While at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, I had the opportunity to watch the pilots for the upcoming Gotham, The Flash, and Constantine. These are my general thoughts.

Gotham City, a wretched place, full to the brim with corruption, murder, and lies. It takes a unique man to live in such a city, and an even stronger one to try and tame it. Introducing Detective James Gordon, a bright-eyed, but tough-as-nails cop, hell-bent on establishing some semblance of order to the beast that is Gotham.

Before Batman and his various rouges, there was James Gordon. That’s the basic premise of the new Gotham TV show. If you’ve seen the trailer, then you’ve already gotten the show’s basic essence. We have a young Bruce Wayne, reeling after his parents’ murder, a young Selina Kyle struggling to make a living on a the streets, a Penguin who hasn’t quite risen into the echelons of criminal society, and a whole cast of characters, starting out at the very beginning of their respective paths. All the while, the only character capable of bringing about any order is Gordon, but without the Batman to help him, it’s all he can do to stay alive and stay one step ahead of the criminals he pursues.

I had absolutely no doubt about the show going in, but after viewing Gotham, I’m even more convinced that this show will be a game-changer. There aren’t any superhero-themed shows quite like it; with no capes, no powers, and only characters at their most raw, Gotham offers a different and unique perspective. It works only because it doesn’t try to follow any of the conventional rules set by previous comic book movies or television shows, rather taking an entirely obtuse spin, and focusing on heroes and villains at points in their lives that people generally ignore.

Here we get to see a young Gordon and a much younger Bruce Wayne, meeting for the first time, cementing their relationship for years to come. We discover why Penguin became the crime boss he did, Poison Ivy’s childhood, Catwoman’s introduction to Bruce, and so much more. Not everyone starts in the place you expect, and it’s clear that our fine cast of characters will evolve by leaps and bounds by the time all is said and done.

Speaking of cast, whoever was responsible for casting Gotham deserves numerous accolades. Benjamin McKenzie as Gordon, young David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, the list goes on and on. Every actor encapsulates their characters with splendid precision that after just the first episode, I’m left wondering how anyone else could have played the roles.

Coming to televisions on FOX on September 22, 2014, Gotham will knock all its competitors out, leaving it standing victorious. If the pilot episode alone left such an impression on me, and the rest of the audience I viewed it with, I’m fascinated to see where the show goes. I hope it maintains the level of fresh and innovative thinking that made the first episode great and that makes Batman, and Gotham City, legendary.

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