If there was any lingering doubt that Fox’s upcoming drama “Gotham” would share very little with the camp-happy ’60s series “Batman,” “Gotham” executive producer Bruno Heller put it to rest during the panel for the series at the Television Critics Association panel for the show on Sunday.
Asked about the disturbing nature of the violence on “Gotham,” given that the series revolves around a bunch of characters that have traditionally appealed to children, Heller asserted that violence should be presented in a jarring way.
“Violence, when you show it, should be disturbing,” Heller insisted, adding that painting violence as disturbing is “the only moral way” to portray it.
“This is a crime story and crime is violence, essentially,” Heller continued. “If this was not a crime show, then violence would be inappropriate, but once you’re in that world, it’s morally correct to make it disturbing.”
Besides, Heller noted, it’s not like the various iterations of Batman haven’t explored disturbing territory in the past.
“We’re not taking this somewhere it hasn’t been before,” Heller said, calling Adam West’s portrayal of the caped crusader “an anomalous Batman.”
“He’s always been the darker side of the id; he’s not Superman,” Heller noted.
Even so, Heller noted, “Gotham” being a network show, he’s working under “the full understanding that Fox will keep us within the standards” that the network deems appropriate.
During the panel — which included series stars Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, Robin Lord Taylor, Camren Bicondova — Heller discussed other ways in which “Gotham” will mesh — or not — with the rich Batman mythology created by DC Comics. For instance, the fact that Gotham will contain the villains that Batman has traditionally done battle with, but no Batman. (The series explores the origins of Batman baddies such as the Riddler, the Penguin and Catwoman.)
Heller told reporters that he doesn’t think its a problem to show a series based in the Batman mythology with no Batman.
That’s the situation that the show is all about, is, how do you deal with crime of this level when there are no superheroes?” Heller said. “It’s about men and women, not about superheroes, and to me that’s the more interesting story.”