Discussion in 'Past DC TV Series' started by Binker, Apr 25, 2019.




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  1. Binker Registered

    Mar 7, 2005
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    We've been waiting for this:
    Now that GOTHAM is over, it's time to tackle the big one: SMALLVILLE VS GOTHAM!

    There is alot to say about these two shows that tell the origins of Superman and Batman in their own unique ways.

    SMALLVILLE & GOTHAM are deeply connected than you might think; a pre-Batman Bruce Wayne show was being developed back in 1999, but because WB wanted to work on the next Batman movie right away with the recent failure of BATMAN & ROBIN, and SUPERMAN V was going nowhere at that time, they went ahead and replaced Bruce Wayne with Clark Kent, and thus SMALLVILLE was born. But it didn't end there; during SMALLVILLE, the producers wanted to make a teenage Batman companion show, which didn't go through because of Nolan's DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY. This affected other attempts too, including a possible Gotham Central show. And then in 2014, while the circumstances that led to its creation were different, we got GOTHAM; and its existence meant that the original concept was finally brought to life.

    SMALLVILLE & GOTHAM were both created from two different eras of superhero media, one offering a grounded approach that lasted 10 years, while the other is more hyper-reality that lasted half that by comparison. The differences that set them apart are many despite their similarities making them the same kind in concept:

    - SMALLVILLE was about Clark, his friends and family, and future villains with Lex being the primary antagonist. GOTHAM was instead about Gordon primarily, Bruce secondary; followed by the GCPD, the city, and the villains from the corrupted to the colorful rogues that plague the city.

    - SMALLVILLE lasted for 10 years, which in turn sort of made it become their own hero's journey (via Joseph Campbell, who used 10 steps) on their young Man of Steel. The argument that was made was that it took its time (for better or for worse) in telling that story, yet it still felt longer than it needed to be. GOTHAM on the other hand was only 5 years due to the cancellation of the series, leading to its fifth and final season. While it managed to conclude its story of both Commissioner Gordon and ultimately the Dark Knight himself, the criticisms argued that it it was rushed on many occasions, with examples being of dropped plot threads.

    - SMALLVILLE dealt with Clark's future villains, whether it be proto copies, or at their beginnings like Clark was, or rarely at their prime pre-Superman's first public appearance. They also included a supporting cast of other heroes of the DCU, showing us a bigger universe Clark will connect with as his alter-ego. GOTHAM didn't have other DCU heroes, and thus was more isolated, focusing on its characters and their own mythos. While the origins of Batman's Rogues were featured, many of them from Riddler to even Mr Freeze were portrayed in their prime before Batman himself existed in their lives, which was one of the many criticisms of the show.

    - The journey of Clark becoming Superman and Bruce becoming Batman have both pros and cons, with more from one over the other when it comes to comparisons. In both cases, the producers illogically pushed back the developments of their main hero, and the reasons vary, including that of series length when in the middle of the shows' run. It can be argued that despite this, SMALLVILLE knew what it was about, down to Clark being his proto-Superman self before the finale; whereas with GOTHAM, it felt conflicted as they had to show the development of Bruce Wayne into becoming Batman, but it felt like they wanted to do the show they wanted, which was a non-Batman Gordon show, and thus they had a show that was unbalanced in the process.

    - The use of the heroes' main villains deserve a mention here. The SMALLVILLE version was Lex Luthor WAS Lex Luthor, no question, and we saw his story from the son of an evil businessman whom he would become himself, his trust breaking by the hands of those he wanted in his life (Clark, Lana), and soon he would murder his father, perform evil deeds, take control of his company, and be the ultimate nemesis of Superman. GOTHAM was different, if not odd, with the Joker. We had characters like Jerome and Jeremiah who acted like the Joker, and in the case of latter, obviously was that character, or at least somehwat close to him. This was all because the producers didn't want to use the character, but people who would inspire the Clown Prince of Crime later on in-universe. It was odd and confusing, and this also included the character of Ecco, who filled the Harley Quinn role on the show, and by accounts WAS Harley Quinn until the final episode when she was killed off. Another reason were the legal rights that prevented to use of the Joker & Harley names, as well as the characters looking like their source material counterparts that much. Making them almost not so much Joker & Harley, but Joker & Harley-type characters.

    - And finally, due to both the producers, its star, and the illogical push back: SMALLVILLE didn't have Clark as Superman until his short CGI debut in the finale's end. A finale that was 2 hours long. GOTHAM, on the other hand, had a finale that was merely an hour, and showed the Dark Knight in the shadows mostly given he was played by its teenage star and full grown stunt man, while the focus of the entire episode stuck with Gordon, as was the premise of the whole show. Ironically enough, Batman too didn't debut until the end of its final episode as well.

    There are alot more, but the primaries are those.

    With all that set up, it leads to our main topic: which is better, are any one better than the other, or are both the same: good or bad? Which did their jobs right? And what could be learned
    from them, especially inspirations from them onto future versions and incarnations.

    Speaking of that last part, lets add a bonus question:
    SMALLVILLE had inspired later Superman and superhero-related comics, media, and incarnations. Clark was incredibly relatable, characters were as real as you and your fellow humans, and viewers who didn't care nor like Superman became fans (which is something many longtime fans don't understand or accept). It wasn't the first, but it created the idea of creating outfits via real clothing; and thanks to its success, it paved the way for superhero and comic book television in our current modern age. There is so much more, but SMALLVILLE has had major influences from within and outside the show.

    What does GOTHAM accomplish? What can people take from the show and put them in future Batman and comic book related mediums? Or is there nothing to take at all?

    Ladies and Gentlemen, begin!
  2. jondoe Registered

    Jan 25, 2010
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    I LOVE Both in Their Own special way.. I Grew up w/ SMALLVILLE.

    IF it NOT for SMALLVILLE I would Not be introduced to Superman in the 1st place.

    Yes! Smallville was My intro to Supes before Chris Reeve movies.

    Probably Why I prefer Zack Snyder's MoS / BvS version of Superman.

    SMALLVILLE shape Me as the DC Comics fan I am today.

    And GOTHAM is My guilty pleasure. I view it as an Elseworld take on the Bat mythos combining the campy over the top Adam West 60s show and Tim Burtons dark gothic and macabre of GOTHAM City and its residents.

    I prefer GOTHAM because I'm obviously more of a BATMAN fan.
  3. X Knight Straight Edge

    Apr 27, 2005
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    I would say Smallville was better because it at least focused on Clark as the main character. It was Clark's journey that spanned 10 seasons.

    With Gotham focusing on Gordon as the main character, it diluted Bruce's story and his journey in becoming Batman.

    as I pointed out in the Finale thread, Gotham should have more closely followed the Year One story with Gordon as a rookie cop and 20-something Bruce starting out as a crimefighter.

    it would have been much more effective as a prequel/origin series if it had taken that route, imo.
  4. Binker Registered

    Mar 7, 2005
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    I thought there would be more talk about this topic. :/
  5. Mandon Knight We did it......

    May 1, 2014
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    Okay, now we are talking.....

    Smallville, obvs....
  6. Ozbridge Registered

    Apr 30, 2016
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    To be honest there aren't a lot of SHH members who actually watch all of Gotham. You can see that despite higher ratings (among general audience) the Gotham episode threads don't generate even half the discussion compared to the Arrowverse episode threads (the influx of discussion in 5x12 thread is 50% coming from people who only watch 5x12). I myself watch Gotham regularly but I dropped Smallville after season 3, so I can't really compare the two shows.

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