Here’s what I WOULDN’T do in the pilot: Kill Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Instead, open with the Waynes sneaking out of a charity event, confronted by punks with malfeasance on their minds. Then the Waynes are SAVED by young Lt. Gordon.
Have Gordon become a friend to the Waynes, get to know young Bruce during happier times. The prince of the city and its knight defender. Gordon educates Thomas about where the city is hurting the most and Thomas begins directing his charities towards addressing those ills.
Show us who these men are before tragedy.
THEN, either halfway through or at the end of the first season, you have the Waynes at a similar event — make it a charity screening of Zorro — sneaking out the back, and getting gunned down. Without Gordon there to save them.
That way, the Gordon who drapes his jacket over a heartbroken boy isn’t a stranger being nice to an orphan, he’s a distraught man also grieving the loss of dear friends. Of good people in a bad world.
What’s more, he feels personally responsible for both the death of his friends and the life of their son. Let him become a surrogate father to the orphaned Bruce Wayne — and have his paternal impulses conflict with Alfred’s. They both care for the boy and both think they know what’s best for him. New stepdad vs. old stepdad.
But Bruce, not yet aware of the realities of the world — not yet realizing that Jim Gordon wasn’t his father’s personal bodyguard, not understanding that the police can’t be everywhere to save everyone — blames and resents Gordon.
Conflict, entanglements, bonds. Drama.
And you firmly establish Gotham as a show about James Gordon — the things he stands for, the people he loves, his quest to make the city a safer place — not just waiting for Batman to arrive.
But that’s just me.
(Collected and expanded from Twitter.)
I was a staff writer for the first season of Syfy’s Alphas television show. It was one of the best jobs I ever had. The other writers and producers and staffers were smart and enthusiastic and welcoming to me, a rookie who’d never been in a writers’ room before. We were able to define the characters as we went, the fiction coming alive a little more each day. I got to write my first-ever hour of TV and it was a haunting, magical experience and I wouldn’t change a thing about it…even the fact that I was 3,000 miles away from my wife and children for four months. Living the dream made it worth it.
When the second season rolled around, there were lots of changes on the staff, from the top down. New boss, new rules, new faces…and mine wasn’t one of them. This sort of sweeping change isn’t a television anomaly, or so I’ve been told. I’ve also been told that my not returning had, in no way, anything to do with the quality of my work. There is a line between the truth and the things you’d like to believe are the truth, but I’m in no rush to locate that line.
But the second season of Alphas premieres on Monday. And I’m not sure if I’m going to watch it. It’s like a girlfriend that you loved, loved, who broke up with you…and is now getting married. You want to be happy for her, you want her to do well and be loved…but you believe to your core that you could’ve loved her better.
It’s not that you want her to fail, you just don’t want to know.
By all means, though, you should watch. Science fiction is a rarity on television these days, and if you want more of it, you have to support it. And one of the things I admired most about Alphas was the vast story potential it held. I have a fondness for those characters and those actors that’ll never fade.
You never forget your first time.
“It was [written] as a character, purely and simply, which is one of the aspects that attracted Idris to the role. I have no knowledge or expertise or right to try to tackle in some way the experience of being a black man in modern Britain. It would have been an act of tremendous arrogance for me to try to write — and you have to try to imagine the quote marks around the words — a black character because I don’t know what a black character is and we would have ended up with a slightly embarrassed, ignorant, middle-class, white writer’s idea of a black character, which would have been an embarrassment for everybody concerned. I suspect that there’s a dearth of decent roles for black actors because most writers are white and they try to write their idea of black and it’s an embarrassment.”
Which is the only sensible way to write black characters. You write them as characters. People are defined by what they want and what’s between them and getting it. And once you cast the right actor, he can help you get at the shades and the subtext that differentiates people in the real world.
But write a man as a man and worry about the color of his skin later.
Yeah, pretty much.