part of the camp that believes that Batman is the cause for a majority of his villains. They rise up as an response to the extreme way that Bruce Wayne decides to wage his war on crime. Without Batman, you could make the argument that Riddler, Penguin, and others wouldn’t exist, or at the very least, be more “manageable” criminals.
However, I do think that Gotham would be extremely boring without any well known characters, and some of them could be interesting. The show’s hints at showing a young Oswald Cobblepot look pretty cool, even if it does fly in the face of the character’s association with the rich crowds of the Gotham. I just hope the showrunners don’t write themselves into a corner and have to have certain characters become villains before they are supposed to. Think about it, if The Riddler can be taken out by Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock, what makes him threatening enough for the Dark Knight?
Gotham’s producers have a pretty weird tightrope to walk. They have to ensure that the audience is aware that this is Batman as a child, but they can’t straight up have Edward Nigma become the Riddler or Pamela Isley become Poison Ivy without having the Batman there to punch them in the face. While that sounds pretty impossible on the creators’ part, I actually think it could open them up to some really cool, original stories. Outside of Year One and few one shots, there’s never been a ton of information on Jim Gordon’s life as a rookie cop/transfer to Gotham, and I think it would be pretty neat to see Gordon have his own original enemies to deal with before he becomes one of Batman’s allies later in life. It would add to the world-weariness of the character’s modern appearances, and would allow him to have in depth knowledge of how much of a garbage dump Gotham City is.
So even though you didn’t really have to do much to win me over, I’ll be tuning in to see you Gotham. Hopefully you’ll do better out of the gate than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did.