We have to wait another two years for the release of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which will be the next chapter in what is evidently planned as one massive story leading into a full-on Justice League team-up. In the meantime, network television will see several live-action adaptations of DC Comics properties debut this year alongside The CW’s hit series Arrow, which is entering its third season.
One of the most unique of hotly anticipated of these is FOX’s Gotham, from executive producer Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist). Planned as the origin story of longtime Batman ally James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), we meet the future commissioner as a young detective under the mentorship of Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) as he faces down younger versions of perennial Bat-villains like the Penguin a.k.a. Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) alongside burgeoning crime boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith).
The pilot episode recently premiered at L.A. Screenings along with a host of other shows seeking international buyers, and THR brings us the first reaction. Sarah Wright, the head of acquisitions for BSkyB (British Sky Broadcasting) called the Gotham pilot:
“A smart origins story, beautifully produced with a strong cast.”
It may be stating the obvious, but the show’s chances to pick up audiences overseas is due to the strong selling point of seeing this fan-beloved universe from a fresh perspective. According to Warner Bros. president of Worldwide TV Distribution Jeffrey Schlesinger, “Broadcasters look at [Gotham] as something that has built-in name recognition.”
While the positive early reaction to Gotham is heartening for fans who have been looking forward to an episodic, small-screen rendering of the Batman universe, this early report is unfortunately short on details. Meanwhile, we have a slew of different – and equally positive – reactions to The CW’s Arrow spinoff The Flash, courtesy of CBM.
We’ve already seen the strong extended trailer for The Flash, and we now have early praise for the pilot from some notable names, including Daredevil comic bookwriter Mark Waid, IGN critic Eric Goldman, Executive Director of TV Communications at Marvel Entertainment and Marvel comic book writer Jonathan Hickman (Fantastic Four). Check out some of the tweets below:
So,THE FLASH pilot is exciting, optimistic and a ton of fun. Fantastic ending too. Very much what you'd expect from a Flash TV show. I'm in.— Arune Singh (@arune) May 31, 2014
I had high expectations for The Flash pilot, but that went FAR beyond what I expected. @grantgust nails it, carries the show well.— Jonah Weiland (@jonahweiland) May 28, 2014
Watched my first new series pilot today. The Flash, naturally. There is an awwwwesome DC nod I didn’t expect.— Eric Goldman (@EricIGN) May 28, 2014
Not only is the #Flash pilot EXCELLENT, but (for this) the dead-mom retcon doesn't grate. Great show, and Tom Cavanagh is astounding.— Mark Waid (@MarkWaid) May 23, 2014
And the early front runner for Pilot I'm Most Excited To See Ep 2 Of: "Flash." Terrific.— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) May 30, 2014
It’s particularly interesting to see Mark Waid – who has been incredibly critical of DC in recent years, perhaps most famously with Man of Steel – and Arune Singh – who works for the other team – give very positive reviews to this DC property. Could this be the superhero TV show that unites all corners of comic book fandom?