Giving a possible explanation for why his show—which, in case you’d forgotten, is ostensibly about the god damned Batman—is the infuriating way it is, Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller has said he doesn’t think superheroes work on TV. “Probably because of the costume thing,” he added, breezing right past the ratings and success for shows like The CW’s Arrow and The Flash with an obliviousness that borders on the unrealistically superhuman.
Heller made his comments at the Edinburgh Television Festival, while talking about his show’s upcoming plan to have Jim Gordon transform from police detective to supervillain-hunting bounty hunter in the next season, a plot development rendered entirely realistic by his decision to do so in a sensible coat. ”It’s a tricky combination,” Heller said, of his TV show about a young boy’s very slow decision to dress up in a bat costume and throw razor-sharp boomerangs printed in the shape of his own self-designed logo in criminal’s faces. “Because you have to keep it real and unreal at the same time.”
Hence the reason to focus on the everyman Gordon, and keep the show’s superpowered shenanigans relatively low-key. “What’s fun to write is the moral and sort of psychological collapse of Gordon,” Heller said, and, you know what? He’s right. The slow, tragic downfall of a principled police officer is way more fun than watching a gun-hating ninja punch a human snowman and a giggling, malevolent murder clown. We don’t know what we were thinking. Gotham is great, and it comes back to Fox on September 19.