Probably the most anticipated debut of the 2014 Fall TV season, certainly among all of us Geeks, is the premiere of Fox’s Gotham. Set in the crime-ridden city that a young Bruce Wayne calls home, Gotham is one of the most ambitious projects network television has had in recent years. The show’s creators aim to tell the tale of Gotham City from the very first days that a young James Gordon joins the Gotham Police Department. Conveniently, this looks to be the same time that Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered in cold blood in the infamous Crime Alley, and the story of Gotham City and it’s notorious villains will be born and brought to television. This show is a huge risk, not only for Fox, but also for DC Comics: getting this legendary origin story wrong is not an option.
What We Know: Gotham will tell the tale of Jim Gordon, a young and new-to-the-force police detective, and told primarily from his point of view, and he will be played by Ben McKenzie. Gordon will be placed alongside veteran Gotham detective Harvey Bullock, which will be played by the always-underrated Donal Logue. The origins of Gotham’s most famous villains, including The Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, The Riddler, and eventually The Joker (among all the others) will all be told, in addition to the eventual birth of Gotham’s protector, The Batman. We will see the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne in the shows pilot, and from there it’s game-on for fans of one of DC Comics greatest franchises.
What We Don’t Know: Who is Jada Pinkett Smith really playing? Will we get to meet a younger Alfred? And why are they changing Poison Ivy’s original name? These questions, among so many others, loom large over the first few episodes of Gotham. There’s so much ground to cover that we have to wonder if Fox can really pull this off, weaving a narrative that will tell the origin stories of so many villains and how they inter-relate not only with themselves, but with the Wayne family.
What We Want To See: Along with setting up the great backstory of Bruce Wayne and his infamous Rogues Gallery, Gotham must also address a many great other things. The introduction of The Joker will be a crucial element, but it must not come to soon, even if the show struggles early in the ratings. But the struggle of Bruce Wayne to cope and ultimately accept the murderous death of his parents is the one story that the show also has to tell, and it’s not something Fox seems to be focusing in on. All the marketing is centered around the villains and Jim Gordon’s arrival in Gotham City, but it’s the story of Bruce Wayne’s journey that underscores everything else that takes place across Gotham City.
In the end, Fox seems to have great faith in the show. Early reviews of the pilot are good, and the cast is very intriguing. Ben McKenzie was excellent in Southland, and Donal Logue was fantastic in the short-lived Terriers. But this is one of the greatest backstories that has ever been created, and while Fox will take many liberties in making some changes to everything on the show, they must ultimately stay true to the darker tone of the source material in order to create a compelling and successful show based on the history of Gotham City. Be sure to check back here at Agents Of Geek every Tuesday for your Gotham recap and review!
GOTHAM debuts tonight, September 22 on FOX at 8pm EST.