Gotham's showrunner doesn't think superheroes work well on television

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Aug 26, 2016, 3:59 PM EDT

Superheroes are pretty much taking over television these days, but the man behind Fox’s Batman prequel series still isn’t sold on the genre as a whole.

Bruno Heller, showrunner of Fox’s Gotham, talked about the larger landscape of the superhero genre at the Edinburgh Television Festival. Though there are several excellent superhero shows such as Flash, Arrow, Daredevil, etc. (some of which are arguably better than his own show, natch) on the dial right beside his series, Heller said he doesn’t believe superheroes “work very well” on television. 

The insight helps explain why they opted to make Jim Gordon the protagonist of the series instead of Batman, and why we haven’t really seen anyone suit up (bad guys aside) throughout the entire run. 

Here’s an excerpt from his comments via The Hollywood Reporter, and we’ll unpack a little more below:

“I don’t think superheroes work very well on TV. Probably because of the costume thing. TV is about real people and faces, and not so much about magic and the supernatural things … 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. But I operate the show on the basis that it is a mistake to just go there…

It has to be both a crime procedural and a mythic, epic, grand comic book saga. It’s a tricky combination, because you have to keep it real and unreal at the same time. Every season is moving towards the world, in which Batman has to emerge to save the day. So every season is doubling down on the chaos and anarchy that is overtaking Gotham. So, things keep getting worse.”

Okay. Heller makes a fair point, that it is hard to pull off a comic book story on the small screen. But it certainly can be done. And done well. Does it fit for every story? Not really, and though Gotham can be a mess at times, it’s managed to find some fans and can really be a lot of fun when everything hits just right. So in this case, sure, it makes some sense.

But let’s be real: If you had the option between a Batman TV series and more Gotham, what would you really choose?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)