My Long, Overdue Thoughts on Gotham

I don’t know why I haven’t been covering all of the news and casting coming out of the new TV show Gotham. There have been several times where I’ve sat down prepared to say something about Donal Logue being cast as Harvey Bullock, or meeting the new young Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, but nothing comes to mind to write. It’s especially strange considering I think the comic Gotham Central is perfect for a TV adaptation. This new show should be a dream come true.

But it’s not.

Because it’s different. And I think I’m afraid they’re going to mess it up.

The Batman show without Batman

Hopefully my regular readers will know that I am not picky when it comes to comic book adaptations. I firmly believe that some changes must be made between the page and the screen, and I really don’t mind when those changes are aesthetic, like using Ultimate Nick Fury in the Marvel movies instead of regular Nick Fury, or not having the Hulk get his powers from a Gamma bomb. The only thing I really have a problem with is when TV and network executives (whom I hate on principal) get their grimy mitts on a beloved property and warp it into something hideous and nonsensical, all in a quest for ratings or viral web clicks or whatever repugnant buzz words they’re spouting next.

I can’t stand it when these adaptations have no soul.

And for some reason, I’m kind of afraid that’s what Gotham is going to be. In everything I’ve seen or read about this series, which is currently in production and will definitely reach our TV screens, I just get this overwhelmingly dreadful feeling that all of this is a sham.

Join me after the jump to see why.

All of my fears and doubts come from an article I read on i09 written by Rob Bricken, the former host of the blog Topless Robot, which was pretty much my inspiration for starting Henchman-4-Hire. So Bricken is probably my favorite blogger on the web, and I definitely trust his word.

You can read the article by Clicking Here.

Basically, Bricken says he read a draft of the pilot script and was pretty disappointed in what he saw. Gotham is about the young, rookie cop James Gordan teaming up with gruff, veteran detective Harvey Bullock. Bricken says that both fit into strict cliched lines of rookie/mentor, which is already disappointing.

But the biggest problem in the script, according to Bricken, is how desperate it seems to point out all of the Batman Easter Eggs they’re going to be shoving into the show. Like the little girl named Ivy whose apartment is full of plants. And we already know that Selina Kyle is going to be a thief who dresses in black and hangs out with cats.

There’s also a comedian in the pilot, telling jokes at a mobster’s lair. No doubt someone will say something like, “Boy, that guy on stage is a real joker!” And apparently every single time Oswald Cobblepot appears on screen, somebody remarks that he looks like a penguin. Every. Single. Time, according to Bricken.

I mean, I guess, but who says that?

If Harvey Dent were to appear in the pilot, I get the sense that somebody would definitely tell him, “Boy, you sure are a pretty two-faced guy, Harvey Dent.” That’s what the pilot sounds like, based on Bricken’s article.

And that’s terrible.

Gotham isn’t being made in a vacuum. FOX is working in a world where Arrow on The CW is a huge success and where ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. received a lukewarm reception. I can just picture FOX reading all of the message boards and comments and postings about SHIELD and only paying attention to the ones that wish there were more references to the Marvel Universe. So Gotham is going to be stuffed to the brim with all of the Batman references they can find, as if that is going to make for a successful show.

But the problem with Agents of SHIELD wasn’t that it was lacking in references to the Marvel Universe, it was the lack of interesting or compelling characters from the start. But that’s a whole different article.

Even with the best of intentions, it’s not impossible to screw something like this up. We all remember the Green Lantern movie, and that failed Wonder Woman pilot. If all FOX cares about is making references to the world of Batman and expecting the fandom to fall in line, then Gotham is going to be a bad show. Not even Donal Logue will be enough to keep it afloat.

Logue’s beard is always part of his contracts

But hey, maybe I’m wrong. That’s entirely possible. Gotham is already going to series (I think), so it’s going to be on the air no matter what. So maybe it’ll get better as it goes along. Maybe it’ll be a good sort of mediocre, I don’t know.

All I know is that I’m quite hesitant about this show. And I’m a little disappointed that it’s not a direct adaptation of Gotham Central. That comic was brilliant and would make for an amazing TV show. There’s no way Gotham is even going to come close to the quality and drama of Gotham Central. But they can try.

And I hope they succeed.

But while we’re on the topic, why the hell can’t they make a TV show that includes Batman? What’s wrong with these people?


About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on March 24, 2014, in Batman, DC, Television and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Images Unplugged

    I’m hesitant too. I don’t like that they are now adding more Batman aspects when the original plan was an adaptation of the comic. Now I read recently they want to make it more Smallville like where Young Bruce Wayne will eventually be Batman by the end of the series. That to me screams this is going to be more about Batman and less about Gordon. I also don’t like that they are putting it on a different network. It means that we don’t get any cohesive universe that we do with Marvel and their ABC/Disney properties. I know by timelines this would be before everything that is happening in Arrow and the upcoming Flash series but still would be nice if there was some connection, and that connection related into the cinematic universe. Only time will tell.

    • Yeah, FOX must have thrown a ton of money at DC and Warner Bros to let them get this show instead of making it part of the larger, connected, Arrow/Flash universe. Adding to that tapestry would have been great.

      No doubt there will be some focus on Young Bruce, but there’s only so much that character can do. Plus, if this show lasts for several seasons, Young Bruce’ll have to go away to college at some point, not to mention go away to travel the world for training. I think there’ll be a strong enough focus on Gordon. I’m just hoping for a big focus on the GCPD, like in the comic.

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