Gotham: How to make it watchable
Gotham is a mess. How could it not be? It’s a made for TV superhero show without the superhero. Eternally trapped between trying to be a semi noir detective story about a young Jim Gordon whilst also trying to establish elements of the greater Batman universe, while forgetting that the boy who becomes the Bat is still waiting for his first wet dream. So how would you improve upon and idea which under the right guidance could be a descent detective show set in the DC universe.
First Don’t kill the Waynes (immediately). Now this may seem like heresy to any Batman fan, Bruce losing his parents in a robbery is what gives him the motivation to become the Dark Knight, but the Wayne family needs to be established as mattering to the outside viewer before we see two preppy white people get shot. The Wayne Family are forever talked about as being the best thing that ever happened to Gotham, Thomas Wayne was a gifted surgeon, Martha Wayne was philanthropist, together they worked to make Gotham a better place for their young son to grow up in. In both the comics and films the Waynes are only ever shown in flashbacks, so why not have them as real characters, flawed and fallible characters that aren’t the perfect ideal that they’re often show as. Now i’m not saying have them around forever, one way or another they’ve got to die but don’t have them as the first case that Jim and Bullock have to solve, show them as people taking an interest in cleaning up the city for the first season. It’s not to hard to see Jim having to interview the couple, say another socialite getting killed or involved with another plot line I’ve got planned (see point 4). From there we can actually have a bit of depth to these two dimensional characters, maybe Thomas was having an affair or maybe Martha had a recent miscarriage (it’s in the comics). Then once we’ve grown to love them, kill them, and maybe we’ll be able to understand a bit more about young Bruce.
Leave Batman’s Villains alone: The Gotham Batman inhabits has some of the best villains in comic books. The Joker is the living embodiment of chaos to Batman’s order, Two Face is a man trapped by his own duality. Something that worried me right from the first episode of Gotham was it’s fairly regular dropping hints of various villains, a young Pamela Isley, Edward Nigma working in GCPD, the recent announcement that an actor in his later 20’s will be playing Harvey Dent (Pre face melting). Now these are all well and good for a bit of casual fan service but their aging the rouge’s almost two decades older than Bruce, meaning that when Batman does arrive in twenty years, both the Riddler and Two Face will be in their 50s, and while these two have never really been known for their physical prowess it’s still a bit odd to see. A teenage Harvey could be fine, a young lad with a few issues, even a teenage Nigma whose feels trapped surrounded by idiots would be an interesting episode. I will give the show credit and say that Copplepot has been good, as someone whose always been older than Batman he’s a good choice, and seeing his rise to power is something I look forward to, just don’t keep calling him Penguin.
STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM JOKER: Seriously, don’t even hint at him. Joker is Gotham’s response to Batman, the two were born to fight each other to the death, so don’t go having him pop up only to be shoved in Arkham for a bit.
Thomas Elliot, do it!: For those of you who don’t know who Thomas Elliot is, I advise you pick up a copy of the graphic novel Hush. The short version of who he is is: Thomas Elliot was Bruce Wayne’s childhood best friend whose parents were just as wealthy but very stupid with their money. One day he attempts to kill his parents by cutting their brakes, this kills his father but his mother’s life is saved by Thomas Wayne (a gifted surgeon) making him resent Bruce’s parents. When they die and Bruce inherits everything, while Elliot has to look after his now crippled mother, planting in him a hatred for his once friend Bruce. This would be the perfect story line for Gotham to have because it takes place in it’s current time line. It shows off a bit more of the high society life of Gotham’s elite, as well as it’s darker side. With a fellow child for Bruce to talk to (not just more Alfred) as well as showing how easy it would have been for Bruce to become something far worse as he grows up.
Be a good detective show first, comic book show second: There are a lot of police procedural on TV now, but very few noir detectives, Gotham is the perfect place for that, it’s a dirty city where everyone is on the take, from cops to all the way up to the mayors office. So having Jim Gordon coming to Gotham (he’s not a local boy) coming to the city and try to clean it up one case at a time would be great. Of course the city has to stay dirty for another two decades or else Batman wouldn’t have anything to do. So it’s really a story of a good cop trying to hold back the tide of filth long enough for someone else to step forward. I get the feeling the show maybe looking to move into this sort of territory later down the line, especially with it looking like Gordon and Copplepot may be forming an uneasy alliance in the near future.