Gotham trailer – reaction

Of all the superheroes, the two most best known are likely Superman and Batman, but while the last orphan of Krypton has enjoyed numerous television adaptations from George Reeves’ Adventures in the fifties to Superboy, Lois & Clark and Smallville, other than three seasons from 1966 to 1968, Batman has been primarily an animated venture, with a plethora of incarnations, but following the mould of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, the televised wing of the Marvel Movie Universe, DC have followed suit with Gotham, set to launch later this year. Created by Rome and The Mentalist’s Bruno Heller, it stars Southland’s Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Event Horizon’s Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’s Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock and David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova as the young orphans Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle.

Sam Read – That didn’t really sell me, despite having become much more interested in seeing this show than I expected to be when it was first announced.  It went heavy on the melodrama, but ended up feeling felt po-faced.

Framing it around the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne (which has been done several time already on screen) was also disappointing. As I understand the initial concept for Gotham did not look to include much (or anything at all) relating to Batman, and it is a great shame that those involved have gone with an established idea to build a series around, rather than chased their own stories.

I had hoped this might be closer to books like Gotham Central but instead it seems like we are getting Batman Begins Lite, which seems like a bad call when Nolan’s films are still so fresh in the collective memory. Gotham won’t have the angle Arrow did, in that it can’t play off viewers’ lack of familiarity with the character to build its own story, hence why I thought them using the same world of Batman but not the same story felt like a good idea, but it looks like they took the path more travelled, and that is a shame.

All that said, what raised my personal interest was the involvement of Bruno Heller, having been a great fan of his work on Rome, and the cast. Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee and Ben McKenzie are all actors I’d probably cast in the roles they’ve been given, and with McKenzie having just come off five seasons of the under-rated Southland, he can play a tough, boundary-pushing cop in his sleep, and do it well. Logue is also a slice of perfect casting for Harvey Bullock, and part of me is now disappointed Nolan didn’t use him, and he could have been an interesting additional dynamic. And I’d watch Pertwee read the phone book, so great choice there.

This gives me hope, and I am still interested in seeing how this works out, as if it manages to side-step being simply another version of Batman’s origin, it could have real potential.

Matthew Rutland – Not really sure what direction DC are going with this. As an admitted DC fanboy over the Marvel universe, I’m kinda used to seeing tit for tat blows between the two; Avengers – Justice League/Society; X-Men – Doom Squad, and so on, but the TV series of the characters in solo iterations have always been well received, including the latest with Arrow.

With the build up to the release of the Justice League movie I would have thought an expanded universe show would have been appropriate, or perhaps they are just looking to reboot Nolan’s Dark Knight. It certainly looks a lot better than the poorly executed Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, but the thought of all these Batman heroes and villains crossing paths so early in the timeline is not going to sit well with traditional fans. If DC wanted young heroes then why not do a teen titans show?

More likely they’re looking to cash in on the Bale Batman fandom out there before Batfleck strikes. Gotham city is a rich and storied city, from its gruesome birth to current incarnation, but I hope they tell separate interweaving stories rather than a limp detective show that throws names in here and there to keep fans watching.

Les Anderson – Ah – the Minipops version of Batman… Shouldn’t it be called Gordon as he seems to be the main character?

Michael Flett – Batman is one of the biggest names in popular culture, instantly recognisable. Those of us who remember the launch of Tim Burton’s film in 1989 will recall that it was an absolute event, the media went Batcrazy. It took years of neglected and the absolute determination of the studio to kill the franchise with the subsequent films.

It’s a testament to Christopher Nolan that he made Batman bankable again, the absolute standard by which superhero movies were measured (even though he’s not actually a superhero), appealing to both comic fans and more serious movie goers, with The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises capitalising on that and, on the whole, pleasing fans and critics.

A television series is very different to a feature film; Smallville was more akin to a soap opera than a superhero, Dawson’s Creek with added capes and kryptonite, and Agents of SHIELD took the right approach by focusing on the backroom boys rather than the frontline, at least in theory, though the execution for the most part of the season was tedium incarnate.

This was first sold as the story of Jim Gordon and the Gotham Police Department, but now it’s being presented with him as Bruce Wayne’s babysitter. This is yet another origin story, isn’t it? Comics readers have become accustomed to their whole world being rebooted every few years, television and film audiences, especially casual viewers, not so much, and they’re going to want to know how this fits in to what they already know, and the answer will apparently be “not very well.”

We were told that this would be the bigger picture, that the Wayne heritage would be peripheral, only a small part of that story, but judging from this trailer that seems to be all they have, and I have no interest in Bruce Wayne: The Saved by the Bell Years with his playmates Selina, Oswald and Edward who all just happen to be hanging around years before they should know each other. This isn’t Batman Begins: The Series, it’s Muppet Babies.

That’s not necessarily a problem if what we’re being offered will eventually come to be known as the definitive telling, but this feels utterly generic, the only thing selling it who the characters will become fifteen or twenty years down the line, and broadcast on Fox, who just last week pulled the plug on Almost Human, that’s never going to happen, nor do I intend to wait that long to see it happen even if it did.

I can’t even see what this is wanting to be. Is it a police procedural? Is it going to be grim and gritty, which works in the recent movies, but for a weekly show I’d rather have some fun and watch Adam West and Burt Ward; this seriously needs to realise it has to be entertaining above all else, that comics are meant to be enjoyed, not endured.

A trailer should give me an overwhelming reason to watch a show; this doesn’t.

Adam Dworak – What can I say except no?

It is another failed transition from a comic book to the television screen. Only one man knows the secret of portraying Gotham, its heroes and villains, and that’s Tim Burton. Nothing which has been made since Batman and Batman Returns is even remotely close to true character of the Batman universe. Where is the darkness, the twisted psychosis which is the fundament on which Gotham is built?

What can we see in this trailer is nothing special, random New York lookalike city with random people and their random problems, and that all the supervillains are all apparently kids playing in the same playground is just ridiculous.

Glenn Jones – I’ve got as much interest invested in this as I do all the other DC properties. Oh look, another Batman spinoff….yawn.



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