With Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD premiering tonight and bringing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to television with a sort of outlandish police procedural format I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised to see DC Comics moving to do something similar. Their properties have seen pretty great success over on the CW with Smallville lasting a good nine seasons (and continuing on in comic book form) and Arrow drawing a respectable audience. They’ve even got a prospective Flash-spinoff of Arrow in the works.
But the proposed series Gotham will not be aired on the CW.
In an interesting turn of events, Fox won the bidding war for the series which will reportedly follow some of the earlier years of Jim Gordon’s career as a detective with the Gotham Police Department. Created and shopped around by Warner Bros. TV and Bruno Heller – whose better known for his work on the Mentalist, Fox has said that so long as the network likes what they see they’ll commit to a full season of the proposed series. Considering how much a potential money maker any aspect of the Batman franchise could be I think it’s very likely that we’ll be seeing this one premiering next fall. (Though it could depend on how well Agents of SHIELD does and what that might imply for the show’s future.)
The iconic Batman will not play any real part in the series as far as we know now. That makes sense, obviously, as Jim Gordon’s career in law enforcement is much longer than the Batman’s time as a vigilante. It seems like the plan may be to use some of Gotham City’s lesser known villains as tie-ins to the Batman series. Though, I feel like depending on how well the show is received and how long it goes on we could potentially see Batman come into the story some time in the future. Birds of Prey did pretty much the same thing and managed to get through a season without relying on Batman’s presence. But then again they only got through one season.
Regardless, the prospect of a Batman prequel series about Jim Gordon is pretty exciting in my book. Gotham Central by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka has always been one of my favorite series and I think that series – which featured Batman as little as possible – provided a fantastic look at the crazy that comes with living in and working in Gotham City. It followed the regular detectives in Gotham as they tackled crimes that were constantly intermingled with the influence of superhumans and supervillains within the city.
The possible characters we’ll see in Gotham are going to be one of the best things to speculate about now that the series is in development. Obviously the cops Jim works with and his own family will probably be the most likely focus of the show. We’ll see how things in Gotham effect all those relationships. That’s pretty much what we’re expecting. But there are so many other questions to ask.
Will we see the scene with Jim Gordon comforting a young Bruce Wayne after his parents murder like wedid in Batman Begins? It would be a really fantastic way to start the series if you really think about it. It would be a nice nod to the Batman source material but depending on when that scene happens in relation to the start of the show it could very clearly establish if and/or when we might ever actually see an adult Batman. And, ugh, the feels.
But probably the biggest question to ask is which villains will we potentially see? Which villains do we want to see?
Obviously, I’m not really going to want to see the Joker show up in a series like this without Batman. But what about more explosive and small time characters like the various Firefly characters or Calendar Man? I’m just saying, Calender Man would be an awesome series long villain with special episodes set around each holiday. But maybe that’s just me and my odd desire to see Calendar Man become a grittier Nolan-esque villain. I guess we’d also have to wonder if we’ll see the more comic book -centric and outlandish villains we all know and love like the Penguin and Mister Freeze. If they are used, would they be given a Nolan-style revamp or would they stay true to their ridiculous comic book origins and such? Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD seems to be going for the campy thing. But it’s unlikely that Gotham on Fox would do the same.
One aspect of the show that might be sorely missing is how exactly the officers react to Batman’s vigilante efforts. In Gotham Central, though the focus is the police officers and their cases, Batman does pop up now and again. There are some who appreciate it and others – like Marcus Driver – who resent his presence and see him as part of the problem. It wasn’t a major part of the series, I suppose, unless we’re talking about the ‘temp’ office worker Stacy who was kept on as a ‘temp’ worker so she could titurn on the Bat Signal as no actual GCPD officer is allowed to touch it officially. But still. It was interesting to explore the relationship between the officers and some of the vigilantes who frequented Gotham City. Though, I suppose some of the others could still appear even if Batman does not.
There’s a lot to wonder about this potential new series. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this series is developed, the sort of tone it takes, and just how invested in the Batman canon the show is going to be. While I like Agents of SHIELD and have a lot of the same questions about that series, Gotham has a lot more room to grow and play around with things on its own since it’s free of a larger, organized cinematic universe looming over head. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this show comes together – assuming it comes to full series order.
Now that I’ve had my say, what are your thoughts?
What are you hoping to see in Gotham? What are you worried about being messed up in the rush to adapt Gotham City for television?