Fox developing Gotham TV series, Batman not included

Commissioner Gordon - ComicsWith Arrow proving to rival Smallville’s popularity even after just one season so far, it’s small wonder that other television networks beyond The CW have started taking interest in the various DC Comics properties that Warner Bros. could bring to live-action TV. As much as we’ve heard about live-action television programming centering on Wonder Woman, The Flash and even Raven however, one network has already made a surprise announcement that should delight fans of Gotham City’s Caped Crusader… Or at least Gotham City.

After what was apparently a heated bidding war, Warner Bros. has sold broadcasting rights to Fox for a television project that seems to have been put together in secret, simply titled, Gotham. As the name implies, it’s a show about Gotham City, the well-known fictional metropolis that Batman calls home in the DC Universe, and all of its other portrayals across the media.

Except, most interestingly of all, Batman will not be featured on the show.

Instead, the protagonist will be a younger James Gordon, operating as a detective for the Gotham City Police Department, before he meets and subsequently allies with Batman. The show aims to explore not only Gordon’s origin story and early career in the GCPD, but also the backstories of some of the well-known criminals that have made Gotham famous, or perhaps infamous throughout pop culture.

Previously, Warner Bros. was forbidden from developing live-action television incarnations or properties based on the Batman mythos. This was believed to be a decision by Christopher Nolan, who claimed that it would cause confusion in the Warner Bros. staples while he was doing his Dark Knight trilogy of Batman movies. That trilogy may have concluded with last year’s The Dark Knight Rises, but given that Nolan is still involved as an executive producer on Man of Steel and its upcoming sequel however, WB may still be unable to directly make references or shows revolving around the various Batman and Gotham City personalities. The sale of the broadcast rights to Fox may have been done as a loophole to get around this restriction.

Fortunately, Warner Bros. has gotten away with featuring some lesser-known Batman antagonists on Arrow, including Deadshot and Firefly making appearances in the show’s first season, with Deadshot slated to return in the upcoming second season. Deadshot also appeared as an antagonist towards the conclusion of Smallville, albeit heavily re-tooled from his comic book counterpart to boast a cowboy motif.

Before the Nolan movies were even made, Warner Bros. also produced a short-lived Gotham City-set television series called Birds of Prey in 2002, which featured a trio of female protagonists, led by the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, and The Joker’s mad sweetheart, Harley Quinn as a central antagonist. While recognizable DC personalities appeared amongst the supporting cast, from Wayne Manor butler, Alfred Pennyworth to paraplegic Batman sidekick, Oracle, the show took considerable liberties with the source material, and only lasted thirteen episodes.

Warner Bros. seems to have renewed confidence in a Gotham City-set series however, given that Gotham is skipping the pilot stage, and has been ordered straight to series, which is an incredible rarity in the television circuit! It’s expected to begin airing as early as the 2014-2015 season.

Are you excited for Gotham? Will you still watch it, even without the presence of Batman? Do you think that Warner Bros. should just be allowed to make a live-action Batman series without the red tape? As usual, feel free to leave your comments below…

Eggplante will be keeping a close eye on the development of Gotham, so be sure to keep coming back for news and updates related to this promising new television series!