Fox Television’s ‘Gotham’ has a nice scam going. During its heavy and rather effective marketing promotions, the show was touted as a pre-Batman exploration of a doomed city. With detective James Gordon presiding as the lone voice of justice and truth, we’d get to see his struggles against the bad things that preceded familiar horrors. Instead, what we’ve been getting is a reverse where are they now? filled with younger versions of Batman’s rogue’s gallery. And it’s not going to stop, but rather pick up speed with the introductions of Harvey Dent, Hugo Strange, and today’s announcement: Jonathan Crane. Are we leaning too heavily toward the kitsch of character origins at the expense of meaty storytelling? Judge away.

gotham crane

‘Gotham’ has already shown us a big chunk of future Batman foes, and it seems they get off on it. Next up, the terrifying Scarecrow is set to make his debut. A psychiatrist who specializes in phobias, Jonathan Crane can induce your worst fears through druggy gases, syringes, etc., making you go batshit crazy with fright. The show’s executive producer Danny Cannon spoke at Comikaze, revealing some terrifying new plans:

“We’re breaking the story now, the villain will be seen as a child, before he takes on the Scarecrow moniker. In fact, it’s something that will be passed on to him from his father, which will create an eventual enemy for Batman while still having an adversary for Jim Gordon.”

So there ya go. The Scarecrow gets the Jango and Boba Fett treatment with big daddy stirring up fear around town and passing the skills on down to his son. The poor kid never had a chance. And neither did this show if that’s the foundation they’re building the series on. I cringed hard when Poison Ivy peeked her shaggy little head into episode one. Ed Nigma’s very presence in the police department is ridiculous. Well-handled, but ridiculous. Easily the best character arc is that of Oswald Cobblepot’s early days of psychopathic creepiness. And it’s becoming too evident that they’re reaching for ways to make Selina Kyle relevant. At first my favorite character, her self-titled episode was a snooze-fest. Also, I’m loving young Bruce Wayne, but I’d also appreciate a little less of him. Gordon spends too much time at this little kid’s house trying to make him also seem relevant. The series is wasting too much time with exposition and needless plots just to showcase Bat-villains and pre-teen vigilantes.

I’m gonna come clean here. I like the idea of Papa Scarecrow coming in and mixing things up with his special brand of terror. I just think we’re getting too many Batman foes. We really don’t need Mr. Freeze. Ever. And I’m rolling my eyes at the eventual appearance of Jack Napier, the Joker. It’s a smart show with unmatched art direction, costume design and great casting. They’ve got what it takes to make the show work and don’t need to use these characters as a crutch. In fact, I think my favorite episode so far was ‘The Balloonman.’ It beautifully weaved the wackiness of old school Batman traps with a smart underworld story of corruption. That episode gave me hope that the folks behind the curtain were onto something daring and creative. But it looks like they’re just too dead set on riding the safe coattails of established players to get them by.


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