Forget Batman, lets delve into what really makes the films tick which is the ever darkening evil within the home city of Bruce Wayne himself, Gotham. Creating a TV show from a much beloved comic book hero, is that right and will it work? Well lets delve into the city and the show ourselves to find out.
Now the idea and rumour of a Batman TV show has gone around for at least a decade with Gotham and the theme revolving around a young Jim Gordon being the front runner for it but it’s finally happened. It’s here and it’s exciting but is there too much hype over it? Well, maybe. First lets consider what the show is and where it could go. Now the first episode opens with the introduction of the Wayne family and that part of the story we all know and have seen a million times and numerous different ways which is Bruce’s parents murder. Well of course it’ll set up this because, well then we instantly know that it’s a show about Batman. But wait, it’s not. It’s a show about the city he grew up in. What this opening does though is lead the show in a season direction already. It’s clear after the introduction of straight edged detective Jim Gordon that this will be the primary focus through season one. Now what makes this show so interesting is the fact we get to see all the origins. We finally get to witness (although we might know quite a few already) all the origins of the villains in Gotham.
We know Batman. We know Bruce Wayne. Now we get to know everyone else inside Gotham’s dark wet streets. We finally get to see all the goings on and what really makes them tick. Now I’m a huge Batman fan and when I first heard the idea of Gotham I wasn’t even bothered about Batman not necessarily being the primary focus because as much as I love the character, I do love the villains and all the other not hugely essential characters to. From the start we have the introduction of a very young Selina Kyle (Catwoman) with later another young introduction of Poison Ivy. We meet in the first episode Gordon’s partner, crooked cop Harvey Bullock along with mob boss Falcone, Edward Nigma (The Riddler) and also Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin) and lets just say, it’s fascinating. To sit and watch all these characters, knowing what they do, knowing who they are is just something else. We all have seen so many of the Batman stories now and know the characters quite well but they’ve all been twisted and swkewed, some even seeming pleasant. We get a feel for Oswald Cobblepot as he just doesn’t fit in with everyone else and you get a slight understanding as to why he becomes the Penguin. Nigma works in Gotham Police Department and his introduction is hilarious to start with as he rattles off riddle after riddle each time a sinister grin appearing on his face.
As for the city itself, it couldn’t have been captured any better. It’s something I always felt the Nolan Batman trilogy lacked, being the image of Gotham. Those old Art Deco buildings towering in the sky with steam from the manholes and death awaiting every corner. Nowhere feels safe and Gotham has captured just that. It’s what we want from the show, not to just take the stories and characters and go ‘lets change all that and make it our own’, no. Instead they’ve adapted it. Created something new, with something old and which has been used so many times but changed it in a different way in which it works. It’s not a shrunken down TV version of Batman, it’s like a 40 minute film for every episode. You get a feel of the detective, cop show vibe rather than the superhero saving the day vibe. It differs from the likes of other shows along the similar lines of comic book adaptions such as Arrow and the new spinoff Flash. We don’t have some person to run and save the day, nope, all we have is a broken city and Jim Gordon looking upon it not knowing what to do or how he might survive the city itself as he keeps getting told by every character.
So Gotham is something else. It is something different but not too different. It already feels very natural to watch but you never get that, where’s Batman feel. You might be asking where’s the Joker, we want the Joker but we’ll have to see. It’s difficult to see where the show will head and hopefully it’ll make a season 2. There’s plenty of routes they could go down but the writers have in a way stuck themselves in a corner due to all the characters being well known, meaning nobody can really die in the show and nothing major can really happen which isn’t in the comics however saying that the writers have raised the creative idea of implementing the Joker himself into a few episodes. As they’ve said don’t expect the Joker straight away (especially considering he’s sort of created due to the idea of this all mighty Batman) but rather we’ll see now and again someone who might be the Joker in the future. Take episode one for instance, we have Fish Mooney in her club with a comedian who might be none other than the Joker. Time will tell and this might already be a future possible route the writers head down.
So is Gotham too hyped up? Well yes it is but is it worth the hype and is it worth the watch, well it definitely is. It’s being hyped up and to be honest that’s a great thing. You don’t have to come into this as a Batman fan, all you need to do is enjoy some good detective dramas and a dark, seedy, gritty world to inhabit and you’ll enjoy the hell out of Gotham. Be sure to check out Gotham this October on 5!