What made Batman badass? Gotham.

Article written by:
Mary Ann Barbieto
Author: Mary Ann BarbietoWebsite: http://www.buhaykuneho.net
Corporate communications consultant, publicist, generally happy person.

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Warner TV is set to launch Gotham, the action-packed series that tackles the story of the city's thriving system of organized crime and the law enforcers who are fighting a losing battle against the darkness and decay that threatens to swallow them all whole. 

You have to admit that there's the making of a great story there. Gotham has always been the city of Tim Burton's dreams, always dark and seedy and dangerous - even when it's the middle of the day, there always seems to be something nasty and grimy about it, tinged with a bit of despair. Plus, it's the city that made the goddamned Batman. While Bruce must have been pretty twisted to start hopping around in a latex suit after someone shot his parents, you have to be pretty curious about what happened to push him over the edge.

So yes, technically, the series could have been titled Bruce: the Lost Years, but who'd tune in to see that?

Instead, Warner brings to life several familiar characters and gives the audience a new perspective into their lives and psyche. We get to see Commissioner James Gordon (played by Ben McKenzie of The O.C. fam) as a wet-behind-the-ears rookie on the police force, saddled with a reputation he's only too happy to uphold. Unfortunately for him, everyone in that city and their mother has some dark (and probably illegal) secret that  they would kill to keep hidden. I'm guessing we can expect to see Jim learn how to play the game, and fast. We know for sure that he doesn't end up with a bullet in his head, but what did that city do to him to turn him into the hard-nosed Commissioner, just a few years hence? Now that's something people would tune in to see.

Warner promises that it's not just Jim we get to see in a new light, but the slew of villains we've come to know as Batman's constant enemies. They run the gamut from natural lowlifes like the markedly creepy Oswald Cobblepot (quite convincingly portrayed by Robin Lord Taylor) to regular people who became twisted by circumstance (someone who'd be too spoilery to mention). Of course, there's the teenaged Selina Kyle (effectively played by Camren Bicondova) who is well on her way to becoming a crazy cat lady in the worst way, and the deliciously wicked mob boss Fish Mooney, brought to life by someone you haven't seen a lot on the small seen recently - Jada Pinkett-Smith.

It's refreshing to see these characters as something else than evil for evil's sake. When Batman still dressed in bright blue, we were led to believe that they were just "bad people" who weren't listening when our pointy-eared hero told them that "crime does not pay".

It's far more realistic to see them as normal people, beaten down by life and factors beyond their control, drained of hope, growing more and more desperate and hardened until they snapped or took that first step over the edge. Isn't that something we can all relate to?

I believe that fans of the Dark Knight and fans of crime shows in general will find this series intriguing, and at the very least, a good use of an hour. The geekier ones might have a little trouble with age differences and small tweaks to the original DC universe, but the little inconsistencies won't bother you much if you look at the series as a whole onto itself instead of as an extension of our favorite caped crusader's story as we all currently know it.

The show pulls no punches in showing the seedy underbelly of organized crime, and the violence isn't suggested, so it might be a good thing that it premiers at 9pm, when all kids under 7 are probably asleep. The producers aren't after just shock value, either, which actually makes it a better platform for focusing on a story. While the premier makes for some hard viewing for people like myself who aren't joyously violent, there's merciful little gore and a great, big, juicy plot.

After watching the premier, I'm hooked. I gotta see how all 16 episodes of the first season turns out, and I won;t be surprised if the show develops its own cult following. 

Gotham has been fast-tracked to Asia and debuts tomorrow night, Thursday, September 25 at 9pm onWarnerTV, which is available on SKY cable channel 77, Destiny Cable channel 80 and Cignal channel 66.

   

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