EDITORIAL: The GOTHAM Series Confuses DC's TV & Cinematic Univserses
With the announcement of the GOTHAM TV series, many are excited to see Jim Gordon’s exploits on the small screen. I am not convinced, and I think this development is a misstep for DC. Will this result in a cluttered multiverse? Hit the jump for more.
I have a big problem with the announcement of a Gotham series. In fact, I’m already overwhelmed with the potential for a humongous continuity cluster[frick]. We are about to be privy to three separate live-action universes (and counting) containing DC characters! That's not a good thing. Despite DC’s apparent efforts to cultivate a movie universe that encapsulates all of their characters, they will now also have a plethora of heroes over on The CW, as well as a cadre of Batman characters over on FOX, none of which are likely to be sharing the same universe.
Let’s face it, they can’t be expected to put an unknown like Grant Gustin next to Ben Affleck in the blockbuster Justice League film, nor should they be. That’s ok though, two separate worlds: a film universe and a TV universe, I can still get behind that. But now they add another show, that doesn’t really have a place in either? I don’t know about that. FOX and the CW are completely different networks so the notion of Gotham interacting with Arrow is also logically out of the question.
Likewise, Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer are clearly doing their own thing and are not going to feel beholden to this prequel series. Yet, because the show is set chronologically before Batman (and Arrow and The Flash, I might add), anything it does would have repercussions into the future, further strengthening the thought that these will have nothing to do with each other due to probable differences in continuity. That’s to say nothing of the development of Constantine over at NBC, which only further confuses the issue. It’s like DC is building it’s own multiverse on screen, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. We don’t need another X-Men type debacle of continuity not lining up.
The Gotham series also painfully highlights a point that’s pretty hard for me to swallow as a huge DC fan: they're still struggling to be original. It’s ironic that, unless Christopher Nolan is involved, this company that’s made a living on creating multitudes of unique heroes and worlds has no idea how to adapt these properties without looking over at the competition and copying them. It’s pretty apparent that this series has been inspired by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I mean they announced it during the premiere for crying out loud! S.H.I.E.L.D. is a show about the everyman agents who deal with extraordinary things when superheroes aren’t around and Gotham is going to do, well, the exact same thing. If DC is going to
copy borrow from Marvel, the least they can do is implement a completely shared universe.
If anything, DC should be moving away from what Marvel’s doing and carve out their own strategy to succeed. Rather than assigning each separate film a fitting genre like Marvel has, build them all with one consistent tone (preferably not an overabundance of Nolan realism). That way, it would feel natural for any character to walk in at any time, unlike say, if the darkly comic Iron Man were to suddenly appear in Shakespearian Asgard or something to that effect.
In fact, they could extrapolate that premise and use their two separate universes to create two vastly different takes on their heroes. DC can cultivate success by differentiating their two universes and creating two unique, but equally enjoyable experiences. Use a touch of realism for the small screen and more scaled-down, serialized, crime-based conflicts to counterbalance the larger than life nature of the film universe. They’ve started this on The CW and will presumably begin to set a constant tone with Batman vs Superman, but now, they’re adding on what, a procedural cop show universe? Where does Gotham fit in?
All of this is not to say that Gotham cannot be a good show. There’s a lot of potential good fits for the role (I like the idea of Joshua Jackson, personally), there’s a smart creator involved and there’s some great source material to draw from. There’s no problem with the specific show, just the way it’s being handled and what that says about DC as a whole. How can we put our faith in them when they seem to be so haphazard and disorganized when it comes to adapting their properties? I want to root for them but decisions like this one are really leaving me scratching my head as to whether there’s even a plan or if they’re just signing away all of their secondary characters to different networks as quickly as they can. Though it’s hard to face it, their process does not show the intricate care or creativity which has made Marvel so successful, and that worries me for the collective live-action future of my favorite comic company's heroes.
You read my thoughts, what do you think? Is this overabundance of DC shows going to be confusing? Are they just copying Marvel’s TV efforts? Am I not giving the show a fair chance? Let me know in the comments.
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