Fox Developing "Gotham" Young Jim Gordon Series

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Admiral_Young, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ... Show of hands for those of us who'd far rather Heller make a Rome companion show about ancient Athens? :p
     
  2. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Indeed - I love Jim Gordon and always have. Granted I have a lot of love for side characters of the big guys (Lois Lane, Dick Grayson, etc), but Gordon is a tremendously human character with loads of room for conflict and could make a great central character.

    I just read the show runner interview - I had no idea it was Bruno Heller putting this on. That skyrockets my interest because Rome was a huge, brilliant, delightful, messy batch of wonderful weirdness, sadly cut short after its second season. I happen to be right in the middle of rewatching the entire series for the 4th time. In case you're not familiar, Rome follows the exploits of Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, Cleopatra and Octavian (to become Caesar Augustus) through the eyes of two characters who were legionaries in Julius Caesar's 13th Legion. The characters, who are real historical figures mentioned by Caesar in his Gallic Wars, are among the most fantastic characters ever to have been written for tv. It's a buddy show essentially, but every one of the main characters, all of whom are sidelines to the big historical figures, is terrific. Augustus' mother, Atia, is, in particular, a creation of such delicious narcissistic evil that you love to love hating everything she does. The show veers into truly bizarre choices from time to time (the art direction for Egypt is completely WTF?) but it has such a great relationship at it core with moments of sheer brilliance that it's hard not to think it's great.

    Because of the structure of Rome, I have a lot more faith that Heller can do something interesting with Gotham. He's experienced at working around Big Characters who are supposed to be the subject of the story and making it not just work but be fabulously enjoyable. And it's true that Gotham, the city, has grand potential - it has often been a character in the great Batman stories. On top of all that, the education of young Bruce Wayne, which has to be completely bizarre, shocking even, has a lot of possibilities for interesting storytelling.

    In short - if you haven't watched Rome, see it now just to get a sense of what this guy is capable of. I defy anyone who digs superheroes to watch season one through the episode The Spoils and not find themselves cheering the friendship of Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus as utterly legendary.
     
  3. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, judging from the trailer I'd say him not feeling beholden to the genre has probably been a good thing.

    It's refreshing as hell to see a show that doesn't have the same pulpy, comic booky tone as every OTHER comic book adaptation ever made for TV (Smallville, Arrow, Shield, etc). At least judging from the trailer, it's got more of a real world, crime drama feel to it, which I really like. And which could allow for some very different and interesting kinds of stories.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What are you talking about? As I said, Smallville in its first few seasons was trying desperately to be as far from the comics as possible, even though it changed that policy in the last few seasons. And Arrow is very much in the gritty urban-noir style of the Nolan Batman films that it's overtly emulating. Heck, most of the live-action TV superhero shows for the past 20 years have been self-consciously trying to be more grounded and realistic than the public perception of comics (although most modern comics are in fact more adult and realistic than the TV shows based on them, because the general public's stereotypes of comics are about half a century out of date). There's nothing remotely new in that.

    Heck, the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe is based on taking a "grounded," real-world approach and making superheroes work within that context -- which is why Thor is an alien rather than a god, why the characters rarely use superhero nicknames, why the first Captain America film only used the authentic costume as a bit of USO theater to be mocked, and why the first MCU TV show focuses on ordinary people without superpowers.
     
  5. ainmneacha_Nollag

    ainmneacha_Nollag Living the Irish dream. Admiral

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    Why don't you wait till it airs before you judge.
     
  6. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They may not be pulpy on the level of the 90s Flash series perhaps, but all those shows are still far more pulpy and melodramatic than most other shows you see on TV (your Good Wives, Mad Mens, Southlands, etc). That's all I'm saying.

    You only have to tune into a couple minutes of Arrow, for instance, before you realize "oh yeah, this is definitely a genre show that airs on CW."

    And from this Gotham trailer I don't get that sense, at least not immediately. And I really like that.
     
  7. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hey, I love superheroes but I totally get Heller's point that Batman sucks all the air out of the room and it's hard to have a moment of real human drama in a scene with a guy in a batsuit standing in the corner. Witness the bat signal scene in Dark Knight with Harvey Dent, Jim Gordon and Batman - the drama happens, as best it can, between Gordon and Dent, because of their conflicts with the police department and DAs office, and Batman is just a hulking set of armor. The scene was so awkward they had to spin the camera around to try to keep the audience from noticing that it was weird (which only worked about halfway). The best moment of human drama with Batman-in-mask was the interview with Joker and it mostly came about because Joker was threatening Rachel and suddenly it wasn't Batman in the room, but Bruce.

    These examples are off the top of my head and I know there are counterarguments of marvelous human drama moments with superheroes behind their masks, but the majority of those moments happen out of the costumes.

    I don't think it's "looking down" on the genre to recognize that once superheroes are in their costumes the story is generally about fisticuffs, not human drama. There are moments when that is loads of fun, or wildly dramatic and even moments where you can merge some pretty hefty human drama into the Big Action Scene - but he's right that this is not primarily what tv is about. Works great in comics and the movies, less so when you're hanging out with characters week to week. Meanwhile, superheroes are rife with terrific human drama stories, and these are often best explored around the costumes, rather than in them.
     
