Since it’s debut back on September 22nd, 2014, Gotham has been met with some harsh criticism from the most hardcore of Batfans. A lot of the hatred comes from people not liking the show’s creative take on the origins of some of our favorite characters from the Batfamily and their villains. Personally, I think they’re missing the point. In my humble opinion, this show does NOT serve as an origin to Batman, or even to Commissioner James Gordon. This show is an alternative look at the origins of Gotham City itself, and those that would inhabits it’s dangerous streets.
Some of the hatred towards the series comes from the portrayal of certain beloved characters. Such as Bruce Wayne himself (played by the talented David Mazouz). Bruce’s origin is the same as it’s ever been. He witnesses his parents demise by a mugger in an alley. He’s grief-stricken and in shock as a young Detective Jim Gordon (played by Ben McKenzie) consoles him and tells him that their will be better days, and also vows to find the person responsible for this crime. Now, the path that young Bruce takes from here is an interesting one. In the comics were not told much of the young years of Bruce. His parents die and then we fast forward to his training to become The Batman, as witnessed most recently in Batman Begins. Now, it’s not the same every time we’re told the origin story of Batman, but that’s the most recent telling of it all. But I have to go back to my original thought…this isn’t a show about Batman.
Look at this series as an original take on Gotham City. It stands alone. It’s not canon. It’s not part of the DC Extended Universe. I liken this series along the same lines of Lois and Clark. That series took a lot of creative liberties when it came to telling their stories and that series was extremely successful. Also, Smallville, was meant to serve as an origin story of Clark Kent aka Superman. While I really enjoyed the first few seasons, they really went crazy with their creativity later in the series (look to their version of the Doomsday storyline…yikes). Smallville, was also very successful and widely popular among the comic book diehards…to an extent. I take Gotham in the same vein as those shows.
I don’t think you can compare Gotham to current DC TV shows like Arrow or The Flash, or even Supergirl when that premieres in a few weeks. Those shows have superheroes among their ranks. Gotham will only have regular heroes like police officers and district attorneys as well as extremely brave and loyal butlers. At most, we’ll get some super villain action, on Gotham but only to a certain degree. These bad guys need to be able to be defeated by Gordon and his crew, they can’t be victorious…or can they? This is the origin of a city that needed The Batman desperately. We’re going to pay witness to the demise of this once promising city. We’re going to see exactly why we need someone to dress up in a costume and wear a cape to fight for justice and punch bad guys squarely into their bad guy faces. That’s what we’re watching when we sit down to enjoy Gotham.
Does this show have it’s flaws? Oh yes, it really does. At times, it doesn’t know what century they’re in. Lots of typewriters, lots of 50’s style within the wardrobe and set designs. But then at the same time there’s some fairly high tech stuff involved in the show as well. It also does border on the campy side at times, harkening back to its Batman 66 heritage. There’s even a few annoying characters on the roster as well. During season one, Gordon’s fiancee Barbara Kean, was a little lost in the shuffle. I thought Erin Richards did a great job in what she was given, but clearly the character was lost. However, in season two, they’ve really given her a lot to work with and she appears to be a bit on the Harley Quinn side of crazy. She’s beautiful and she’s charismatic and she steals the screen whenever she pops up on my television. They’ve done a great job at turning her character around and Richards has been nothing short of spectacular at bringing this character to life in season two.
Recently people have been in an uproar over the character Jerome. He’s led everyone to believe that he could be a young version of The Joker. In the comics we’ve never had a real origin story of The Joker. We’ve never really known his true identity. Neither has Batman. But if Jerome is the younger version of Joker, this sort of spits in the face of our comic overlords. His backstory is a precious one among the Batfan elite. We don’t want to see it messed with, though in the current run of Justice League and Batman, it would seem that perhaps Bruce has finally discovered his identity (I’ll withhold telling details of this storyline, check it out if you wish!). In the most recent episode of Gotham we were given the truth about Jerome. It was beautifully told and the actor portraying (Cameron Monaghan) Jerome is nothing short of genius. His laugh is manically enthralling and you could feel The Joker within him…and it was entertaining! There is nothing to complain about when it comes to Jerome's character when you give it a chance within the context of this not being canon.
I’m not trying to tell you that if you hate this series, that you’re wrong. I may disagree with you, but you’re entitled to your opinion. I get the feeling that most diehard Batfans dislike this show for a lot of the reasons I’ve stated above. I am a diehard Batfan and I enjoy this series quite a bit. It’s as close as we’re ever going to get to having a Batman series on television again. Warner Brothers is just not going to allow a major property like Batman or Superman to appear in their own series again, with them so prominent in their feature film plans. I’m amazed that we’re getting a glimpse at Supes in the upcoming Supergirl pilot.
Whether you love Gotham or you hate it, I think we can all agree…this isn’t the story of Batman that we’re all used to seeing. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.