FOX has struggled a bit in the last several years at nailing a major hit with their big budget sci-fi/fantasy offerings. Heavily hyped series like Terra Nova, Alcatraz, and Almost Human all got the ax after one season (though in some cases with some outcry from loyal fans). Now, FOX is delving into the world of comic books that has proven to still be an immensely hot property at the cinemas. The network hopes to see that popularity transfer in a big way to the small screen. Gotham may be the series that the network has had the highest hopes for a massive ratings success in a long time.
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Agents of SHIELD, another comic book TV series, started out hot last season for ABC, but ended up seeing a significant drop in ratings as the series progressed. Part of the problem can likely be blamed on uneven storytelling, but you have to wonder if some of the lost viewers happened when it was clear none of the famous superheroes would be making an appearance. This leaves the question, how much do people want to see a series based in the Batman universe without an actual Batman?
An origin story always seems like an interesting idea. How did our hero become the dark and brooding figure? Except the Star Wars prequels sort of prove that an iconic character can lose some of his impact when it is revealed that he was a whiny and melodramatic twelve year old.
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The advantage this series has over many other potential origin comic book series is that Gotham itself is a character and personality. The new trailer captures a rather great mix of crime noir and comic book aesthetic to create an atmosphere that is both haunting and vibrant. There is a lot of personality dripping out of this trailer with an intriguing mix of characters being played by an appealing cast that includes Jada Pinkett Smith and Robin Taylor.
It also looks to be far less about the growth of Batman and rather the journey that is taken by Jim Gordon to his spot as Police Commissioner. This is by far the biggest role for Ben Mckenzie and allows him a chance to show a range of emotions. A naive and optimistic Gordon will slowly become hardened and cynical as he battles a crime-riddled city with corrupt cops. It has the potential to be a dramatic character study with flavorings of action and comic book stylings.
This looks to be an ambitious series that is jammed with characters. Luckily, Gordon has become one that fans deeply care about thanks to the stellar Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy. This is the chance to enhance his character while adding to the intriguing mythology of one of the most famous fictional cities.
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This trailer gives me a lot of hope that this may be a solid hit for FOX. Be sure to check it out and leave your thoughts in the comments.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm this fall on FOX.
(Image and video courtesy of FOX)