Blogging A to Z Day 8: Gotham

#AOkay, there are a lot of comic book shows on the air right now, with more on the way! The one departing the most from its comic source material, however, is probably Gotham. This is a show about the city of Gotham before the Batman – about a young detective Jim Gordon, and his cases. So instead of being a Batman crimefighting show, it’s another police procedural – there’s a lot of those on TV right now as well! They’re trying to tap into two TV themes at once, it would seem.

I used this on another review over at Comparative Geeks.

I used this on another review over at Comparative Geeks.

The case they opened with was the most obvious: the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. With this case, we quickly get to see the corruption at the heart of Gotham city, and see the good cop Gordon at work. However, we also quickly get to see some of the show’s greatest limitations – limitations that I think will make Gotham a show that only has a few seasons in it, unless they make some big changes.

One is the obvious: with young Bruce Wayne in the show, we have placed the show in time. Batman is an adult, even if a young adult – so the show is years from having Batman on it, if it ever does. Which is okay – they seem to have purposefully made this a Batman show without Batman in it. However, they have to keep it an interesting Batman show without Batman in it, because what they don’t have is the option to bail themselves out by having Batman show up!

The other limitation becomes apparent the more of the show you watch. Increasingly, they are adding and including known Batman villains, either in their young incarnations (roughly the same age as young Bruce) or are including them more as adults at Gordon’s age. They run the risk of having included basically every Batman character except Batman within a few seasons – at which point, what do you do?

There’s a deeper problem with this, about Batman lore and some of the bigger-named Batman comics, like The Dark Knight Returns (which our kind host here on Sourcerer reviewed over on Comparative Geeks, and then I did too!). In these comics, as well as in movie representations like The Dark Knight, there is a gnawing doubt, a question – are there all of these crazy super-villains because of Batman, or is there Batman because of them? The answer in the comics tends towards Batman as the cause, like the Joker argues in The Dark Knight. However, the show Gotham is definitely setting up a city where the super villains are all there and waiting, and the city desperately needs a Batman.

A Batman who won’t be showing up to save them…

This post is by @CompGeeksDavid of the Comparative Geeks and regular Sourcerer contributor. For more A to Z geekery, check out Comparative Geeks!

28 thoughts on “Blogging A to Z Day 8: Gotham

  1. The person who carries the show is the one that is an original character: Fish Mooney. No one can pull ridiculous cheesy lines with a completely straight face like she does. I realize that her entire character is based on a pun (penguins eat fish) and that she’s got an expiration date, but heck is she the best of the show right now 😀
    (And I am starting to hate police procedurals)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    • Yeah if I were to pick one police procedural to keep? Castle.

      But yeah, Fish Mooney (and Penguin) have been more fun to watch in action than pretty much anything else on the show. Good casting choices there!

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        • They have found amazing ways to stay interesting on Castle, leaving some hanging questions instead of trying to give us answers. Also, they are actually portraying what seems to be a healthy relationship, which is depressingly rare on television!

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          • I completely agree on both counts. At first I loved the show because Castle is hilarious. He always starts a case with the excitement of a child on Christmas morning, and that’s infectious. But now it’s about the dynamic of the entire team – I always look forward to the show.

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  2. M got addicted to this before he left town…pretty much our motto has been “forget the canon!” when it comes to this show and keeping from being overanalytical, but we do like it 🙂

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    • Because we’ve been watching it in conjunction with reading some of our first Batman comics (I grew up a Marvel reader!) it has been really hard NOT to analyze/overanalyze the show. Not to compare it to the canon. Plus, our blog is called “Comparative Geeks” so it’s going to happen, right?

      I think this show has a strong potential to lose us as viewers – if they haven’t already by taking such a long hiatus right now!

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    • Oh man did they drop the ball on Barbara. True story. It would have been far better if she had been a character he had met during the season, and they could have formed the relationship then.

      Or if they had gone with something like Year One, where Gordon is kinda starting to cheat and realizes that he’s losing/lost the moral high ground. That could have been a better arc for Gordon to go through than what they went with. Instead, it’s basically been Gordon going, “Wait, what, she’s gone? What’d I do?” And Barbara being a mess, because, reasons. So neither one of them has a good arc because of it.

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      • Yes! Gordon doesn’t even seem that broken up about her being gone (and Leslie is waaaaaaaaaaay more able to cope with life in Gotham) so I wish they’d just go total AU with it. So far I’ve been given no reason for Barbara and Jim to be together, emotionally or narratively.

        Not to mention she’s doing bisexual ladies such as myself no representational favors.

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  3. I have not seen a single episode of this show, however what you often see is them making TV show thinking only of the near future. When True Blood aired, they did so many mistakes that they basically had to end it where they did. They were running out of material. If they had kept with the books, then they would have had at least 10 Seasons of interesting entertainment. (the books ended with book 13 so they could have pulled of 13 Seasons)

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  4. There was something about the look of the show on the commercials that didn’t appeal to me. Also, the lead actor wasn’t hot enough.
    Is that sad of me? Yep. But, with so many hot lead actors out there, boys and girls, I’m watching them first.
    Heather M. Gardner
    Co-host: Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    Blog: The Waiting is the Hardest Part []

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    • They really did seem to be going with “he’s a totally normal guy” which in and of itself is good casting for Gordon… but as you say, is something else when it comes to a lead 😉


  5. I haven’t watched the show, but I would say I’m okay with the idea of a show that focuses more on the world of Batman (Gotham) than Batman himself. Honestly, I wouldn’t have included Bruce at all! There is so much to build on in a city like that… I just hope they’re taking advantage of it. The way you describe it, it sounds like they might just be name dropping.

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    • There’s definitely a feeling of name dropping, although some of that is in comparison – compared to something like Agents of SHIELD, it’s way more name dropping!

      I agree that I would have avoided Bruce, if I were telling the story. Then, if and when you need to bail the story out? Lo, Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham! Adult-like and ready to be Batman. That is the sort of move that could breathe seasons into a show. As it is? I really do wonder how long name-dropping can carry them.


  6. I watched the first episode, had a favorable impression with question marks, then got so busy blogging I lost the thread. That’s all I know about it. I was liking Oswald, though. I remember that much.

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    • You would continue liking Oswald, then 😀 But you would potentially be annoyed or confused at the changes to the Batman canon. Maybe, I dunno. I would be interested in your thoughts after another few episodes.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: A to Z Challenge Reflection 2015 | Comparative Geeks

  8. Pingback: Ten Bloggers. 26 Blogging A to Z Posts. All on One Blog. | Sourcerer

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