He Said On The That Wasn’t SUPPOSED To Have Superheroes
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gotham showrunner, Bruno Heller, flat out said the words “I don’t think superheroes work very well on TV”. Now, that quote wouldn’t have been so bad say, two years ago when Gotham first started, and the bare premise was one of a city falling into ruin. There were to be no supervillains, and Gotham PD was going to be at the end of their rope. Which would explain why a guy showing up dressed like a giant bat would make sense. Instead, Gotham has spiraled into an incohesive mess of mythology, character misrepresentation and melodrama, with that quote explaining pretty much all of it.
The quote in THR comes off the heels of a few Gotham season 3 reveals. None of which well recieved. First was the announcement that Poison Ivy, originally played by a 14 year old girl, would be aged up almost a decade to play an adult version of the character. Requisite sexiness included.
The next being some set photos of what appears to be Batman villain, Solomon Grundy. Which, in typical Gotham means Grundy is dressed like his own Hipster Chic doppleganger. It’s decisions like those that make Heller’s comments so vexing in an era where superhero TV isn’t only thriving, it’s great. Batman without Batman is beset on all sides by superhero shows that fly in the face of his assessment. Making it obvious that it’s his show that doesn’t work on TV, not the genre in general.
He goes on to mention the costumes being a major reason they don’t work visually while blending real and unreal elements into the story cause tonal issues. Again, all problems that Gotham has but not so much with other popular comic shows on TV. Not saying they’re all perfect, but Daredevil, Arrow, Flash and Agents of SHIELD all have a pretty good idea about what they are, while Batman without Batman has more identity issues than, well, a Batman villain. In one season, it went from procedural, to mafioso drama, to full on comic translation, with very little in the way of connective tissue or consistency.
“What we are trying to do is always give little Easter eggs, little gifts every episode to the real cognoscenti, but you don’t need to know more than the basic Batman myth.”
Now either Heller doesn’t know what the term “Easter Egg” means, or he said this quote with the biggest, shit eating grin on his face, because nothing Gotham has done can be construed as an Easter Egg in the traditional sense. The show operates with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the bridge of your nose. None of the characters are becoming the villain they’ll eventually be once Batman shows up, they already exist. Selena is a little cat burglar, Ivy was a little girl (now grown woman) who liked plants, Azrael, Zass, and Freeze have all been on the show, with Hatter and Grundy on the way. The entire second season was devoted to beating you over the head with as much Batman mythos as possible lest you forget what the show is leading to. Which is a payoff that technically shouldn’t occur for over a decade.
Gotham is packed to the brim with a mythos they can’t wait to exploit and characters the creators don’t seem to understand or respect. It’s clearly a show they didn’t intend to make, but had the misfortune of not getting cancelled after the first season. Now, the loose ticker tape they use for scripting has been shot out of a t-shirt cannon, and whatever the showrunners kids catch is what comes to life. It’s not superhero shows, Heller, it’s you. You weren’t supposed to be making a superhero show, but you filled it with everything else a superhero show is supposed to have. Take it from my man Riley Freeman, and figure out why YOUR show sucks.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter