There are few comic book properties as bankable as Batman, yet fans have been somewhat unsure of what to expect from Gotham, Fox’s upcoming TV show set in the Dark Knight’s hometown. Originally pitched as a Batman series before Batman, instead following the young Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) in his rise through the ranks of the city’s corrupt police force. Now the classic villains have begun to appear, and the first trailer leaves no doubt that when Bruce Wayne is a character in just about anything, he’ll be sharing the spotlight.
It’s easy to understand why Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) would be one of the main points of the first look at the series (courtesy of EW), since both he and the murder of his parents is universally known among comic fans. The first trailer attempts to introduce Jim Gordon as the man vowing to find the culprits behind the Waynes’ murder, while also promising that his journey into Gotham’s criminal underworld will be filled with enough characters to keep him busy for weeks. It’s a tough balance, but clearly one that Fox finds satisfactory, as the series has received an order of “at least” 13 episodes for its first season.
It’s promising to see Jim Gordon take center stage in the first footage, even if he is sharing it with elements of the Batman mythology that have been deeply explored already. Luckily, the darker side of Gotham City seems to be important in the show’s DNA as well, and with this brief look implying something between The CW’s Arrow and a typical police procedural, it’s obviously the characters that will help differentiate the action from similar ‘realistic’ crime dramas.
It’s worth pointing out that the showrunners would not feature Gordon’s promise to Bruce Wayne so prominently if it weren’t a sign of what to expect. Since viewers don’t have to worry about the story suddenly jumping decades into the future (as is the case with most Batman origin stories), that means the chance to see how Bruce actually learned to understand the crime in his city, and of the importance of law itself. Gotham might take a step away from the comics and make Jim Gordon the one who teaches him, as well.
Some comic fans might bristle at a TV series messing with canonical origin stories, wishing instead to see Wayne’s training come after years of self-inflicted exile. But there will be plenty of other chances for die-hard comic fans to celebrate – or attack – with the wealth of villains on hand. Although Penguin (Robin Taylor), Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) and a young Poison Ivy are only glimpsed, expect them all to play a significant part, even if it may not be in the form or costume fans have come to know and love.
Andrew Dyce blogs at Screen Rant.