It was only a matter of time before DC and Warner Brothers came out with their next live action Batman project. Most thought that would be the BatFleck extravaganza Batman VS Superman, but they would be wrong. That distinction belongs to the recently announced TV series Gotham.
Gotham will follow the exploits of a younger Detective James Gordon and his struggle inside the corrupt and crime riddled Gotham City. These adventures will take place before Gordon becomes commissioner and meets Batman and will focus on “the villains that made Gotham famous.” Whether or not that means the GCPD will go up against the likes of the Joker, Two-Face, or the rest of Batman’s rogues gallery remains to be seen. Fox has ordered the show straight-to-series, which means that it will bypass the standard pilot season and jump right in to the story, most likely around 2014-2015.
Gotham has the potential to be a great show. Some of the best Batman stories involve telling the story not from the caped crusader’s perspective, but of those of the average beat cop having to deal with Gotham’s special brand of crazy. So this show will live and die based on the performance of Gordon. James Gordon is one of the most integral supporting players in Batman lore and this series offers the opportunity to show people why that is.
Another sticking point will be the villains that Gordon and the GCPD encounter on a weekly basis. Personally, I don’t think you can bring in the big guns aka Joker, Two-Face, etc. without having Batman. One of the main arguments within Batman lore centers around whether or not Gotham would be the magnet for clinically insane super-villains if Batman didn’t exist. So for a show based around Gordon, the best bet would probably stick with organized crime and the corrupt cops that run rampant inside the force. Those types of bad guys would help establish what makes Jim Gordon such an important figure in Gotham. He’s the one cop that stands toe-toe against police corruption and is more than willing to take on the mob with nothing more than a revolver and a fifth of whiskey. Those characteristics are what draw Batman to Gordon in the first place.
Another aspect this series that needs addressing focuses on its relation to the forthcoming big screen of Batman. How will this series link up with the grizzled, veteran Batman that Ben Affleck will bring to the silver screen? Will there be any connection at all? If the first night success of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. offers any indication, then Gotham will be linked in some fashion to Batman VS Superman. If Warner Brothers and DC choose to go that route, Gotham could be an excellent alternative to establish the state of Gotham City going into Batman VS Superman and the subsequent Batman solo films that will surely follow. What better way to avoid telling an origin story in a Batman movie, than to tell it via an ongoing TV series?
The potential for a Gotham TV series centered on Jim Gordon is immense. The implications for the DC live action universe could have far reaching effects on how comic based adaptations will be handled in the future. Of course, this show could crash and burn and just be a TV version of Green Lantern. A project that sets DC’s live action efforts back a few more years. Whichever way Gotham plays out, it will be fun to watch.