It's only been a little over an hour since the news broke that Detective James Gordon of the Gotham City Police Department will get his own series on FOX, presumably starting in Fall 2014.
That's a heck of a thing.
Rumors had been swirling, after Warner Bros. logged a bunch of trademarks for Gotham in TV and film categories, that we might see The Dark Knight Rises standout John Blake get his own series, or that the long-begged-for Gotham Central series might see the light of day, finally--but nobody quite anticipated the "Year One" aspect of it or that one of Batman's most recognizable supporting characters would be the series lead.
So what were the first things that came to our mind, when we heard this show was coming?
I suspect, rather strongly, that John Blake will be a major player. There were, after all, rumors recently that suggested he would headline a series much like this.
I also expect a bit of fanboy butthurt over the timeline; not only will we (potentially) have Batman villains appearing before Batman himself, but the fact that, almost by default, characters like Harvey Bullock, Renee Montoya and the rest of the Gotham Central cast will show up in a way that will "age" them more than most fans will be comfortable with.
And what about the central players in the Bat-legacy? Certainly Bruce Wayne can be explained away easily enough; he's off in the Himalayas or wherever the hell he is getting trained so he can be Batman one day. But Barbara Gordon? What'll she be up to? And will they deal with James, Jr. and his homicidal tendencies? Almost certainly, the answer that will be no--that Gordon will be single, so that they can cast somebody young and play up sexual tension in the office. If that's the case, though...how old would Bruce Wayne be? You don't want him to be noticeably older than Barbara, and he would be--far too much--if she wasn't yet born and he was off training. I suppose it's possible they'll have him a single dad following the death or departure of his first wife, and can make the sexual tension in the office happen with Sarah Essen. We'll have to see.
If you try to fit this into your expectations of a Batman Year One-style story, it will begin to hurt your head pretty much immediately. And fanboys love their continuity. Expect a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth once we get a little more of an idea of what the show will look like.
Villains before the Bat?
This is interesting; one of the criticisms of many superheroes--made explicit by Jim Gordon himself in Batman Begins, was the escalating nature of crime, and crime-fighting.
"We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics," Gordon said in the first installment of Christopher Nolan's trilogy. "We start wearing kevlar--they buy armor piercing rounds. And you're wearing a mask--jumping off rooftops."
Without a Batman, the presence of some of his more recognizable rogues might change the very nature of the DC Universe in a weird way; heroes are no longer the first to wear the masks, and are less likely to be "blamed" for their more flamboyant villains.
Of course, in Watchmen, Hollis Mason noted that the only reason they started wearing costumes in the first place was in response to criminals wearing ski masks and skirting the system that way. So maybe that aspect of escalation has always been a bit overvalued.
Probably won't use that title, since they would likely have to pay creators involved in the original comics for it, although expect to see some similar ideas bandied about and likely some of the same characters--including some they may have to pay for.
The upside is? This show will almost certainly bring the old Gotham Central trades back into print again (although they haven't been out for that long this time around) and may even get us a similar series on the shelves.
What About The Flash?
A lot of people had assumed that Barry Allen, being a CSI and all, would pretty much have the market cornered on superhero police procedurals. There's an element of that in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., of course, but really the elevator pitch for Gotham seems to be very similar in tone and execution to what a lot of people had assumed we'd be seeing Grant Gustin star in next year.
So...are Warner Bros. TV really going to have two almost-identical concepts on the market, or will they have enough of a tonal difference just because of Barry's powers to separate them?
Or, will they just take a whole different approach to Barry's day job?
And while we're at it: Where does this show fit in?
Arrow and The Flash will be crossing over and will be part of the same DC TV Universe. It's even been suggested that there's an outside chance they could relate directly to the DC movie Universe--which of course includes Batman. The fact that Gotham will be Gordon's early days (so--either a flashback or Batman doesn't show up until the future) and that Batman in the Man of Steel sequel is older and more world-weary...well, it certainly seems like DC are building an interconnected TV Universe and then immediately after, building a fence up around it to keep Gotham out.
You can bet that part of the deal that landed this at FOX will see the Batman '66 rights finally cleared up.
I hope, right? I mean, if not, it seems as though all of the parties involved squandered what would be about the most perfect opportunity possible to fix that mess.
With a little luck, that DVD set will be in your hot little hands soon...!