Early Reactions to ‘Gotham’ & ‘The Flash'; David Nutter Talks Directing ‘Flash’ Pilot

Published 11 months ago by , Updated June 2nd, 2014 at 12:49 pm,

The Flash Gotham leads Grant Gustin and Ben McKenzie Early Reactions to Gotham & The Flash; David Nutter Talks Directing Flash Pilot
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 (RomeThe 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.”

Flash TV Show Teaser Trailer Early Reactions to Gotham & The Flash; David Nutter Talks Directing Flash Pilot

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:

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?


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  1. Not trying to sound negative, but remember those many other shows that was very much praised for their pilot but then suddenly lost steam and went down afterwards? Pilot episodes are made to appeal as a marketing trick to attract audience and investor alike. In the end, its how the show develops after that, that will end up deciding its long-term fate. Let’s hope both of these shows will deliver the same hype on a week to week basis.

    • Honestly, I can’t think of a whole lot of TV shows that got bad after the pilot. Usually, it works the other way around – okay pilots can turn into great shows.

      • Heroes is a good example. Great pilot but writer’s strike killed it.

        • No, Heroes got bad after its first season. Plenty of shows do that. We’re talking about shows that get bad after the pilot.

      • Under the Dome had a great pilot, but the rest of the series got progressively worse with really poor writing and plot, (even though the acting stayed good).

  2. Nice to see a head of BSkyB acquisitions being positive about Gotham. Sky1 is the channel which airs Arrow and 24 here in the UK while Sky Atlantic air GOT and Penny Dreadful so it’d be another great catch for Sky viewers.

  3. I can’t wait for the Flash, so I’m really excited to hear such positive early reviews. It really looks like I might finally get to see a little of the DC I grew up with, and there are few heroes that would benefit from the model of tv serialized storytelling more than he does. He has one of the most extensive and interesting rogue’s gallery in all of comics, and this will give them time to develop them, and their relationships/rivalries, with Barry slowly, instead of trying to cram 5 of them with no backstory into one 2 hour movie.

    Gotham is another story. It looks ok, but I don’t see how yet another retelling of Batman’s origin, this time through what looks to be yet another police procedural on network tv, is terribly unique. Of course, I expect all the same people who thought Almost Human was such a formulaic police drama (forget it was set in a technologically advanced future, and had great potential with it’s Bladerunner meets I, Robot sensibilities), will fall all over themselves praising this as being so groundbreaking original and the best show on tv ever, because Batman. Who knows though, maybe Fox can play the episodes out of order and constantly pre-empt Gotham, too.

    • It has been stated Gotham will be a serial, not a procedural, meaning no boring murder-of-the-week, and each episode’s narrative will connect in some way. It’s not necessarily a retelling of Batman’s origins, but Gordon’s. Jim Gordon is actually a pretty B.A. character, and Ben Mackenzie is almost perfect for him. He was amazing on Southland. I didn’t really enjoy Almost Human all that much, and I don’t really understand what made it so unique in Screen Rant’s eyes (no offense), but I have high hopes for Gotham.

      • @1015 Well, procedural just means that the show will somewhat attempt to follow realistic, accepted police procedures. Not sure what the accepted industry term for a show that tends to have the one-off, case-of-the-week format. Either’s fine to me, and I don’t honestly understand the push to make everything have to be exactly the same. Sometimes I feel like sitting down to a binge-a-thon; but sometimes I want a good, self-contained story that has a satisfying conclusion. I find it a shame today’s society doesn’t seem to be happy unless EVERYTHING conforms to the popular ideal.

        Though I find it ironic when the same people then complain that there’s nothing new on television. Go figure, huh?

        Week-to-week storytelling isn’t boring; boring is boring. Just like having a lot of overarching plotlines doesn’t automatically make a show genius, or even watchable. It just strikes me an odd reason to completely dismiss a show.

        Sure, Jim Gordon is a cool supporting character; but that’s all he is. Gotham would be a great choice for a mini-series, or for half or shortened-season runs, but not an ongoing. And I don’t see where lending him a bunch of Batman villains is supposed to make him more interesting.

        Finally, I’ll go ahead and finish with a “no offense” of my own to you, because being unable to see how original AH was beyond the cop drama trappings, but then considering yet another take on the standard cop drama somehow special and unique because, Batman… well, that kinda proves my point for me a little (no offense).

