By now, hopefully, you’ve seen the super exciting trailer for the upcoming Batman series that won’t star our brooding Dark Knight. If you haven’t had your eyes blessed yet, check it out below.
Teenage Catwoman, crazed Penguin, strangely sexually yummy Riddler? Yes, yes, yes. This is what Fox is teasing us with, but what are we really hoping will be the core of Gotham‘s seedy underbelly? (edit: all of Gotham is seedy. It doesn’t have an underbelly so much as an oozing sludge sewer that Metropolis wishes Superman would just push it into the ocean. Pardon our mistake).
1) Wayne Murder Investigation
Bruce in Gotham is still wee ,and years from growing into a heavily muscled vigilante. The murder of Gotham’s royal family should consume the city, from the lowliest criminals, to every newspaper and television show. While the deaths of Gotham’s brightest citizens certainly hit Bruce hardest, I’d really like to see how their deaths affect the city at large, from the full mobilization of the GCPD, to politicians trying to use their murder to gain public approval. I want to see Gotham plunge farther in to darkness as the city’s last hope is snuffed out. It’s this Gotham that Gordon and Co. should have to deal with, and it’s this Gotham that will be the perfect petri dish to spawn the Penguin and the Riddler. Most importantly, it’s a Gotham that endures in the gutters until Bruce Wayne returns to take up his cowl as Batman.
Basically, I’d like to see Gotham become the sixth season we all wanted out of The Wire, but set in Gotham. Hell, if John Doman (who has been cast, and is seen in the trailer, but is yet unnamed) was to reprise his role as William Rawls, I’d just about shit everywhere.
And while I’m dreaming:
2) An Arrow Crossover
DC has a long way to go before it can topple the cohesive giant that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so I’d love to see them attempt a crossover, though it doesn’t look like there are designs for either show to tie into the new Batman/Superman/Justice League movie.
How likely is this? Not very. Fox and the CW couldn’t get it together for a Buffy/Angel crossover back in the day, and I can’t see them fighting to do it for Gotham/Arrow. Still, Arrow star Stephen Amell recently tweeted his support for the new show and Ben McKenzie’s starring role, so maybe there’s hope yet?
3) Gordon Put Through Gotham’s Grinder
Young idealistic rookie cop comes to corrupt city to…yawn. James Gordon in the comics has been through some shit, and it should show. Failed marriage, affairs, murder of his second wife, alcoholism, and a homicidal son? Gotham should leave no one unscathed, and that is the city and the character I want to develop out of the show. A cop whose greenness is chipped away by the relentless violence, and exploitation in America’s cruelest fictional city.
Oh, and about those villains:
AKA Catlass AKA Catwoman-to-be.
So, full disclosure: I love Catwoman. Ed Brubaker’s run on Vol. 3 is among my favorite comic series of all time, and the evolution of Selina Kyle is something I’d love to see on television. Unlike Bruce Wayne, she is Gotham’s average youth. She doesn’t have money to fall back on, but must make a place for herself by running the streets in a city failed her. Survival for her will be based on cunning and self-preservation. That is a perspective of Gotham that I would really like to see fleshed out in order to make the series as great as it could be.
Plus, the fangirl in me squealed at the flash of Selina in front of Wayne Manor. Early meeting of Catwoman and Batman when they were wee babes? Yes, please.
5) No Joker
At least for the first season. We all love our Clown Prince of Crime, perhaps a little too much. Often, Batman adaptations suffer from a nagging feeling that you’re trudging through filler story lines that are perfectly good, except that, well, could have been vastly improved by a little Joker injection. Hell, look at the trailer. With all the members of the rogue gallery represented in that trailer, wasn’t his absence made all the more weighty?
So, they’ll tease us with some hints, perhaps a planted jester card aired in a scene at the end of a finale just to keep us watching. Those are tricks of a show that’s nervous, a franchise that doesn’t think that there’s enough to keep people watching without its most famous adversary. And then, once good ol’ Mr. J spends a season or two causing wanton chaos, and mayhem that challenges our heroes to their breaking points, that’s it, the writers have played their hand.
Also, perhaps it is because Batman and the Joker are the most perfect foils that it makes little sense to watch one while the other is still in diapers. The creation of the Joker was not random. No matter the origin, this remains the same. It is Batman’s attempts at creating order in a chaotic and lawless Gotham that gives birth to his antithesis in the Joker. Could you replace Batman with Gordon in this equation? I guess. Though if all we get out of Gotham is a plain clothes Batman, I will be really disappointed.
My favorite Joker origin comes from Batman Confidential, which depicts “Jack,” a bank robber whose skill has surpassed the job, to whom suicide seems a better option than boredom. This is the Joker I’d like to see. A violent and directionless character, who’s waiting for Batman to give him a real challenge, a real purpose. Plus, that comic arc has fan favorite Harley Quinn making a guest appearance.
I want this. I want this very much.
Gotham premieres Mondays this fall on Fox and be sure to like the page for updates