Everyone’s favorite Gotham hero is back and should be coming to the small screen within the next year. That’s right, Jim Gordon has returned. Fox recently premiered the trailer for the upcoming show, titled Gotham, that will follow a young Detective Gordon as well as a number of other recognizable characters from the Batman world — though they may be recognizable by name only.
Citing a Warner Bros. spokesperson, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the show will air during the 2014-15 season. Though further details about the show haven’t been provided by Fox, such as what month or time of day the show will begin airing, the trailer does paint a picture of what the fictional city of Gotham will be like and shows a lot of the people we can expect to see in the show.
Okay, so maybe Jim Gordon isn’t everyone’s favorite character, but any fan of the canon of Batman will likely have a deep respect for the character. This is especially true of any that read Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One graphic novel that detailed not only the rise of a youthful Bruce Wayne into a competent Batman, but also Gordon as he begins his career in the corrupt Gotham City Police Department and rises up through the ranks.
The new show will likely work with the same internal power struggle between the good and the corrupt, as the trailer appeared to show a less-than-savory Harvey Bullock as Gordon’s partner and a potential for Commissioner Loeb. It’s also clear the show wants to deal with the origins of the comic’s most notorious villains like Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, and Poison Ivy all appearing in younger form in the trailer. But how good of a job can the show do?
The show doesn’t lack acting talent. The OC’s Ben McKenzie will be starring as Jim Gordon. He’s recently had success in the well-received cop drama Southland, which surely helped him boost his police acting chops. From a pool of 16,830 users, IMDB has Southland scoring an 8.4 points rating out of 10, so McKenzie won’t likely be putting Gotham in danger.
Bruno Heller is on as the writer for the series. The Mentalist was also written by Heller and hasn’t been slammed by awful reviews, though it does risk cancellation, and another of his shows, Rome, also proved well-received. The show is also set to be directed by Danny Cannon, who has a strong background in police TV shows, with CSI: Miami, CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, and Dark Blue behind his back. On top of that, he had experience directing spy drama Nikita and over-the-top justice in the 1995 version of Judge Dredd, according to IMDB. Veteran actors Donal Logue and Jada Pinkett Smith will both be starring opposite McKenzie as Bullock and a new villain named Fish Mooney, respectively.
Though Christopher Nolan proved that people love to get into Gotham, the upcoming show will undoubtedly be very different from the movie universe, so it won’t necessarily be able to bank on winning over that audience, nor can it count on the comic book audience to adore it unconditionally. There’s a lot that could stand in the shows way — such as Gordon’s apparent lack of glasses in the trailer.
Lack of faith to the comics is on sure-fire way to upset comic fans. Though adaptations try to re-do some bits of the stories or create new ones using the characters, straying too far from the beloved narratives and characters can be a dangerous path. This is especially true of origin stories, as it can completely recast the characters people know and love, or know and hate.
Jim Gordon lacking glasses may not be much of a miss by the show, as he’s still very young, and the creators can easily dismiss it as being before he started needing glasses. However, the introduction of some villains gone amiss might be the first feathers to land on the camel’s back. As mentioned earlier, the trailer shows off a young Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Penguin, but something might not seem right.
Firstly, Penguin — or Oswald Cobblepot — doesn’t appear to be the squat, pudgy man that he usually appears to be. Rather, he is taller, thin, and has only a particularly pointy nose to distinguish him. The shows approach to a young Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman, might be approved of by fans, as could Edward Nigma, or Riddler. But the Poison Ivy adaption is sure to garner frowns, as IMDB has the character’s name listed as Ivy Pepper, straying far from the Pamela Lillian Isley that grew up far, far from Gotham in Seattle, Washington.
Winning over fans might be hard, but the CW managed it with the less-popular Green Arrow in Arrow, so Fox may be able to bank on the might of the Batman franchise, even if Batman himself is wholly absent.
See the trailer below.
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