Fox’s upcoming Gotham TV series is part crime procedural, part exploration of the history behind many famous characters in the Batman mythology. As noted by Ben McKenzie in the above Gotham cast interview video, perhaps the show’s biggest deviation from the traditional Caped Crusader mythos is that it has younger James Gordon (McKenzie) being the detective put in charge of investigating the murder of Bruce Wayne’s (David Mazouz) parents – and thus, helping to plant the seeds that will one day give rise to Bruce’s iconic masked vigilante alter ego.
Thing is, in a town as corrupt as Gotham, many of its well-known citizens are either unambiguous villains or suspect anti-heroes, in the larger story of Batman. The characters of Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Taylor) and Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) are the law-breakers who get (sorta) placed under a magnifying glass in the above video; as previous marketing material for the series has firmly established, though, Penguin and Catwoman are far from the only Batman foes whose origins will be examined in this new TV series.
Setting the standard for all future Gotham super-villains, however, is one Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) – the “sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner,” who was imagined specifically for this new Batman show. The Mooney character appears rooted in the traditional femme fatale archetype, much like Gotham bears certain hallmarks commonly associated with neo-Noir; at the same time, it sounds as though Smith and the showrunner Bruno Heller (creator of Rome and The Mentalist) have ambitious plans for the character – making her not only the series’ first central antagonist, but also a mentor and guide for many deliquents around Gotham.
Early reactions from those who’ve seen the Gotham TV show pilot (responses which have been by and large positive), reveal that the episode lays the foundation for many a subplot to be explored over subsequent installments – possibly too many, as it were. For example, in the cast video Bicondova reveals that Selina and Bruce have yet to actually cross paths directly (despite Selina creeping around the Wayne Manor), at least by the end of the pilot. No doubt, that story thread involving Bruce, Selina, and Gordon will become relevant pretty quickly, but will other subplots introduced in the first episode(s) managed to avoid being dangled for longer than is desirable?
So far, it sounds as though Gotham may start out focusing much attention on Gordon adjusting to life in the eponymous city and the fallout from the Waynes’ murder, with Fish Mooney serving as the big baddie aided by Oswald Cobblepot (who starts out as her subordinate and a dark foil to Gordon). If all that is handled well, then it should be easier for the show to later incorporate other important players into the series’ over-arching narrative – without them feeling extraneous, that is.
Gotham airs on Mondays on Fox beginning in Fall 2014.