‘Gotham’ Walks Back ‘Superheroes Don’t Work on TV’ Comment
Not that Gotham has ever stood as a pillar of comic adaptations, but executive producer Bruno Heller made some surprising comments in recent weeks, to suggest “I don’t think superheroes work very well on TV” overall. Now, producers attempt to clarify the remarks, saying “some things are better executed in film and some things are better executed in TV.”
Heller first made the comments at last month’s Edinburgh Television Festival, suggesting that costumed superheroes would disrupt the balance of Gotham’s “crime procedural and a mythic, epic, grand comic book saga.” Superhero TV fans in general were understandably taken aback, to which executive producer Ken Woodruff attempted to specify Heller’s meaning with The Hollywood Reporter:
I think I can help clarify his statement. There’s a reason why he chose to develop a show that took place before the actual fully-realized Batman. He thought that that was the best way to tell stories on the medium of television. It was about the origins and it was about real people and how they evolved and became the villains and heroes that we know and we’ve seen in comics and in feature films. A lot of that is just pragmatic and TV is a much more intimate medium sometimes than film can be.
You’re living with these people, you’re spending 22 hours with them over the course of a season as opposed to two hours. They’re in your living room. They’re part of your life in a much more intimate way than maybe film characters can be. When you have a cape on and you’re a superhero, there’s a level of attachment there. They’re otherworldly and godlike in that way. That’s what Bruno was talking about.
In particular, Woodruff acknowledged the success of other superhero series in the medium, distinguishing Gotham as having chosen to emphasize Batman’s origin, rather than recognizable imagery.
I think that the world for sure works really well on TV. There’s so much success lately and so many shows that are on that have to deal with comic worlds and these superhero worlds and characters. But I think that was Bruno being specific about his take and wanting to really defend his choice to do a show about the origins of Batman and these villains as opposed to living in a world where the Batmobile already exists. But yeah, I think they can work.
The biggest thing is just money-wise. Some of these movies are so expensive to make it look real with the computer effects and not only that but the timeline. I mean, TV is on such a truncated schedule. Maybe some things are better executed in film and some things are better executed in TV.
Gotham will kick off the superhero TV season by its Season 3 premiere tonight, but does Woodruff have a point about the Bat-prequel attempting something very different from its comic TV peers? Watch the latest trailers below.
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