The Primetime Battle facing “Gotham”!

by JC Alvarez
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It’s about to be brought! In one primetime corner there’s the darkly sinister prequel-series Gotham on FOX, and rising to meet the challenge of this ratings hit — enter the Maid of Might Supergirl on CBS! On the one hand, there’s the dangerously intriguing premise of taking the focus off of the Batman mythology and taking it to the gritty streets of the city that birthed the Dark Knight, and on the other side of the spectrum its up, up and away with the Man of Steel’s cousin now carrying the weight of the responsibility that comes with that famous cape.

In its first season Gotham FOX nabbed the Bruno Heller helmed crime-drama, which is stylistically timeless and not necessarily set in previously established cannon. It’s not an (exact) prequel to the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy or the original 1989 Tim Burton film that practically launched Hollywood’s modern era fascination with the comic book world. The pilot set up the story by introducing the ambitious Jim Gordon (played by Ben McKenzie). The detective’s first case leads him into a murderous crime scene, and the one living victim — and young Bruce Wayne.

It isn’t long before Gordon learns how deeply the corruption runs, especially in his own GCPD. It isn’t long before an all-out gang war erupts and a power struggle between the leading crime families leads to major power plays and the crafty maneuvering of an aspiring lackey named Oswald Copplepot (Robin Lord Taylor) who becomes a dangerous wildcard given the name otherwise innocent monicker of “Penguin”. Oswald’s calamitous rise to power, as one of the city’s most ruthless gangsters, is perhaps one of the show’s most intriguing storylines.

Hitting several highs and lows during its Season One Gotham established many of the more famous members of Batman’s rogues gallery including Riddler, Victor Zsasz, and even more contemporary foes like the Dollmaker. It also gave fans a look at a young Selina Kyle — before Catwoman, and the potentially venomous Poison Ivy — all have turned up and set their foot in the concrete of what’s to come. The second season is also promising the “Rise of the Villains” turning Gotham into a much more dangerous place to live!

The already established and time-tested team of Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, the minds behind both The CW’s hit series Arrow and its proper spin-off The Flash have earned the title of caretakers of the DC Comics televised universe. With two successful series based on DC comic book characters running simultaneously, the producers are about to expand on the entertainment spectrum introducing a third, original, mid-season replacement series that will guarantee The CW’s dominance over live-action DC Comics adventures all year long in primetime.

When DC’s Legends of Tomorrow launches in January, it’ll pick-up where Arrow and The Flash leave off and the two heroes will join the ranks of the time-traveling Rip Hunter’s ragtag team of “legends” to stop the immortal threat of the tyrannical Vandal Savage. Though Savage may pose an immediate danger to the long bow hunter and speedster, he’s not the imminent threat or even something that Gordon’s GCPD would be able to handle. No…there’s something else that Gotham should be worrying about and it leaps tall buildings in a single bound.

The last time that CBS had a superhero in primetime it was another Scarlet Speed that was running on the speed force. John Wesley Shipp was starring in the “original” version of The Flash in the role of police scientist Barry Allen, so it was a natural fit that 25 years later the actor would return to Central City, this time playing opposite Grant Gustin, this generation’s Barry Allen as the hero’s father Henry Allen. That series ran for only one season, but nonetheless established itself as a fan favorite and has actually been paid homage to several times in its contemporary.

When CBS returns to the DC Comics universe, it’ll have Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg both to thank for giving the network its newest star. Supergirl starring former Glee cast member Melissa Benoist in the title role as the Man of Steel’s famous cousin. It’s particularly important that the “big guy’s” name isn’t mentioned in conjunction to Supergirl especially not as Kara Zor-El or Danvers as she is known on Earth, begins her adventure. It’s also important to establish that Supergirl is not (necessarily) in the same primetime continuity as Arrow and The Flash.

Kara’s adventure begins when she is rocketed to Earth to care for her infant cousin, but something goes wrong and along the way her ship gets lost and her journey takes longer than anyone anticipated. Her cousin is all grown up and is one of planet’s greatest defenders, but his arrival on Earth has opened up the realization that we are not alone in the universe. Not everyone is happy with this fact. In order to keep her safe, the truth about Kara’s alien origins are kept hidden, and for most of her life it’s a secret that the young woman is more than willing to keep.

That is until Kara, now herself all grown up, learns that something or somethings — may have followed her on her path to earth, and now her adopted home and family are in danger from alien criminals set on vengeance. Kara now has no choice but to reveal herself as the Maid of Steel and take her place alongside her famous cousin as one of the most powerful heroes on the planet —Supergirl! It won’t be easy, but Kara will have some friends along the way in the form of one big city editorial photographer who’s a real pal.

While the palette of television superheroes have mostly all been high on testosterone, the canvas is about to get a healthy dose of estrogen. Super-powered ladies have had a place grabbing loyal audiences. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one example, but with Supergirl arriving on the scene, suddenly there is something new and exciting to tune into. The gloom and doom of Gotham may get potentially over-shadowed by the red-caped, faster than a bullet, more powerful than a locomotive Supergirl that is also much more closer in tone to its CW cousins.

With The Flash also opening portals (52 in all) to ”infinite earths” the possibility that network brass will bow to fans expectations and link the two universes has unprecedented storytelling potential — not to mention: huge ratings! Time will tell, but in all immediacy — where will you be spending your Monday nights at 8 o’clock when the depths of Gotham’s shadows go head-to-head with Krypton’s other greatest export?

Gotham airs on FOX Monday nights at 8pm, and Supergirl premieres on CBS Monday night at 8pm.

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