Tonight, Fox’s hit TV series “Gotham,” centering on the exploits of police officers James Gordon and Harvey Bullock in the years preceding Batman’s arrival, returns from its mid-season break with an episode entitled “Rogues’ Gallery.” The title, derived from the nickname given to the group of a comic book character’s specific antagonists, seems like it will promise some greater development of a group of villains. Some of them are likely destined to clash with Batman, but hopefully, some of them will just be created to make this show all that it can be.
While the first half of “Gotham’s” first season featured episodes that fluctuated in quality between “poor” and “great,” the world of Gotham City and the lore present in DC Comics’ publication history surrounding that all-important locale can give this series plenty of fuel on which to thrive. Still, there are a few things that we’d like to see as we head toward the show’s first season finale.
1) Don’t Rely So Much on the Future
It would be one thing if this show was destined to include Batman in future episodes, but given comments made by the creative team involved, it’s not even supposed to get close to the Dark Knight’s time. In that respect, the show seems to be relying a little too much on foreshadowing who certain villains are, and what role they will ultimately play in Batman’s war on crime. While there are some characters from DC Comics who are supposed to play an important role both in the timeframe of this series as well as after the moment Batman establishes himself (like Gordon, Bullock, Carmine Falcone, Oswald Cobblepot, Renee Montoya, Alfred Pennyworth, and Bruce Wayne himself), some characters are appearing a little too early when directly compared with the continuity of Batman stories from the majority of Batman comics.
Of course, this is an adaptation, and it won’t follow all of the rules that the source material does (as the presence and role of a character like Sarah Essen clearly demonstrates). Still, if the show’s creators go out of their way to create unique characters, particularly in the case of Fish Mooney, then it will spice things up for both established Batman fans and comic book neophytes.
2) Don’t Push Bruce Too Fast
In my “Gotham” episode reviews, I’ve been solidly in the corner of actor David Mazouz as the young Bruce Wayne. He doesn’t overdo his scenes, he approaches each line with curious patience, and you can tell that he’s more driven instead of tortured. These are all traits I like about this show’s version of the boy who will become the Batman. The only major problem that I see is that the show’s writers almost already want him to be playing the part of the “World’s Greatest Detective” a little too quickly.
Let’s parse this out: presuming Bruce is about 12 years old (one year younger than Mazouz), he’s still about nine to ten years away from actually becoming Batman. If it follows the timeframe introduced in 205’s Batman Begins, then he’ll need at least seven years of traveling abroad before he returns to the city and takes up the mantle of the Bat for the first time. So, we likely have about three full seasons of Bruce on the show before, logically, it’s time for him to go and become “the hero that Gotham deserves.” If the show lasts an optimistic 10 seasons, then Bruce would be ready to come back and become Batman right around the time of the series finale.
The years in which Bruce travels around the world are supposed to be some of the most important and formative of his life, and contain the points that he truly begins to become the best in the world at several different disciplines. While some first-season episodes of the show have shown just the first bits of interest in a certain discipline, some have taken his detective skills a little too far for this point in his story. While Bruce is a nice addition to have, focusing too much on skills he’s not supposed to have developed yet could take some valuable development time away from other characters, and hopefully, future seasons can realize this.
3) Follow the Comics
The title of this last entry was almost called “Don’t Follow the Comics,” but it was changed for one major reason: this era of Gotham is largely unexplored. While you can find a wealth of stories that take place in the early years of Batman’s crusade, the majority of the history between the Wayne murders and Bruce leaving the city to acquire his skills isn’t an era that is used by a lot of great works of merit in Batman’s comic book history, likely because Batman himself isn’t there. While we know some things from this time, mostly that Gotham is rampant with corruption and that Falcone and Sal Maroni have large footholds on many illegitimate practices within the city, there’s a lot that even the most learned Bat-fan can’t tell you about what life was like in the city.
“Gotham,” by that token, is in a unique position to give us a greater idea of a Gotham City in transition. Still, following what we do know of this era as established in comics history would likely be a strength since it will just help to further corroborate the history of the city, as well as give greater reason as to why it needs Batman in the first place. Adherence to canon can also help provide some broad strokes for the show’s creative team to hit with characters like Bullock and Gordon as they continue to evolve — hopefully, anyway — into the duo we know from the comics and Batman’s time operating in Gotham.
These are just three ideas of what we’d like to see in “Gotham” as we now head into the remainder of its first season. Be sure to check out our episode reviews of “Gotham” every week right here at GeekNation, and always keep an eye over your shoulder. Gotham City is a dangerous place.
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