Millions of eyes will be looking toward Gotham this fall. Details about the upcoming Fox series have been leaking slowly out. We know the basic premise, some of the featured characters, and the actors who will play them. Now we’re finally starting to get some particulars about the show’s pilot, which has already been picked up for the season.
The folks over at io9 have procured a copy of the pilot script, marked “Second Network Draft.” The screenplay, dated Jan. 31, 2014, seems a bit rough. Keep in mind that a TV script isn’t final until it’s been filmed, so there’s still plenty of time to refine it. Spoilers below.
We’re introduced to Jim Gordon as a fledgling detective with the Gotham Police. His jaded partner, Harvey Bullock, gives him a tour of the city while trying to solve the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. You know, because murders of important citizens get assigned to detectives so green that they haven’t even toured the city yet.
One of the main problems with Gotham‘s script seems to be that it, like many pilots, has so much exposition to get out of the way. They include so many characters that Jim and Harvey seem to be unable to hold a conversation without someone new wandering in and needing to be introduced. We meet Bruce Wayne, Alfred, Renee Montoya, The Penguin, The Riddler, a 14-year old Catwoman., and a little girl named Ivy with a lot of plants in her house. I’m really starting to hope that this is a fake script, because anyone writing a Batman-related project ought to know that Poison Ivy’s real name is Pamela.
The other major problem is the heavy-handed application of 30′s-style gangster lingo. Obviously, if you’re setting a show in Gotham City, you’re going to want to include some touches of noir. Unfortunately, from what I’ve heard, it’s laid on a little too think. There was a liberal application of terms like “mopes,” “loonybirds,” “skell huggers, “sugar bunnies,” and “a cool glass of milk.” Personally, I think it’s appropriate for Bullock to speak that way, but it should be toned back for the rest of the cast.
Overall, I think Gotham has potential. The script doesn’t sound great, but most series aren’t represented very well by the pilot episode. If this is a real script, it will definitely be revised before they shoot. Focus on your main characters in the first episode; Gordon, Bullock, Bruce Wayne, and Alfred. Start sprinkling all the others in with episode two. The writers just need to realize that they’ve already got a series, so they don’t need to write a typical pilot.