So I just watched the pilot to the new DC TV series, one of three to come out this fall. The other two of course is the Arrow spin-off the Flash and the somewhat more obscure Constantine, based on the Hellblazer comic. I will get to those once I have seen their pilots properly. Today we talk about the future home of the BatMan.
Because that is the twist, unlike most takes on the Batman mythos this show will not have Batman in it, it will have a good amount of Bruce Wayne and the tragic death of his parents will be a important catalyst as the series kick off. But unlike Smallville that focused on Superman’s early years this series will focus on the city of Gotham and the people who live and die in the shadow of corruption and crime. You see, in a sort of twist this show we know do not have a happy ending. Before the arrival of Batman Gotham city was tearing itself apart. So this show has the potential to start fairly dark and then go take a gentle swan-dive in to the pit of despair. Or at least I hope that is how they will do it. Mostly because it would be a breath of fresh air. Now two red flags have to be brought up and that is number one… This show is produce by FOX… FOX is known to shuffle off and kill shows that does not do very well. Number two… There is a good chance that they focus-grouped the living shit out of this show. Taking away any teeth it might have had.
So I am not going to go in to very much detail on the story of the first episode as I prefer to leave a bit to be explored but to put it simply they jammed pretty much everything they could get away with in to this pilot, this is not uncommon and generally make for choppy storytelling. As is the case here. We get introduced to a smattering of characters that are more or less familiar to people who consumes DC Comics (it always fell so wrong to write that… DC used to stand for Detective Comics making it Detective Comics Comics… But I digress) in general and Batman in particular. This series have no ties to any previous DC based TV series beyond being a DC license so they have free reign as to how they like to develop the story.
But the main players in the first episode is Jim Gordon, a fresh arrival in Gotham out to make a name for himself in what is basically a lawless town. He is paired up with another fairly familiar character, Harvey Bullock. (not to be confused with Harvey Dent) who is a older and in essence broken detective. They make a good cop/bad cop pair as they investigate the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. We also have a 10-ish Bruce who in this episode work as an anchor point for Jim as he very early makes a promise to capture the man who killed Bruce´s parents. On the opposite side of the law we have the character of Fish Moonie who is an underling to the Falcone mob family. She run the part of town where the Wayne’s where murdered. She in turn have a prominent underling by the name of Oswald Cobbelpot, who is also better known as the Penguin (Here back to his more normal design rather than the mutant freak most people know from the second Tim Burton Batman movie.) and I am not exactly surprising anyone by saying that he has bigger designs in mind the being Fish´s whipping boy. As a “same side” antagonists plot we also have Rene Montoya and her partner whom I cannot remember the name of to save my life. They are part of the “major crimes unit” and in direct conflict with the “street cops” of Gordon and Bullock. These are the main players and while a few other DC Batman characters get introduced or alluded too. These are the once that has any significant screen time. As the story progress some twists get turned and a few things get turned upside down… And hung from meat hooks.
All in all I am intrigued by this series but I fear it will have a case of Agents of shield syndrome as it will be very slow to begin with and have some problem with what it like to be and what it should do. But once the groundwork is laid down I think this will be a really good series, unfortunately FOCX will then move it to the midnight time-slot and then cancel it due to poor viewer numbers.
Now I have seen some people feel deeply offended by the direction of this series and I am going to give my thoughts on a few of the most common I have found.
Beyond this point there will be spoilers… You have been warned.
A: This have way to little Batman
No… Shit… Sherlock… This have been billed as not having Batman, not being about Batman, It will be exploring everyone else that is usually relegated to the shadows so to speak. The people who make up the myth around Batman. If you do not find that interesting… Sorry. May I suggest BatMan the animated series? While being a cartoon it is very well done and have a solid storytelling.
B: Why is Alfred the way his is.
Yes it is worth mentioning that this Alfred is most likely based on the Earth 2 Alfred that we also saw in the latest batman CGI series. He is a former Bristish Special Forces soldier and act more as Bruce Guardian/Bodyguard then his demure butler. He will also most likely be the first trainer/instructor that Bruce have. This choice was most likely done to make Alfred a more active character as Bruce himself will have to be a passive character until he comes of age. I have no problem with this change, in fact I prefer it.
C: Was that Posion Ivy.
No… That was a small girl in an abusive home that like plants. Or to be more precise, as I am sure that she will indeed end up as Posion Ivy because of lazy writing, she shares nothing backstory wise with Pamela Isley and there is a chance that she is a red herring due to this.
D: Why so many names dropped in this episode… At this pace they will run out by mid-December.
Well because it is a pilot, high impact designed to grab your attention and keep you for at least a few episodes on the sheer “who will be next” factor. This is not uncommon and I think it is a good idea to pull in the casual viewer and those just vaguely familiar with the franchise. Again I have no real problem with this. But I can agree that if they continue at this pace going forward it will just be a convoluted mess of names flashing by.
E: I want to see Batman kicking arse now….
Yes… And I want a Bugatti Veyron… We all have to face disappointment sooner or later. The producers have said that Bruce taking up the mantle will be the final of the series. That is not to say we will not see Bruce going about his merry way man-punching people sooner. But not as the caped crusader. You know, spelunking in those knife infested caves…
So catch this if you want to get a glimpse in to what Gotham does when Batman is not around and get a sort of backstory to where all these lunatics came from.