Goin’ Back to Gotham, Gotham, Gotham…

Oh, I love me a good origin story. For those who loved Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy starring Christian Bale and a panoply of excellent actors, this fall’s Fox television series Gotham will be giving us a chance to revisit Bruce Wayne as a young boy when the city was as dank and gross as Times Square in the 70s.

Sensing it might have a hit on its hands, Fox’s marketing department has gone into overdrive promoting the show. After releasing an official trailer and first look preview, eight new character posters were just unveiled by Entertainment Weekly. Apparently, they’re celebrating Bat Week, too.

Here are some initial thoughts on the latest live action take on the Batman universe.

Image of a movie theatre with the following on the screen: The origin stories being in  GOTHAM FOX Fall Some of the most compelling scenes for me in Batman Begins were the flashbacks of Bruce and his family. Seeing his father save Bruce after falling into a well as a swarm of bats surrounded him was foundational in our understanding of Bruce’s fears and where they originated.

Gotham starts with a young Detective James Gordon (played by The O.C.’s Ben McKenzie) only two weeks on the job. His foil is Harvey Bullock, a detective who is wise to the ways of getting things done in this dirty, dirty city.

McKenzie is going to be great in the role as a newbie detective. He already very ably portrayed the rookie cop Ben Sherman in the critically acclaimed (and sorely underrated in my opinion) series Southland.

Similar to the character Ben Sherman, James Gordon is paired up with a veteran who will teach him some hard lessons about what it means to be a cop in Gotham. I’ve also been a longtime fan of Donal Logue (loved him in Terriers, another underrated show cancelled too early) who can portray multi-faceted complicated characters.

As the title suggests, I anticipate the actual city of Gotham will become another central character. In addition to the criminal demimonde, I would like the show to explore the various subcultures, neighborhoods, classes, and communities of the city, making the world of Gotham rich and textured. And there better be plenty people of color living in Gotham!!

Image of an African-American woman with short hair holding a bloodied baseball bat. The text on the image says: Fish Mooney. The Good. The Evil. The Beginning. GOTHAM. Fox Fall
Also looking forward to seeing Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney!

Tragedy and violence creates great drama. Another hope I have for this show is a focus on the relationship between Alfred and young Master Wayne. Alfred will be key to anchoring Bruce, providing the emotional support and love he’ll need after the murder of his parents.

With so many great characters and villains in the Batman universe, it’ll be a fun for the audience to see the following:

Image of a young white boy with brown hair. He's wearing a suit and tie looking serious. The text says: Bruce Wayne. The Good. The Evil. The Beginning. GOTHAM. Fox FallBruce as a baby Bat…

Middle aged man with green eyes and dark hair holding an umbrella.  The text on the image says: Oswald Cobblepot. The Good. The Evil. The Beginning. GOTHAM. Fox Fall…the Penguin as a creepy hatchling…

…the Riddler before the question marks…

Image of a young girl with long red hair and blue eyes. A long strand of green ivy frames the lower half of her face. The text on the image says: Ivy Pepper. The Good. The Evil. The Beginning. GOTHAM. Fox Fall…Poison Ivy when she was a mere sapling…

[Ed. note: Wait. “Ivy Pepper?” Who the hell is “Ivy Pepper?”]

Image of a young white woman with green eyes. She's wearing goggles and a dark hoodie. A dark grey cat is by her shoulder. The text on the image says: Selina Kyle. The Good. The Evil. The Beginning. GOTHAM. Fox Fall…and Selina Kyle when she was but a kitten.

Perhaps it is premature to have such high expectations, but as a fan I can’t help myself. The danger of these high expectations is the very real possibility of disappointment (e.g. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). We shall see, eh?

Look for the Bat Signal to shine Mondays at 8pm ET this fall on Fox! 

5 thoughts on “Goin’ Back to Gotham, Gotham, Gotham…

    1. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Not to be a cable snob, but I totally wonder what GOTHAM would be like if it was on a network like FX or HBO where shows are allowed more latitude to ‘go there.’

  1. I hope they do a good job. Gotham never felt like a real place, although Tim Burton’s Gotham looked like a wonderful to live in. Nolan just used different cities to stand in for Gotham, but it never felt it had a strong cultural identity. And it still doesn’t compared to other series. It felt incomplete, like the cities in the Stars Wars eps. 1-3. Subconsciously placing our views of an American city benefits those with a developed idea. But no one who’s ever been to Chicago or New York can say Gotham has looked like a real place. If you point out the Narrows, I can say the slums in Oliver! (1968) were more convincing.

    I’m reading Paul Virilio’s “City of Panic” and I’m hoping Gotham will finally get the attention it deserves in terms of its culture, history, and city planning. The past mentions of a Chinatown and the Underground Railroad never solidified. Every new writer just brought their own statement. The city map from years ago felt more like another decoration for the fans, a blue print that had yet to be realized. More than anything, the city should be addressed as a modern battle ground, because fear is a constant theme in this genre. Might as well continue playing up to that because it’s not like Gotham represents a great future (Batman Beyond). Films like “The Dark Knight Rises” should have taken advantage of it to point out battle strategies, just like how some anime point out how Tokyo can be besieged by invaders. Blowing up the bridges are just one approach. How could Bane’s forces patrol all the island districts from the U.S. Marines? How effective were the dirigibles in patrolling the city in the animated series? Also what’s the logistical value of Gotham’s factories – if they still have any because many east coast cities, like Philadelphia, no longer mass produce “All American”. Where do some of Gotham’s undesirables or fat cats congregate? These are details that shape Gotham’s identity and what Batman’s crusade is about.

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