When Joss Whedon and the powers that be at Marvel announced they were bringing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the small screen many people wondered if DC might do the same with their critically popular, although commercially unsuccessful series, Gotham Central. In fact, Gotham Central has been on the Hollywood radar before, back when Christopher Nolan was still working on his Dark Knight trilogy.
Gotham Central was written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, with pencils initially by Michael Lark. The series won the following awards:
Eisner Award – Best Serialized Story 2004 – Half a Life (Gotham Central #6-10).
Harvey Award – Best Single Issue or Story 2004 – Half a Life (Gotham Central #6-10). Tied with Love & Rockets #9.
Gaylactic Spectrum Award – Best Other Work 2004 – Half a Life (Gotham Central #6-10). Tied with Angels in America.
So what happened? Why didn’t the series move forward? There are a number of reasons. Many of which Ed Brubaker recently talked about with USA Today (Psst, he also chatted with them about the filming script for Winter Soldier),
Q. With Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD about to premiere, all sorts of people think a Gotham Central show is totally doable now, too.
A. The book is actually more popular now than when we were doing it. There’s been talk of Gotham Central on TV since when we were doing the comic even (in the mid-2000s). Everyone at Warner Bros. really loved it. Chris Nolan after they did Birds of Prey had asked them to just please not do any Batman-related stuff until he was done with his trilogy — looking at Birds of Prey, you can see why. It was not the world’s greatest pilot.
Every season, I wait to see if they’re going to announce something like that, and just a couple of months ago there was some article in the Hollywood Reporter about them supposedly developing it. I haven’t heard any confirmation on it or anything. You can easily see it.
It’s bizarre to me. Since my career began, the entire entertainment world has changed the way they deal with comics.
So, Nolan’s request slowed down any chance of Gotham Central, or any other Batman related series, from development, but that was then and this is now.
With DC scrambling to create a cohesive movie universe like Marvel Studios, a television show like Gotham Central, which could easily dovetail with the CW’s Arrow, might just be the ticket they need to jump-start a number of other DC characters to either the small or big screen.
What makes this whole thing a mind twister is that these days DC can’t seem to put all the puzzle pieces together to make a TV series. Just look at the recent debacle that was David E. Kelly’s Wonder Woman. That was a royal mess, from concept to costume.When the CW’s Arrow is the one current show you can point your finger to, it makes one wonder, and I love that show.
I have to say that the problem as I see it is that DC can’t seem to match up the creative people who KNOW the character to those actually doing the production work. Seriously, David E. Kelly is a talented television writer, but look at his shows: Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Boston Legal, and Harry’s Law. Do any of those scream super-hero drama? No they scream, “Let’s make Wonder Woman a crazy lawyer with personal relationship problems… and pants, let’s put her in pants.”
I guarantee that if Gail Simone or someone who knew the character had been put in the room with Kelly during conception, things would have been different. That’s the key, let’s look at Arrow again.
The series was developed for television by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg. There it is, one guy that wrote Green Arrow comics, one guy that edited both Marvel and DC comics, and one guy that has worked successfully in television. Blend those three and you get Arrow.
Production cost wise, Gotham Central would not be that hard to produce. It would be a procedural cop drama with the occasional super-hero-slash-villain stopping by.
What do you think, would Gotham Central make a good television show? Would you tune in to watch?