Features TV

HEROES DEBATE: Gotham

Written by Alex Reale

Heroes Debate is a brand-new column featuring a debate between two of AP2HYC’s Heroes. 

One of the most polarizing shows of recent years has to be Fox’s Gotham. We here at A Place to Hang Your Cape always accept and look forward to various opinions about comic books, shows, movies, etc. That is why Editor-in-Chief David Molofsky and I, Alex Reale, Senior Writer, decided to sit down and have a civil discussion about whether Gotham works or it doesn’t. Personally, I think that the show is decent despite the absence of our favorite caped crusader while David disagrees. Check out the transcript of our discussion below to hear both of our sides of the argument.

David: Here’s my main problem: a Batman show without Batman doesn’t work, and they’ve introduced way too many characters to compensate. Not to mention they seem to be running out of ideas quickly.

Alex: Although it takes place in Gotham, and it touches heavily upon DC lore, I think it has a good idea going. In this show, Batman isn’t the main character; Gotham (as a city) is. We’re looking at the world around Batman. True, it’d be nice to have a show about Batman, but we have a lot of them already. Multiple Batman cartoons and films have saturated the market. Also, with a Batman film coming up, maybe they wanted to explore other possibilities? It’d be a little confusing for people. It’d be like if they made a show about Iron Man that had no connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I think that’s one of the problems The Flash television show will have when The Flash film comes out.

David: Definitely. It also doesn’t help that Ezra Miller and Grant Gustin look a lot alike. Trust DC to cast two dark-haired actors as a blond character. At any rate, I think that the premise of Gotham is solid, but I would have been more interested in it if they started it when Bruce was a few years older, maybe about 15. Right now, it means that too many of the future villains end up either too old to be believable as a viable foe for Bruce when he does become Batman, or too young to be truly interesting.

Alex: I think the writers noticed that. When they introduced Scarecrow, his dad was actually the main character on the show. Scarecrow himself was slightly older than Bruce, so it could pan out. It’s possible that they’re going to make a young Batman; possibly one in his early 20s. By then, everyone else will be in their late 30s at most, with the exception of Catwoman, Poison Ivy, etc. Also, another reason why I’m happy that Gotham isn’t about Batman is because of Arrow. I love Arrow, but they did turn Oliver Queen into the television Batman. They even hinted at Harley Quinn existing in the Arrow-verse, which means that Joker should technically exist there too. If Arrow wasn’t so dark, and if he was a swashbuckling hero like he was in the earlier comics, then yeah, there’d be room for Batman. But now, the two characters would be too similar.

David: I agree about Arrow, and what you said about Scarecrow, although I also feel like the twist about the son, etc. was a cheap way to basically have Scarecrow on the show without messing up the ages. But what about the Electrocutioner or Victor Zsasz? Or even Falcone and Maroni? What will they be like in 10 years? Will they still pose a real threat to Batman? And then there’s Jerome the Joker – such an uninteresting origin. Don’t even get me started on how the entire relationship between Dick Grayson’s parents was so forced and relied entirely on the audience recognizing the characters.

Alex: Yeah, I’ll agree that some of that stuff was lame. Even making Victor Zsasz a hitman kinda threw me through a loop. As for the Electrocutioner, I don’t think he’s big enough for most of the audience to care if he fights Batman or not. Falcone and Maroni could be alive, albeit very old, by the time Bruce becomes Batman. But age doesn’t matter with those kinds of characters because they let others do their dirty work. The Joker’s origin was dumb too, but it could be a red herring. I thought the Joker would be that comedian from the very first episode. Maybe Jerome is just to mess with the audience? As for Robin’s parents, yeah it did feel forced. It could’ve been worse, though; they could’ve had a young Robin on the team already. That would’ve been going too far: putting Dick that close to Bruce. At least they did that right and kept him out of the picture for now.

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David: True. So what do you think about about Penguin, who’s definitely become an unexpected fan favourite?

Alex: Yep. When the show started, I knew he was an awesome Penguin. Even Danny Devito praised his performance. I think he’s carrying the show for most people.

David: He was my favourite character from the start as well, but now that his schemes are all revealed and he has his club, I’m less interested. I would have rather seen him taken down a peg instead of rewarded for all his backhand dealings. Falcone should have taken the club away from him instead of handing it to him.

Alex: I’m wondering if maybe Falcone is afraid of Penguin? Maybe he sees how cunning and dirty he’s become?

David: I don’t know if he’s seen that side of him. And why would he see that in Penguin and miss it in Fish? Maroni has definitely seen it now. I think Penguin is a good metonym for the show. He was really interesting at first, but now he’s reached the point where they’ve done all they can with him and now have nowhere left to go. That brings me to my point that they are introducing so many characters that they won’t have anyone left for the second season, never mind if they continue further.

Alex: That’s a good point. But I’m having faith in Gotham. I think they threw a lot at us in the beginning because they wanted to impress us and get us renewed for a second season. I’d love a time jump in the second season and call it “Arkham”, and then send Gordon back to the asylum. Make it like American Horror Story where each season takes place in a different location. I think they have some characters left, but they’ll most likely have to tap into the supernatural and science-fiction characters like Clayface, Killer Croc, and so on. Turn Harvey Dent into Two-Face (but please change the actor!). An Arkham-based show could be great.

