So I finally got to sit down and see the pilot episode of Gotham, the TV series whose focus is on a young detective James Gordon as he starts working for the Gotham City P.D. and, concurrently, Thomas and Martha Wayne are murdered and future Batman Bruce Wayne is left an orphan…
…and I thought it was “ok”.
Prequels to very popular works, in my opinion, are a tricky thing. Let’s face it, audiences don’t want to see a young James Gordon going up against the crime syndicates, they want to see BATMAN. They want to see the Dark Knight go up against the colorful villains. If they want to see James Gordon, they’re perfectly happy to have him appear here and there and give Batman back up. Otherwise, give us MORE BATMAN.
So that’s, in my opinion, what Gotham is up against. Will audiences ultimately feel the story of Batman’s police sidekick in his “early years” be interesting enough to make us forget the fact that we’re not going to see Batman himself? (Unless, of course, there’s a “very special” Halloween episode of Gotham the young Bruce Wayne dresses up in a costume eerily similar to the one he will wear as an adult)
In lieu of Batman, will we be interested in seeing the rise of the Penguin, the Riddler, and Catwoman? Those three, along with a couple of other potential future Bat-villains (we did see a candidate for the role of the Joker, right?!) all appear in this pilot. It is clear the writers behind this series scrutinized the comic book stories as there are plenty of very familiar names/characters to be seen, including the show’s co-star, one slovenly -and corrupt- detective Harvey Bullock.
As much as I admire the writers’ diligence in getting all these characters to the screen, I can’t help but wonder if there’s enough “there” there to keep me interested in watching.
Mind you, I believe it can be done, but perhaps the producers and writers should ignore the obvious path of exploring the “early” years of all those Batman villains and instead go for stories that feature unique and new characters. After all, we know what’s eventually going to become of the Penguin, the Riddler, and Catwoman. How about instead of dealing with them we’re shown interesting new villains. Villains who in some ways are the prototypes for the better known Batman villains?
This way Detective Gordon could be shown succeeding in “cleaning up” the streets of Gotham, yet when he’s older a new wave of villains show up and these have to be dealt with by different means…
That could be interesting.
Regardless, I can’t say the single hour I spent with Gotham was a bust. I’m certainly intrigued enough with what I saw to give it a little more time. For now, we’ll see…