    • That was exactly the problem with Almost Human. It was just a generic crime procedural set 30 years in the future. Yeah, it HAD a lot if potential, but they failed to make any use of it.

      If Gotham is nothing more than a generic crime procedural set in Gotham, it too will get canceled, and deservedly so so.

      • @freedomispopular Well, that’s the popular opinion, but I happen to disagree, for a number of reasons. I just want to make it clear that the following are meant to be taken as general societal observations and not directed at you specifically or personally.

        They failed to make any use of it because they had no reasonable chance to make any use of it. They got 13 episodes which were aired out-of-order, pre-empted, and consistently delayed. It’s hard to world-build or try to develop cohesive, overarching plots when episodes are being played out of order.

        Frankly, I find it sad, and just another example of how America has become such an instant gratification society. It’s really why we can’t have nice things, and keep getting the same old, same old shoved down our throats at every turn. But the thing is: Almost Human NEEDED to start as a generic crime procedural, because good sci-fi needs time to world-build. It’s what makes it different, and more difficult, from the standard sitcoms and dramas and action series that are grounded in a very recognizable reality. They needed to start by establishing that familiar ground in an unfamiliar world, and then try to build from there. Yeah, good luck when you have only 13 episodes to do that with.

        When you are trying to bring a large, network audience into your newly created world, you have to establish the rules FIRST before you can start breaking them, and they have to establish them in a way that the average person can understand. These sci-fi shows are failing because no one is giving them a chance to establish anything, and then undermining whatever they do manage to establish with inconsistent scheduling.

        Even then, I still don’t get a lot of the criticisms I’m seeing of the show. It was world-building effectively, melding a little Bladerunner with I, Robot sentimentality, with just a little in the way of Judge Dredd overtones, without the full-on dystopian future (police fighting a losing battle against ever advancing tech they couldn’t keep up with). They were starting to bring in additional elements, adding intriguing subplots, developing characters and their relationships, and were beginning to really bring in some great subtext about the perils and responsibilities of technology… unfortunately, that apparently was almost completely lost on today’s tech-addicted society, probably in no small part due to Fox’s typical mismanagement. Once again, all within 13 episodes.

        So, once again, we can look to Fox to substitute an interesting, original concept that actually beat shows that got renewed in ratings among key demographics, and may well have garnered a following if given ANY sort of reasonable chance, for yet another police drama with a twist.

        And sorry, but I have very little faith left in American audiences and networks. Gotham will almost certainly be a hit and considered one of the best shows on tv no matter how bland, banal, or generic it turns out to be, because Batman.

        At any rate, I didn’t intend to get derailed into an AH debate so I’ll leave it at that, and hope I explained my position well enough and in a way that didn’t overly offend; but I am at least happy to see we’re not only getting a new Flash show premiering this fall (NOT. ON. FOX. HALLELUJAH!) that looks absolutely amazing from the preview, it’s also nice to see it receiving early praise like it has too.

          • To me you are dead on about people watching Gotham because of Batman. It is the same as Walking Dead to me because I think people watch it just because it zombies and they fail to see how poorly written and boring the show really is. I know that when I was watch this season I just asked myself during a commercial why am I watching this show that seems to be written by a 5 year old. So I see ur point about Gotham.

            • Yo Donovan! Outta my head right now lol 😉

              The 1st couple of seasons of Walking Dead were lots of fun. But like you, I had increasing doubts even last season, so I stopped watching it halfway this season, just catching the last 2 eps. a couple of months after it aired. I have zero investment left in the show. Its lost its way in a big way. I’m hoping Falling Skies doesn’t fall into that hole, cuz I’m still hanging on to that show.

              Gotham, I think, could bring out characters like The Question into play. They could even choose to follow a recent plot point of Alfred as an ex-MI6 agent (The Dark Knight, Beware The Batman animated show, Batman: Earth One). I’d like that. Alfred could end up giving young Bruce some self defense/martial arts training…

              I’m hoping they have a clear vision & there’s a strong understanding between the showrunners & DC. Same goes for Flash (so far that seems to be the case;-).

              I can’t wait for October.

  4. Remember when everyone complained about them casting Grant Gustin?

  5. Suit looks awful.. 105 pound kid in a suit made for 130 pound person… Looks terrible.

    • 1990 suite looks alot better than this one!

  6. No complaints or DC slanders yet?
    Fanboys be slippin….

    • Never mind.
      They got the first one in right before my comment!

