Okay, I give up.
I tried to like Gotham, honest, I did. Despite my previous reservations, I tuned into the first two episodes like everyone else in the geek-o-sphere did. And you know what, I didn’t hate it. At least not as much as I was anticipating. In fact, some of what I saw was quite good. But the problems I had remained. Namely, that the whole conceit of the show is that it exists in the Batman universe. Also, the acting is pretty horrible. I’m looking at you, Ben and Jada!
If this were just a typical police procedural, I’d find it pretty entertaining (even though I’m not a fan of the genre). Where the show loses me, though, is that it fundamentally misunderstands the universe in which it has chosen to partake. Case in point? They’ve just cast 34-year old actor Nicholas D’Agosto to play Harvey Dent.
Why is this a problem? Well, first of all, Bruce Wayne is only 9 years old on the show (Or is he 11? Either way, he ain’t 30). Harvey and Bruce should be roughly the same age. On the show, though, turns out Dent will be an Assistant D.A. already. In other words, Harvey Dent is basically Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins, except at this point in that film, Rachel was still playing tag with Bruce.
This is a problem with most, if not all of the characters on the show. They shouldn’t even exist yet. Every major player in the Bat mythos — save for Selina Kyle and Poison “Ivy” — are each ten to twenty to even thirty years older than Bruce already. Even the members of the Gotham police force are all characters out of time.
Upon hearing the news of Dent’s arrival on the show, I had the following convo with Will, one of the NOC’s other resident Bat Nerds.
WILL: I am SO MAD about this news! Batman’s villains and allies are gonna be a bunch of 50 year olds by the time he comes along. I’m done with this show!
ME: It is so confused about what kind of show it should be. Is it a police procedural about the GCPD? Or is it about Bruce’s formative years? Because it can’t be both. And that’s the problem. Honestly, they should’ve just gone the Gotham Central route and cast an older Gordon, with say, Bryan Cranston in the role.
WILL: Exactly, especially when there’s nothing really interesting about a young Gordon. Even when he transfers from Chicago in the comics, he’s middle aged. He’s simply too young here. They really should just go the Gotham Central route, and forget about Bruce. Hell, they should time jump next season to where he’s already Batman, and he’s just in the background of these police cases.
ME: It’s not like a Young Bruce Wayne show couldn’t work. I could see a way for how such a show could be done, I suppose. But you’d have to commit to making ALL OF THE CHARACTERS young. Like, you could totally have Oswald and Harvey be contemporaries of Bruce’s. Cast Oswald as a snotty, Draco Malfoy-type and make Harvey Bruce’s best friend.
But the route they’ve taken on the show is just confused. I mean, most of these characters shouldn’t even be on the show. They’ve basically made Bullock into Det. Flass. Problem is Bullock ain’t Flass. He’s Bullock.
Also, why are Montoya and Allen even there (and Sarah Essen)? The GCPD is supposed to be an entirely corrupt force, so why are the good cops all already there? There’s no point for Gordon to be there.
WILL: I hate the characterization of Bullock. I hate that they couldn’t even wait until season two to introduce Allen and Montoya. Who’s gonna be left when Bruce grows up?
ME: Like, at least make them beat cops or something. Why are they all detectives already? And Essen is captain? Guess no one gets promoted (except Gordon) in 20 years.
WILL: I can’t sit through the show. I can only take 15 minute increments, which hurts my credibility. Everything I hear about it, though, just makes me hate it even more. Apparently Professor Pyg and Zsasz are on the way.
ME: I’ve heard some folks compare Gotham to Smallville. Well, as an avowed Smallville fan, I have to say that is an utterly false equivalence. In fact, a young Clark Kent show works for all of the reasons that a young Bruce doesn’t. Clark’s years in Smallville actually WERE formative to who he is as Superman. Other than being where his parents were murdered, Gotham doesn’t have the same resonance for Bruce.
WILL: Exactly! The only thing Gotham does for Bruce is it provides a setting for his parents’ murder. His training and development happen AWAY from the city.
N’JAILA: This show is crappity crap.