Fall TV Preview: 'Gotham'

Show: Gotham

Premiere Date: Monday, September 22 at 8/7c on Fox.

Starring: Ben McKenzie, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donal Logue, Camren Bicondova, Erin Richards, Sean Pertwee, Robin Taylor, Clare Foley and David Mazouz.

Official Synopsis from Fox:

“Before there was Batman, there was GOTHAM.

Everyone knows the name Commissioner Gordon. He is one of the crime world’s greatest foes, a man whose reputation is synonymous with law and order. But what is known of Gordon’s story and his rise from rookie detective to Police Commissioner? What did it take to navigate the multiple layers of corruption that secretly ruled Gotham City, the spawning ground of the world’s most iconic villains? And what circumstances created them – the larger-than-life personas who would become Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker?

Gotham is an origin story of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told. From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (The Mentalist, Rome), Gotham follows one cop’s rise through a dangerously corrupt city teetering on the edge of evil, and chronicles the birth of one of the most popular super heroes of our time.

Growing up in Gotham City’s surrounding suburbs, James Gordon (Ben McKenzie, Southland, The O.C.) romanticized the city as a glamorous and exciting metropolis where his late father once served as a successful district attorney. Now, two weeks into his new job as a Gotham City detective and engaged to his beloved fiancée, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards, Open Grave, Breaking In), Gordon is living his dream – even as he hopes to restore the city back to the pure version he remembers it was as a kid.

Brave, honest and ready to prove himself, the newly-minted detective is partnered with the brash, but shrewd police legend Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue, Sons of Anarchy, Terriers, Vikings, Copper), as the two stumble upon the city’s highest-profile case ever: the murder of local billionaires Thomas and Martha Wayne. At the scene of the crime, Gordon meets the sole survivor: the Waynes’ hauntingly intense 12-year-old son, Bruce (David Mazouz, Touch), toward whom the young detective feels an inexplicable kinship. Moved by the boy’s profound loss, Gordon vows to catch the killer.

As he navigates the often-underhanded politics of Gotham’s criminal justice system, Gordon will confront imposing gang boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith, The Matrix franchise, HawthoRNe), and many of the characters who will become some of fiction’s most renowned, enduring villains, including a teenaged Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman (acting newcomer Camren Bicondova) and Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor, The Walking Dead).

While the crime drama will follow Gordon’s turbulent and singular rise through the Gotham City police department, led by Police Captain Sarah Essen (Zabryna Guevara, Burn Notice), it also will focus on the unlikely friendship Gordon forms with the young heir to the Wayne fortune, who is being raised by his unflappable butler, Alfred (Sean Pertwee, Camelot, Elementary). It is a friendship that will last them all of their lives, playing a crucial role in helping the young boy eventually become the crusader he’s destined to be.”

Why this show will succeed:

  • Franchise power. Without a doubt, Batman is one of the most popular comic book franchises in the world. Even though we won’t be seeing the caped crusader this fall, Gotham will feature a slew of beloved villains and characters which should attract a legion of comic book fans.
  • Not your average procedural. Gotham promises to bring fans unique cases related to the infamous Gotham villains, making Gotham more than your average procedural.
  • Villains, villains, and more villains! Unlike other super hero dramas currently on air or in theaters, Gotham will shift focus to the city’s slew of villains. In a world dominated with heroes, Gotham promises to introduce the backstory for everyone’s favorite villains.

Why this show will fail:

  • Stiff competition. Gotham will face some tough competition this fall in its Monday night time slot going against NBC’s The Voice, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (for at least the first few weeks of its debut season).
  • Big screen competition. Unlike any other super hero dramas on air, Gotham is not the only Batman project in the works for DC Comics. It might be hard for some fans to separate the television and film franchises, despite their differences.
  • Missing the point. How can you have a series about the villains in Batman comic franchise and not feature Batman?

Prediction: While I don’t believe Gotham will out perform veteran programs such as NBC’s The Voice or ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, I do believe Gotham will perform well enough to earn a second season. It will be interesting to see how Gotham re-imagines the backstories for some of our favorite Batman villains such as The Penguin and The Riddler, while also introducing a series of new characters. 


Tags: Fall TV Preview Fox Gotham

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