      That’s more like it! Hahahahaha

  7. This is good news not just for DC fans but for all comic fans. I’m looking forward to watching it for myself.

  8. i loved the pilot for arrow. i thought the camera work was some of the best i’ve seen on a tv show.
    maybe this guy could direct Ant-Man.

  9. Definitely ready for The Flash!! Very excited about it, and also holding out hopes for a good version of Hourman next year from CW. No interest in Gotham, though. I’ll wait for the Supes versus Bats flick which I am also excited about.

  10. How about doing a series for The Atom next (or getting him into the JLA movie, which I think is a “little” more unlikely)? There was a brief reference in Arrow to “Ray Palmer” at one point, I thought, although it escapes me where in the series it was at the moment. Cool costume, cool character. And if Marvel can have Ant-Man….

    • I’d rather just about every other DC character given a series. Never got any sort of hype behind AntMan/Atom. Also most DC properties are characters that are in the New 52, “In The New 52 continuity, a new, female Atom is introduced, Rhonda Pineda”, so chances of a Ray Palmer/traditional Atom are slim to none, although if he is introduced in Batman/Superman this month that could change.

  11. I called it after seeing The Flash extended trailer: The Flash will be the best superhero TV series ever!

    Better than Smallville or Arrow or anything else. This is the dawn of a whole next level age for superhero TV shows.

    And it’s gonna be a superfast revolution.

    Also very curious about “Constantine”…

    • I see what you did there….

      …FAST revolution….

      • Yea, I can be quick that way.

        Unlike Barry Allen tho, a little slow to the punch…line.

        Groaner & out ;-P

  12. I called it after seeing The Flash extended trailer: The Flash will be the best superhero TV series ever!

    Better than Smallville (tho the first 7 Seasons of Smallville is arguably the best superhero live action TV Show to date & I’m excited to see how The Flash will measure up) or Arrow or anything else. This is quite possibly the dawn of a whole next level age for superhero TV shows.

    And it’s gonna be a superfast revolution.

    PS: Also very curious about “Constantine”…

    • you say you called it like its already the best superhero show of all time, I think we need to watch fist before we can say you called anything.

      • When I say “Call it”, I mean I”m predicting it, like making a bet.

        Obviously I’m not stating it as fact, just an excited fan showing his faith & support in what I’ve seen & heard so far.

        • Hey, I just wanted to say sorry for my reply to your post. It was uncalled for. Don’t really even know why I sent that stupid reply.

          Anyways sorry, the comments of yours ive seen here and on other shows have been on point!

  13. I have been looking forward to watching Flash all year. I also look forward to the Arrow crossovers. I will admit to being a little more than curious on Constantine as well. But what I don’t see is Gotham going anywhere. I mean who wants to watch a show about the Batman universe without Batman in it? Same with Agent Carter. Marvel’s Shield just barely made it through the first season. That is, if it weren’t for Agent Coulson and a few Marvel ‘verse tie- ins. And you don’t have either of these options with Agent Carter. Well, at least, not in the modern Marvel world. Nonetheless, I will watch them all, but I think only Flash and possibly Constantine will garner a full and second season.

    I hear Netflix is also doing something with their Superheroes. Sounds good too!

    • Yup, it truly is (most likely anyhow) a Golden Age of Superhero TV. The main network shows & Marvel’s small screen multi platform deal with Netflix…wow!

      AS far as success goes, it’s always all about execution. A show whose on-paper idea seems thin & limited can end up being anything from quite good to brilliant if the writers, producers & directors have cohesive, intelligent (or at least popular) ideas both short & long term. If the story arc has real legs & the creative team has a way of fleshing out that vision in a compelling fashion, then it always has a chance.

      Still, even a good show can fail, as anyone who’s watched TV for the last few decades knows.

      I’ll be watching The Flash, Constantine & Gotham (curious to see how they can get me to care about James Gordon; also, any fan of “Touch” – starring the kid playing young Bruce Wayne – knows how much he can bring to any show; he’s brilliant).

      Cross my fingers & hope ratings fly high…!

  14. Woops! 2bl post, sorry about that…my bad

    +/or Screen Rant &/or my browser’s bipolar disorder…(or mine)

  15. I’m very hesitant of Gotham. I feel like the writers/producers will be compelled to show a lot of Batman’s villains in there younger years because of fan reaction to the show and for fan service. I really hope that doesn’t happen. We already saw Catwoman and Poison Ivy, I really don’t want to see a young Riddler giving riddles at school or something stupid like that.