David: Now there’s an interesting idea: setting the second season in Arkham. I do think the time jump is really the way to go. It’s a shame, because I actually like the young Bruce and Selina actors, but if they were recast five years older, they would have much more story potential.

Alex: I think the hardest thing for Gotham introducing villains is that they have to watch out for Arrow and The Flash. They probably want to avoid sharing villains. They just had the Dollmaker, and they’re about to bring the Clock King in.

David: I think that’s fine. They’re different networks and DC has made it clear they don’t care about making a single universe. The Suicide Squad was on Arrow and is now getting a feature film; same with The Flash. Having the same villains on Arrow and Gotham seems inevitable, especially at the rate Gotham is introducing them.

Alex: True, unless they want to avoid further confusion. I think it was dumb of DC to create so many different universes: the cinematic universe, the CW-verse, and the Fox-verse. Plus, they have Teen Titans and Supergirl shows coming up, along with the new Flash and Arrow spin-off.

David: Supergirl is meant to be the same as CW; the Berlanti-verse? I think DC is just trying to differentiate itself from Marvel, but to its detriment.

Alex: I thought Supergirl was CBS? That’s good that she’s being incorporated into CW’s shows.

David: Anyway, back to Gotham. What do you think of Nygma? It’s definitely an interesting choice making him a CSI, but his whole storyline with the girl is just bleh.

Alex: I like him. He’s pretty talented, and eccentric like the Riddler should be. I thought that girl he wanted to woo was Harley Quinn.

David: Way too young to be Harley. Besides, we know Harley was a psychiatrist. She shouldn’t even be born yet by my reckoning, or a toddler at most.

Alex: Of course, but then again, they’re taking liberties with age differences.

David: Again, that’s one of my biggest issues. They need to be a bit more consistent. Ivy, Catwoman, Hush, and Scarecrow are kids, while Riddler, Penguin, Electrocutioner, and Zsasz are already adults. Yet they’re all meant to be basically the same age. The cops are really the only ones who are the right age. I’m just waiting for the episode where Bruce goes to watch Mexican wrestling and meets Bane.

Alex: I can see them mentioning the League of Assassins or even Ra’s Al Ghul by the end of the season. Though, that’d probably piss off a lot of people.

David: Only because of Arrow. Ra’s would actually have been a perfect villain for Gotham expressly because he doesn’t age.

Alex: They’d have to make Ra’s mortal since Gotham is meant to be realistic. Unless they make him a weird scientist who created something called the Lazarus Virus that could halt aging.

David: Either way, the fans would be fine with it because Ra’s is DEFINITELY older than Bruce. Hell, introduce Talia as an exchange student from Nanda Parbat.

Alex: I like that idea. But would Ra’s have a connection with the city of Gotham so early?

David: He already had his eye on Gotham at this point in Batman Begins. Wasn’t he indirectly responsible for the Waynes’ death because of his whole “economics” thing?

Alex: That’s true. Batman Begins took some creative liberties with Ra’s Al Ghul’s storyline. They could connect it into Gotham.

David: Exactly. I’d also like to see them introduce more throwaway villains; people who might die instead of living to fight Batman. I wish they could kill off Falcone or Maroni, but it won’t happen.

Alex: It’s a double-edged sword. You could introduce a DC villain and have him killed off, but people will say that Batman should’ve fought him. Or you could create a throwaway villain and have him killed by Gordon, but I don’t think the audience takes kindly to made-up villains i.e. Fish Mooney.

David: Fish was popular early on. I liked her right up until the pirates burst in. Then her story just got ridiculous. But otherwise, I thought she fit into Gotham nicely. Penguin could kill her if no one else can die.

Alex: I was wondering if the pirate storyline would streamline into Deathstroke, but Arrow already has the perfect Deathstroke already.

David: I just want the pirate story to end. It’s just plain bad. It’s the same with Barbara. Who cares what they did when they were away? Why did we need to see her at her parents? That was terrible! And the pirates thing was the same. Just have Fish return with an army. I don’t need to see how she got it. It’s called Gotham – the show shouldn’t take place anywhere else.

Alex: I like Gotham branching out. It works in some ways, like at Arkham, but the pirate saga was indeed getting tiring. I think they just do it because they can’t have Jada Pinkett Smith and NOT include her in every episode.

David: Fair enough. I think it was wrong to introduce Barbara so early. I’m interested in seeing Jim single for once, or with other women. I’m glad Barbara is mostly gone now.

Alex: Yeah, but knowing the Batman lore, you know what’ll happen. They’ll end up together eventually, even if it’s only long enough to have Barbara Junior. Then, they could kill her off for all we care.

David: It’d be interesting if she was pregnant already.

Alex: That could be the season cliffhanger.

While we came to an agreement over some points about Gotham, it seems that the show cannot satisfy both of us completely. For now, we just have to sit around and see what direction the show takes. No matter what happens, I think there will always be massively opposed views about Gotham.

What do you think about Gotham? Do you agree with Alex or David’s points? Let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!