What is the merit of a Batman TV series without Batman? Roth Cornet, entertainment editor of IGN, explains why Gotham is going to the smaller screens without the shadow of the superhero looming above it.
Gotham, in its pre-Batman era, is as intriguing as Batman himself. The city must have been so despicable and on-the-edge-of-abyss to require a superhero to save it. “Gotham” shows Gotham 20 years before Batman. It’ll introduce young Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, and lay down the origin stories of the other main and supporting characters.
Donal Logue says that the series will depict Gotham as a city at the point of breaking down. It must justify why there is a need for Batman. There can be no Batman without the Gotham that is so desperate, it needs a saviour. While Batman will be absent in the series, there will be several characters as interesting and distinct as the city.
One such character is Detective James Gordon, who was raised as a child in the suburbs of Gotham when it was a glamorous metro. His father was an established district attorney in his time. The young Gordon rises from the ranks of a neophyte detective investigating the death of the Waynes; Gotham follows do-gooder Detective Gordon as he fights corruption and evil. Benjamin McKenzie plays the character on the TV series.
Then there’s Harvey Bullock, an old-school police officer who becomes partner and mentor to Gordon. The character is controversial in the GCPD – rough and clumsy, takes bribes, has connections to organized crime, and can be faulted with police brutality. He’s with Gordon when the Waynes are murdered.
The Riddler is introduced as Edward Nigma, an eccentric and awkward forensic scientist.
Oswald Cobblepot is an outwardly well-mannered psychopath who works for a gangster named Fish Mooney. Cobblepot will later become the notorious Penguin.
Alfred Pennyworth, played by Sean Pertwee, is the Waynes’ all-capable and trusted employee. The ex-marine loyally protects the young Wayne and administers everything for the boy.
Selina Kyle is a skilled thief and pickpocket. A teenage orphan, Selina has mastered the dangerous streets of Gotham like the palm of her hand. Camren Bicondova plays the TV series character. She is better known as Batman’s enduring love-hate partner, and the TV series will show her in her younger years.
Gotham is fertile ground for the underworld to operate, and the cops are helping them sustain their criminal works in more ways than one. Even good intentions from the GCPD sometimes lead to undesirable repercussions. Circumstances and government forces help create the very criminals, inadvertently or otherwise, they vowed to fight.
Gotham shows that villains start out as ordinary people who encounter evil people, causing them irreparable psychological scars. These scars make them evil in the long-term; but, of course, it takes an innate evilness, too. Bullock is easily the culprit here, with his dirty ways as a cop and top motivation to self-preserve. The guy may have dirty hands, but he certainly achieves things with those. It doesn’t mean that he’s not appreciative of dirty hands, as he is, in fact, impressed with do-gooder Gordon, even if he tries not to show it.
Will Gotham thrive without Batman? Will leaving Batman out of the picture and the small screens be good for Gotham? Will it work at all? The Batman sequels, whether in the comic books, TV, or the movies, have the characters struggle and evolve around moral issues. Understanding that decisions and actions do have repercussions with some happening even as long as 20 years later, is something that’s not just for the scripts. What Gordon struggles with in Batman-less Gotham, and what actions the other characters make, will catch up with them sooner or later. Viewers pretty much struggle with the same thoughts and decisions.
Gotham will thrive because it must get to a point where it will need a Batman. Gotham will work because it deals about the good and bad through fictitious characters and events, but it keeps the realistic thoughts and considerations of humans.