    I rather this series show the organized crime part of Gotham, like what we saw in TDK Trilogy, like the Falcones and the Russian Mafia. Show us more of that and delve into that.

    So far Flash looks cool. I just hope they don’t give him the Batman treatment and make him “gritty.” We already have 3 Batmans: Batman, MoS Superman, and Arrow, we don’t need another.

    • MOS version of Superman wasn’t dark and gritty, he was just realistic. Leave the bright colours to Marvel films, let DC carve out a niche with a more realistic style of movie. It’s like the difference between tabloid newspapers and broadsheets, the tabloids are brightly coloured and full of full colour glossy photos to cater to the masses who just want a bit of fun with their news (newspaper equivalent to Marvel films) while broadsheets are big, expensive but intelligent with a little fun but more of a message, to have audiences thinking about the issues and discussing it with friends (like the DC film so far in their movie universe).

      Marvel films are big, brash, loud and full of humour while MOS was big, had some humour and was all about conveying a feeling of alienation and a desire to belong despite differences.

      • +Infinity

        Logic is spoken alas within the vast intertwined realms of the internet! Someone finally grasps the primary elements of comic book films without bashing one or the other.

        • no logic, just trying to be trollish, and was successful in his endeavors, as always.

      • @Dazz Incorrect… there’s NOTHING even remotely realistic about Superman, and there wasn’t anything realistic about MoS. That’s the point. DC, outside of Batman, really has a roster full of these fantastic, colorful heroes, and they’re really being done disservice by being forced into this dark, gritty, serious, “realistic” mold.

        That would be fine, except that serious method of storytelling has resonated far too deeply with some of you; to a disturbing extent as a matter-of-fact, and has resulted in stories and movies that have actually been neither better nor more intelligent. Well, at least not if you bother to apply even one iota of the “logic” you consistently apply to MCU films.

        Marvel has managed to be the superior studio in both realistic and intelligent content while still managing to honor their characters, the history of those characters, AND they manage to have a little fun at the same time. DC, on the other hand, hammers at you unrelentingly with the serious, grounded, “realism” theme to the point it has become hackneyed… only to turn around and expect constant suspensions of disbelief to actually tell their stories.

        It brings to mind an old quote from David Mazzucchelli (illustrator of Batman: Year One), who said “once a depiction veers towards realism, each new detail releases a torrent of questions that exposes the absurdity at the heart of the genre. The more “realistic” superheroes become, the less believable they are.”

        Unfortunately, he didn’t take into account that there is a very passionate, vocal cross-section of fans who are willing to ignore the inherent ridiculous, unbelievable nature of the genre because, serious stories of costumed superheroes. Now to me, the more seriously you choose to take the superhero genre, the more accountable they should be held to that realism, and the staggering amount of plot holes and plot conveniences DC fans ignore for the sake of this trite pretentiousness… well, it makes the hypocrisy of their criticisms that much more grating.

        But I guess the real irony here is that it’s the humor Marvel employs (that those DC fans who ignore the essential ridiculousness of the genre constantly deride) that helps make the MCU more realistic and grounded. Are there that many of you who really don’t know anyone that is, you know, just a funny or witty person? Who cracks jokes to mask insecurities or to ease tension? Because if you don’t that’s really quite sad and seems quite unrealistic in its own right.

        While you’re at it, think on this: death is a matter-of-fact part of the MCU, but in DC movies it’s always a melodramatic point of contention… because DC doesn’t actually know how to handle their characters in a “realistic” manner, beyond beating the audience over the head with how dark and serious their movies are.

        And the completely erroneous conclusions you’re drawing, as well as they way you’re choosing to draw them, are a big part of the reason there is such animosity between Marvel and DC fans. Liking DC movies is fine, but you all take it way, way, W-A-Y too far… to the point you obviously believe all their movies are flawless masterpieces of modern cinema, and that enjoying them to the extent you obviously do somehow makes you better, more intelligent people. Kinda like arthouse hipsters feel about themselves and their taste in independent film, come to think of it. It doesn’t. It just means you have different taste in movies. The sooner you all would get around to accepting that, the happier most of us would be.

        Finally, your metaphor is wildly inaccurate. Comparing Marvel films to DC isn’t comparing a tabloid newspaper to broadsheets, it’s comparing one tabloid to another, except apparently one set of tabloid readers wants to act like their tabloid was written by Edgar Allen Poe instead of Brad Meltzer (of course, there are inevitably going to be those DC fans that come here to express how they feel Meltzer’s comics are superior to Poe’s works, lol). Films like Ghost World or Road to Perdition would be the broadsheets of the CBM world, if anything.

