‘Gotham’ May Do Well to Stay Away from the Joker

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If I was a gambling man, I would bet money that the standup comedian from the Pilot episode of Gotham was not the Joker, despite a number of websites posing that very question. While some say it was on the minds of everyone watching the episode, I didn’t even consider him a possibility.

However, without Batman, I didn’t think creators of the show would touch the Joker.

I think the idea that creators of the show may tease different people who could possibly end up being the Joker is brilliant from a marketing standpoint. The Joker is a villain everyone — whether they are avid comic readers or not — wants to see. However, the Joker is an established Gotham villain that shows up after Bruce Wayne puts on the cape and cowl.

Even if they incorporate the Joker at some point in the Gotham series, it is way too early to even introduce the person who will end up being the iconic villain. As creators of the show said, the Joker is the “crown jewel” of Gotham villains.

Not just Gotham villains either, but DC villains. Of all the DC villains that have shown up in the comics, none of them can really be considered ‘sacred’ in the way the Joker is. Any story involving him, especially dealing with his origins, needs to be handled with care. Even the tiniest screw up will mean severe backlash from the fans.

It is true that Gotham could go with Alan Moore’s origin story for the Joker from The Killing Joke, portraying him as a struggling standup comedian, but it may not make much sense when they are playing the gang wars up as much as they are. If they do bring in the Joker at some point, we may see him first emerge as a rival gang leader who works behind the scenes and threatens the balance of power — maybe as the Red Hood — but then again this is pure speculation.

Without Batman, it may be best for the creators of Gotham to stay away from the Joker period. It may not go over as well with the fans if James Gordon confronts the Joker and not Batman. This is one of those delicate balancing acts that creators of the show have to consider, because there are some villains that are accepted as almost Batman exclusive. Batman has to be the one to face them and no one else.

However, as previously mentioned, some critics have raised a legitimate point that the show may not last long if it turns out to be just another cop drama about a good cop in a corrupt department or city. The show has started off well, but they have to continue to offer more.

It will be interesting to see what creators of Gotham do in future episodes. Personally, I am excited about the future of the show. I was excited to see it finally premiere on Monday. I look forward to seeing the second episode, “Selina Kyle,” on September 29. I think creators of the show have plenty to work with to make this not only a great TV series, but a series with a long run.

Why Everything Gotham Has Done So Far Is A Good Sign

There has only been one episode of Gotham, but already there are plenty of things the show is doing right and certain things creators of the show need to keep in mind as it progresses.

Gotham is dark, gritty, and everything a fan of the Batman franchise wants to see from a show that centers around James Gordon, Gotham City, and the vast corruption that festered in the city before the Zero Year. It also promises a new look at the origin stories for Commissioner Gordon and some of Gotham’s most notorious villains.

Some critics have questioned the longevity of a show based off the Batman franchise that does not actually have Batman in it. On the surface it seems like another cop drama — something the market has been severely diluted with — and the familiar story of a good cop trying to make it in a corrupt police department and city.

Well, that is the story of James Gordon. When he arrives in Gotham, the city is controlled by organized crime. There are very few cops who are actually on the level and Gordon makes a lot of enemies before he makes friends.

However, the creators of the show are also working with the creators of the comics — Geoff Johns in an executive producer on the show.

There are plenty of origin stories to work with along with Jim Gordon’s — Selina Kyle (who was the first to appear in the Pilot), Edward Nigma (The Riddler), the Penguin, Poison Ivy, Harvey Bullock’s transformation from being a cop who is just looking to survive in the Hobbesian state Gotham is in to being Gordon’s right-hand man, other villains that will emerge, and the early years of Bruce Wayne after his parents are murdered — which is not something that has been explored much.

There is a major villain that is not established in the comic book cannon — Fish Mooney (played by Jada Pinkett Smith). There is a gang war in Gotham coming. Gordon will still be investigating the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne.

Creators of the show have indicated that they will incorporate the Joker at some point, but they are going to treat his character with care since he is the crown jewel of Gotham villains. The Joker is sacred and one misstep in telling some form of an origin story for him will be met with severe backlash from fans.

Gotham has plenty to work with to keep the showing going for at least a few season. That is, as long as Fox doesn’t cancel it, which I wouldn’t put it past the network to do given its history.

Everything that the creators of the show are setting up so far promise a good show with a long run, but the concern that the show could just turn into another cop drama about a good cop in a corrupt town is valid. It is up to creators to follow through with what they have already set up in the Pilot.

So far, the only character I am not entirely sold on is Alfred Pennyworth. Alfred must become Batman’s tie to humanity, the one person who keeps him from going full dark side and keeps him in check. People have pointed out that Alfred came off mean in the Pilot, but I think meanness should not be confused with sternness since now he has the responsibility of being a father figure to Bruce Wayne.

Also, Alfred is ex-British special forces. They haven’t gotten into that in the show, and they may or may not do so, but since this is a younger version of Alfred than fans are accustomed to, they have some room to work with. These are all origin stories that creators of the show can take some liberty with — although not too much.

I always apply the three episode rule to new shows. It doesn’t matter if I loved the Pilot because I want to know that there is consistency, so we will see how the creators of the show do. So far, however, Gotham has met my expectations and I look forward to seeing where they go with it.