TV Turf Wars: Gotham vs The Flash
As we slowly defrost from our favourite shows’ winter hiatuses, we think it’s time to ask some weighty questions about the programmes we can’t get enough of at the moment.
First up in TVDaily’s series of TV Turf Wars, DC headliners Gotham and The Flash are put head-to-head, and tested on every criterion from our emotional investment in their cast and characters, to the ingenuity of their comic book adaptations. Basically, we’ve prepared a beautiful collage of the best Gotham/Flash content on the web.
So, without further ado, may the battle of the superheroes commence! [Well, technically Gotham isn’t really a superhero show… Yet. We’re still waiting for young Master Bruce to spread his tiny bat wings, and do something a little more heroic than hovering his hand over a scented candle and sorting through old case files with his manny Alfred]…
ROUND 1: IMDB points
Easing us into the on-screen worlds of Gotham and Central City – a crucial factor to securing fan favour in any show’s debut season – are a host of familiar faces. Here are some of our favourite precursing roles from the stars and supports of Gotham:
In the hazy days of the noughties, Ben McKenzie (Jim Gordon) made teenaged girls everywhere swoon as wrong-side-of-the-tracks nice-guy-cum-bad-boy, Ryan Atwood in The OC.
Meanwhile, David Mazouz (young Bruce Wayne) was even tinier, and played Robert California’s creepy son Bert in The Office…
And the sickly son of a killer in Criminal Minds.
Long before all that, Carol Kane (the Penguin’s batty mother, Gertrude Kapelput) was a big movie star who appeared in Annie Hall, The Princess Bride, and Scrooged.
And what hasn’t British veteran actor Sean Pertwee (Alfred Pennyworth) been in? Here he is in Dog Soldiers:
[Bonus fact: Sean’s daddy Jon Pertwee played the Third Doctor in the ’60s! Could this guy get any cooler?!)
And in The Flash?
Main speedster Grant Gustin (Barry Allen) divided audiences as the boyfriend-stealing Sebastian Smythe from Glee‘s Dalton Academy Warblers.
Jesse L. Martin, who plays lovable detective Joe West, played yet another lovable detective, Ed Green, in Law and Order.
Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell, who play partners in crime Captain Cold and Heatwave, played partners in crime (kind of) Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows in Prison Break.
Perhaps coolest of all, John Wesley Shipp, who plays Barry Allen’s dad (A.K.A Father of the Flash) in the new series, was actually Barry Allen himself in the 1990s version of The Flash!
It has also been confirmed that another Flash veteran will be returning to Central City in episodes to come. Mark Hamill, who consistently foiled Barry Allen as The Trickster, will reprise his memorable role as the villain in 2015. Here he is tormenting The Flash with some very hi-tech machinery.
We’re also loving the crossover appearances of characters from Arrow, such as Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak.
So, until Gotham recruits Adam West for a cameo appearance, the heartwarming spirit of reunion sees The Flash win this round.
ROUND 2: One-liners
Much like their comic book beginnings, both shows have their fair share of one-liners.
Gotham‘s Harvey Bullock is always quick to bring Gordon down a peg with his acidic jibes (try searching Twitter for #Bullockisms):
While Alfred’s tough love approach to emo Bruce always has us in stitches.
There’s also Edward Nigma, A.K.A The Riddler, who’s been living up to his namesake and churning out a conundrum per episode; unfortunately, none as well-delivered as Jim Carrey’s in Batman Forever.
(^It’s ice, by the way)
Meanwhile, The Flash delivers on a more pun-based humour, chiefly from everyone’s favourite nerd and name-maker, Cisco Ramon.
But has anyone else noticed how Dr Harrison Wells has been totally hilarious lately?
Considering the more serious tone of Gotham, its subtle blend of humour and sincerity arguably requires more careful execution than that of the light and fluffy Flash. As such, we’re giving this gong to Gotham!
ROUND 3: Engagement with canon
When it comes to characters, Gotham has already put a lot of its cards on the table by clumsily introducing almost every major name in the Batman canon in its first few episodes (luckily Oracle and Robin are mere twinkles in their fathers’ eyes at this point). Admittedly, many of these have a lot of room for development. We’re excited to see Harvey Dent’s character blossom [geek fact – Nicholas D’Agosto, who plays Harvey Dent, previously appeared as Hunter in The Office, with none other than young Bruce Wayne himself, David Mazouz] and the Scarecrow story is still waiting in the wings. Most importantly, the show’s producers are keeping tight-lipped about one particular piece of the puzzle; The Joker.
However, we like that The Flash has been keeping most of its cards close to its chest, allowing its characters to evolve more organically as the season progresses. Perhaps because the story of The Flash has been explored on screen less exhaustively than that of Batman, the CW show is able to be more creative in its treatment of characters such as Reverse-Flash, Killer Frost, Eddie Thawne and Iris West (readers of the comics will know what we’re talking about here, but we won’t spoil anything..). The potentialities of these characters have us more intrigued and excited than the central ‘who shot Mr and Mrs Wayne’ mystery that even Gotham‘s writers themselves seem to have forgotten about. The Flash wins this round.
ROUND 4: Romantic sub-plots
While almost everyone on the internet wishes hell fire to rain down on Barbara, we love that the show has innovated her relationship with Renee Montoya. (While we’re at it, can we just say that we’re seriously digging the gender and ethnic diversity of both shows?! We only wish that Montoya were given a more three-dimensional role in Gotham, à la the Gotham Central graphic novels).
We’ve also been moved by the forbidden tenderness between Liza and Falcone, titillated by the odd Oedipal chemistry between the Penguin and his mother, and somewhat nauseated by the budding puppy love between Bruce and Selina. While these stories add texture to Gotham, they err of the side of inconsequential filler compared to the greatest love story of our generation; that of Barry and Iris in The Flash.
Where we feel Gotham is somewhat lacking in humanity, The Flash is simply brimming with sentimentality, which we of the Smallville Generation are embracing to the fullest. It’s not just the Barry/Iris\Eddie love triangle that has us gushing, but also the numerous heartwarming friendships tying together the CCPD and the guys at S.T.A.R Labs – ie. the bromances and womances – that have given the show its special place in our hearts. Yet another round to The Flash!
So the results are in, and The Flash has sped ahead of Gotham in the TV stakes! Don’t take our word for it though – ratings for both shows have been super solid, and we’re overjoyed that both have been renewed for a second season. The success also bodes well for the string of DC movies set to hit big screens in the next couple of years, such as the much anticipated Batman vs. Superman, and Suicide Squad.
Finally, to show that there are no hard feelings, here’s an adorable pic of Grant Gustin, David Mazouz, and Stephen Amell. D’awww.