Gotham executive producer Bruno Heller told the crowd at the Edinburgh Television Festival on Thursday that superheroes “don’t work very well” on TV. Maybe that’s why there haven’t been any superheroes in his DC show.
“The comic book constituency has become so large and visible with the whole Comic-Con thing that it is very easy to assume that the audience is purely comic book enthusiasts,” Heller told those in attendance at the festival in Scotland. “But I operate the show on the basis that it is a mistake to just go there.”
He’s not wrong. A lot of people who tuned into these popular shows aren’t comic book experts. That’s why, if we’re being honest, our primers on obscure comic characters do well.
That said, Heller’s other statements are pretty bizarre – at least, coming from someone whose job it is to put on a show about a superhero’s origin. “TV is about real people and faces, and not so much about magic and the supernatural things,” he said. No one tell him about Supergirl or The Flash.
It should be noted that Gotham isn’t about superheroes. Portraying Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) before he becomes the vengeful Batman, Gotham is a gothic crime drama that is half gritty realism, half bonkers science fiction. There’s hardly anything fantastical in Gotham, but next season is going to have Poison Ivy age from a preteen to a young adult because she meets a monster who rebirths her into a grown woman. But, you know, realism.
“Every season is moving towards the world, in which Batman has to emerge to save the day,” said Heller. “So every season is doubling down on the chaos and anarchy that is overtaking Gotham. So, things keep getting worse.”
Yes, we’re sure.
Gotham returns September 19 to Fox.