        But hey, this was a serious post… so you should both enjoy it and appreciate all the deeper meaning and nuance it has to offer to become a better, more intelligent person! 😉

        • A-hrmm! You do realize that the post you’re replying to not only said zero negative about Marvel movies, but instead complimented them. Marvel movies are exactly like he said & they are awesome that way. He pointed to a distinction.

    • Just by the trailer I think it’s pretty clear that gritty isn’t part of the tone, colour pallette or shooting style. Instead, The Flash will be clean, clear, bright, colorful with lots of fun visual beats, cues & clever shot selections. I think The Flash is gonna become the best superhero TV show ever. I’ve called it.

      Gotham will have a quasi to semi gritty feel to it.

      Constantine, however, looks to have a supernatural gritty noire mash that promises to look simply delectable to fans of Eerie, Creepy & Constantine comics.

      • Exactly. Flash is going to be what Smallville should’ve been all those years after Clark moved to Metropolis. What The Flash also has that Smallville didn’t have, is a successful running DC character, Arrow, backing him up AND joining in on some of the fun. I believe these crossover episodes will help boosts both shows (not that Arrow needs any help) but it sure won’t hurt any either.

        Gotham sure does have their work cut out for them. I mean “Gordon” is going to have to hit it out of the park, figuratively speaking, to keep their viewers tuned in every week. Not to mention stellar performances from the vilians. Something similar to what MK Legacy did w/o the martial arts.

        I’m not really sure what direction Constantine is going to take. Let’s hope we see a little “exorcist” meets “zombieland”. I wouldn’t mind watching that every week!

        • I’m not sure Gotham will go the route of having Villains, at least not often. Because Gotham isn’t going to have a hero per say. It may have hints of that but mostly I think it’ll be Gordon’s challenges as a cop part of a corrupt system in & out of the Police Dept.

          I agree The Flash will be what Smallville could’ve been but dropped the ball so horribly after Lex Luthor left. I believe they’ve learned their lesson.

          Exorcist meets zombiland is a good tone to aim for with Constantine.

  16. No matter how epic the trailer, the pilot episode, and the TV Series itself can be, all I’m going to be thinking about while I’m kicking back with a bowl of popcorn finely grasped beneath my right hand is that they should’ve made ‘The Flash’ into a movie instead of a television series.

    • Nah, this way Gustin gets the chance to be a good Flash(he would’ve never got the role if it were a movie). And we get about 20 hours of The Flash over a year as opposed to an hour and a half to two hours(plus then waiting another year or 2 for a follow-up). Also they get to introduce and develop multiple characters over the season that couldn’t have been done as effectively on the big screen.

      • Give the man a prize!

        BIngo & bravo. A TV series offers up a greater wealth of opportunities to develop & explore ideas & characters, not only just Flash-centered but overall DCU as well.

        The Flash, of all superheroes, is the best suited for a TV series format because of the rich & well populated world of Central City. Heck, with the famous Treadmill he could even cross over to the MCU & pound Quicksilver so good he’d be using a walker. (Just joking; loved Quicksilver in DoFP! Great flick).

        • You realize DOFP is NOT part of MCU?
          I agree on tv providing time to possibly flesh out characters and stories better

        • ‘BIngo & bravo. A TV series offers up a greater wealth of opportunities to develop & explore ideas & characters, not only just Flash-centered but overall DCU as well.

          The Flash, of all superheroes, is the best suited for a TV series format because of the rich & well populated world of Central City.’

          –I doubt that very much. Given the amount of stuff shoved into the first pilot. It doesn’t tell me that the show will have much depth or take time to explore anything. Unlike Arrow it will be just one event after another, with no story telling. The show will essentially be a live action cartoon. Or a retread of Smallville.

  17. ‘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 ‘

    –A positive review from Mark Waid means nothing to me. Especially considering the fact that he turned Daredevil from a sober serious man into a a buffoon. I’m not surprised that Waid likes the pilot given the fact that most of his characters come across as teenagers, not adults, And Gustin’s Flash/Barry is essentially playing a combination of a young Wally West and Peter Parker.

    I am waiting to read a review from someone who 1. Was critical of Gustin’s performance on Arrow and 2. Isn’t being political with regards to future job prospects.