  8. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    After the Red John arc on The Mentalist I hope that Heller has learned not to drag out arcs too long. That arc should've ended at least two seasons ago.
     
  9. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The trailer exceeded my expectations. I think this could be a new guilty pleasure.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But why? Again, if you can tell real human drama with characters dressed in togas, or wearing powdered wigs, or any other period costume that looks strange to modern audiences, why should it be so impossible to do the same with superhero garb? Or what about science fiction? Surely by now plenty of shows have demonstrated that actors made up to look like aliens can do dramatic scenes that aren't any less effective or compelling because of the costuming and makeup. If it can work with aliens, why not superheroes?

    If you ask me, if there's something that most people assume can't be done, a great creator would see that as a challenge and try to prove that it can be done, rather than just going along with conventional wisdom and not bothering to try. The modern trend to focus on familiar human characters and shy away from exotica like alien makeups and superhero costumes strikes me as simply taking the path of least resistance.
     
  11. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ You really see no difference whatsoever between period costumes worn in period settings in which real people actually dressed like that, and mixing normal, everyday city clothes with comic-book outfits? I don't entirely disagree with your point, but in arguing the other side, you seem so be saying that overall context can be completely, 100% overcome with enough artistry, and that strikes me as a stretch.
     
  12. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Because it's not about the strangeness of how the costume looks. It's that a superhero costume has specific purposes. A superhero suited up is generally about to go into battle. Now in comics they love to have these guys just walking around doing regular stuff in their costumes, but that always strikes me as silly. Why wear a costume designed to either protect you or hide your identity while just having a chat? I hated it in the movie Excalibur when they did the rape of Igraine scene and had Uther banging her while wearing his armor. All I could think was - why try to get it on wearing 70 pounds of armor? Because the costumes have specific purposes, they are distracting unless the superhero is engaged in an activity that requires the costume.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm saying that it's easy to assume that something can't be made to work and not even bother to try, but that's not the way great stories are made. I see so many people putting so much thought and effort into arguing why something is untenable or impossible, and I can't help wonder what they'd achieve if they'd put the same thought and effort into figuring out how it could work.

    And really, I don't see how context matters. As I've said, we've seen believable, relatable character drama in period pieces, in science fiction, in fantasy, all sorts of departures from reality -- including things that blend realism with fanciful elements. Writing relatable characters isn't about where those characters are standing or what they're wearing -- it's about what's inside them, how they behave, what they feel, how they're limned by writers and portrayed by actors.

    Certainly I understand how a superhero story is beyond people's conventional expectations, but good fiction is supposed to blow people's expectations out of the water.



    So is a soldier about to go into combat. Are you saying there's never been a relatable human drama about soldiers on the battlefield?


    The issue isn't "doing regular stuff," the issue is conveying relatable human emotion and being a person as opposed to an idealized demigod. Plenty of fictional characters have been relatable and human in period or futuristic attire or in combat gear. There are plenty of understandable emotions felt by characters fighting for their lives or for the protection of others.
     
  14. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Of course not - in fact I explicitly said a couple of posts up that it is quite possible to mix relatable human drama with battle scenes.


    Of course there are, which is why there have been plenty of good superhero stories. But I think we're all aware of the superhero drift problem. The drift is not always towards becoming an idealized demigod, but it is towards accumulation of power or a need to up the stakes with more and more powerful foes - the core of the superhero genre is and always will be battle. As Heller says "TV is about emotion and character, not stunts and special effects." Once you have the costumes, you have the fight scenes - it becomes a different sort of story. Can you imagine the superhero series which has the costumes and doesn't have any superheroic battle scenes? And that's simply not the kind of story he's looking to tell. It's not condescension or dislike, it's just a pivot on the genre, telling a different sort of story within its mythos. This isn't really that radical except for the idea of extending it and making it a big push. Various one shots or 2, 3, or 4 issue comics stories have done similar things.

    I completely understand the desire to tell a story within a rich modern mythos like Batman's without it actually being bound by the strictures of the superhero genre. Like I said, I love superheroes but I find the last 30 minutes of most superhero movies tedious because they always spend that time on showing big guys smashing each other and the surrounding scenery. I know that's the genre so I accept it, but I find the idea of a different take very intriguing and I get how a writer could find that very compelling while not having much interest in superheroes in costume.
     
  15. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    looking forward to more superheroes yay
     
  16. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The trailer looked really good to me. Hopefully Fox gives this a chance if it doesn't immediately pick up an audience. As we all know, they're not very patient in that regard.
     
  17. Takeru

    Takeru Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They are as patient or impatient as every other network, in many cases they are even more patient. Neither Dollhouse or The Sarah Conner Chronicles deserved a second season looking at the ratings but they were both renewed and got another chance and they kept Fringe on the air for five seasons!
    People really have to stop with this Fox is impatient stuff, it was never true.
     
  18. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Watching the series is not compulsory.
     
  19. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    thanks for that stunning insight.
     
  20. Mach5

    Mach5 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh boy. :D

    :wtf:

    I like Bruno Heller, but he's just talking out of his ass right now. His basically dissing Christian Bale with this shit. An Academy award winner. A man who is, without any exaggeration, one of the fines actors of his generation.