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Published on May 22nd, 2014 | by Ryan Guerra

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GOTHAM Impression and Preview

Airing on Mondays this fall, FOX is taking somewhat of gamble by introducing us to the Batman universe before the advent of Batman with the drama Gotham. The gamble isn’t that they won’t get ratings right away, but rather if they can keep those ratings by choosing to focus on the story of a young Detective Jim Gordon who has newly moved to Gotham and joined the Gotham Police Department. The extended trailer for the show (taken completely from the pilot) has been out for a few weeks now and gives us an exciting glimpse of what Gotham will become. Here are some of my impressions.

Right away, the tone of Gotham is ominous and moody. It harkens to the recent Christopher Nolan films with its gritty real world approach. I feel this is fitting considering that the series takes place just after the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. As Gotham royalty their murder not only becomes the catalyst that creates Batman, but also appears to be a rallying cry for the mayor to go to war on crime and has the mobsters ready to take complete control with of the city. In his chat with Gordon, an ominous looking figure, perhaps Mob boss Carmine Falcone, says he loves the city and won’t let it go down without a fight. He appears to be making a threat to Gordon in what looks like a scene where Gordon is challenging or explaining to Falcone that he is coming for him.

Throughout the trailer Gordon appears troubled as he is getting to know Gotham and coming to grips with having to get his hands dirty.  It appears that Gordon doesn’t want to kill, even though his partner Harvey Bullock is telling him that Gotham is not a place for “good men” and they are at War and will have to kill. This is an interesting point as it is almost as if Gordon at first has the same ideals as Batman traditionally has, but will ultimately have to compromise them.

Playing off of this idealistic side of Detective Gordon is the possible notion that he will become a heavy influence on a young Bruce Wayne becoming the world’s greatest detective. We all know that it is the murder of Batman’s parents which propels Bruce to become Batman, but in a real world setting, wouldn’t it be a bit more? Perhaps Detective Gordon inspires Bruce in this formative and tragic time, by finding the man who killed his parents and offering words of wisdom.  After all, the trailer shows more interaction between Gordon and a young Bruce then most of the other comic book continuity shows. Like the scene where Gordon tells Bruce that, “Fear doesn’t need conquering. Fear tells you where the edge is…however dark and scary the world is right now, there will be light.” It will be interesting to how Gordon and Bruce continue to have a relationship past the pilot and throughout the show. Perhaps he becomes somewhat of a mentor to Bruce. We will have to see.

Another aspect I like about where this show begins is with the whole idea of escalation. After all, this is before Batman exists, so we meet these normal characters who will be wronged in some way and will eventually become the super villains. Leading to one of the traditional notions from the Batman mythos that is, would these super villains exist if there was no Batman. Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin) is a great example of this. In the trailer he is speaking to Gordon describing that a “War is coming.” Perhaps with the death of the Wayne’s it shows that no one is untouchable. It appears we will follow Cobblepot through the mob world he works in until he ultimately becomes The Penguin. It will be interesting if they will follow Cobblepot’s origin as an “outcast” from his high society family which ultimately drives him to becoming a criminal, or if they will go with the “rise from the ranks” among organized crime direction. He is featured prominently in the trailer which leads me to believe he may become the main villain of the season.

Lastly, there is a lot of griping on the internet about them already revealing too many of the super villains. Considering this show is an origin story, not only for Batman and Gordon, but also these villains we know and love. It will be interesting to see who they were before they became infamous. During the season I hope to see whole episodes or story arc’s that focus directly on these characters and how they came to be. The producers have said they will introduce many of the villain’s origins with care and perhaps help us better understand the motives behind these villains.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to Gotham. The show has a real chance to introduce the world to another fold in the Batman universe for better or worse.  In 2011, DC writer Scott Snyder re-launched the Batman comic book as part of “The New 52” by introducing his story arch The Court of Owls. It’s a fantastic story that reached down to my inner child and brought back my love for all things Batman. One thing Snyder does exceptionally well is that he reminds us that Gotham is a living breathing city. If you take of the mantle as “hero,” Gotham will reshape itself, change and throw at you villains that represent your worse fears about yourself. I hope the producers of this show are thinking in this direction. There are endless possibilities of where they can take this crime drama. Let’s hope they do a good job.

 


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