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.