Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I want to take a moment to talk about the DC Universe currently being brought to life on the small screen. Taking Starling City as presented in CW’s Arrow and Gotham in Fox’s Gotham as the two shows currently shining brightly and with the most episodes to date to talk about. Yes, Flash now has two episodes out of the box, and will probably garner a few remarks, but Arrow is entering its third season, and with four very solid episodes already out Gotham has a head start on Flash in the department of world and character building.
Over the course of two seasons the CW has shown on Arrow that they can build a solid world. Without a doubt that may be one of the show’s greatest accomplishments. Someone who has never read the comic books (myself for instance) can come to the show, a novice when it comes to all of the characters, jump right in with the first episode, and understand virtually everything they are seeing and being exposed to. Arrow takes the time to explain the things that need explaining, and speaks with authority about things like ARGUS so even when I am not sure what the abbreviation stands for, I am positive it holds meaning in their universe and if I needed to know, they would, in that moment at least, make sure I knew (whether or not I retain the information for the long haul).
Gotham‘s first four episodes do a wonderful job of bringing to life the complex world in which Bruce Wayne evolved from a confused boy seeing his parents brutally murdered into the man we will all come to know as Batman. He is, right now, learning, discovering, in so many ways he is witnessing and becoming. Directly and indirectly Bruce Wayne is being influenced by Gotham, and Gotham is helping the boy (whether it means to or not) form the foundation that will in turn create Batman. Alfred and Detective James Gordon are solid male role models in his life. Trying to help to understand what he is seeing, trying to explain the complexities of the world around him, and make sense of the way the adult world operates — recognizing that it is not always right, and sometimes our first instinct of what to do, what feels like an easy way to help is not necessarily the best way in which to offer aid.
Where Arrow is full of action and intensity as Oliver Queen and team Arrow take down those who have failed Starling City, Bruce Wayne feels powerless as he is forced by his age and lack of skills to sit by and watch the goings on of a corrupt Gotham. Gotham is a show about the underside of a city, about the mob-era the inspired a boy to become so much more than it is likely anyone ever imagined he might be, and the criminals who challenged him, inspired him, and convinced him someone had to stand up for what was right, and give his city hope that Gotham could become a better place to live.
Gotham airs Mondays on FOX at 8 PM / 7 Central
Arrow airs Wednesdays on CW at 8 PM / 7 Central
If you haven’t already — check out our Arrow Podcasts:
Arrow Season 2 Podcast – a spoiler filled discussion of Season 2 with John Mayo of ComicBookPage and Kay Kellam of PopArtsPlace
Arrow Season 1 Podcast – A spoiler filled discussion of Season 1 of Arrow, with John Mayo of ComicBookPage and Kay Kellam of PopArtsPlace