Wednesday Comments – My Thoughts on Gotham

So, the latest tv program based on a comic book property debuted on Monday. Gotham had a huge push from it’s inception. There was a bidding war for the pilot, which Fox won by offering a series commitment. Also, it’s show centered on Batman mythos.

Now I’ve got a conflicted history with tv shows based on comic books. As a comic book fan, I try my best to support them. But as a relative tv snob, they can be a challenge to sit through.

For instance, I watched roughly half of Smallville as it aired. I watched the first five seasons for a few reasons, primarily because I wanted to support the concept of adapting comics to shows. After a certain point it became a guilty pleasure and then I stopped watching it.

I did the same thing with The Walking Dead, where I actively supported it in the beginning and then slowly backed off. I’m still in the “begrudgingly supporting” phase of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Arrow didn’t get my support. I’m not the biggest fan of Green Arrow and to me it felt like Los Hermanos de Warner realizing that they couldn’t do an actual Batman tv show, and doing the next best thing by making Arrow. Plus it was on the CW and I still had memories of Smallville.

And with that heavy history is how I entered into the prospect of Gotham.

Granted Gotham did have a couple things working in it’s favor. It features Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie, two of the leads from two of my favorite “cancelled before their time” shows (Terriers and Southland, if case you were wondering.)

Still, I was hedging my bets. I didn’t want to get my hope up too high for Gotham. I’d heard the deafening hype, but I was still worried that the show would be a disappointment. I’m glad to say that for the most part I had no reason to worry.

The show does a good job of setting up the major players in Gotham. It provides the landscape and establishes where the characters lie. The casting is pretty solid. Also, it borrows liberally from Gotham Central, which is comic that should be a part of every fan’s collection.

I’m happy to say that I’ll be tuning in on Mondays to check out how this show progresses, despite knowing how things end up. But that brings me to my problem with Gotham.

It’s Bruce Wayne.

The dirty secret is that Bruce Wayne is the least interesting person in Gotham. Everyone else has layers and dimensions. Not Bruce he’s one-dimensional. And this isn’t me talking about the show Gotham, this is me talking about Bruce in comics too.

Using the Wayne murders as an entry point for the show is smart. But keeping Bruce as a regular on the show is just a poor idea. Personally I feel it’s going to drag the show down and prevent it from being truly great and compelling.

And I completely get why Bruce is part of the show; why would a network executive green light a show about Gotham that doesn’t feature Bruce Wayne? Most people who aren’t comic fans, don’t realize the depth that can be found in Gotham mythos, so you sort of need Bruce to anchor the show.

But Bruce will be the anchor that drags the show down.

Having him and Alfred pop up every five or six episodes would be perfectly fine. But coming up with a reason for Jim Gordon to travel to Wayne Manor on a weekly basis to tell them that the case of the Wayne’s murder is progressing will get really old really fast.

Also, having Jim Gordon as a part of young Bruce’s life, sort of fills a void that’s necessary for him to end up becoming Batman.

Seeing that Bruce and Gordon are interacting in next week’s episode caused me to roll my eyes. I really enjoyed the show, but that’s one aspect where I think they’re dropping the ball. Hopefully once Gotham proves itself as a concept, they’ll move away from Wayne Manor.

Well, those were my thoughts on Gotham. How did you feel about the latest adaptation of the Wayne Murders?

It’s Wednesday, go out and pick up some fresh new comics from your local comic shop.

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