TIME Television

Everything You Need to Know About Gotham‘s Main Players

The familiar, the unfamiliar and all the characters in between on Fox's new superhero-sans-superhero drama

You could hardly be blamed if the opening episode of Gotham gave you repeated moments of déjà vu. Virtually all of the characters that popped up in the first hour of Fox’s new cop drama have appeared in some form or another (mostly a little older and a little more heroic or villainous) in the Batman realm of the DC Comics universe — whether in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films, earlier Caped Crusader movies or the comics themselves.

Here’s a brief spoiler-free primer for who you should — and shouldn’t — have recognized in the Gotham premiere, and what you might be able to expect from these characters in the rest of the season.

  • James Gordon

    GOTHAM: Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is he?

    Gotham P.D. detective.

    Should you know who he is?

    Almost definitely.

    Though now played by Ben Mackenzie (The O.C., Southland), Gary Oldman’s face is likely the one that most fans will associate with Gordon, at least at the outset. Gordon is the one who comforts a young Bruce Wayne after his parents’ coldblooded murder, and though he’ll begin the series as a rookie detective, he eventually becomes police commissioner during Batman’s reign in Gotham. Of course, we’ll never see that day come, as showrunner Bruno Heller has already declared the show will never have Batman on it.

  • Bruce Wayne

    GOTHAM: David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is he?

    Wayne family scion, future superhero.

    Should you know who he is?

    Um, yeah.

    The Bruce Wayne of Gotham is the same age as the one who appears in the very beginning of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne is the beginning of Batman’s origin story, but it’s also the beginning of Gotham’s as well. Though audiences won’t see Bruce grow up to become the Caped Crusader, it’s the search for his parents’ killer that appears poised to drive much of the action in Gotham’s first season.

  • Harvey Bullock

    GOTHAM: Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX
    Michael Lavine—Fox

    Who is he?

    Gotham P.D. detective.

    Should you know who he is?

    Probably not.

    Unless you’re a die-hard fan of Batman comics, it’s more likely you’ll recognize the man who plays Bullock — that’s Donal Logue (Vikings, Terriers) — than the character himself. Bullock hasn’t appeared in any of the Batman films, so his true motivations and intent remain something of a mystery (unless, of course, you’ve read the comics).

  • Carmine Falcone

    GOTHAM: John Doman as Carmine Falcone. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr:
    Justin Stephens—Fox

    Who is he?

    Gotham crime lord.

    Should you know who he is?

    Probably.

    Those who remember Batman Begins will know Falcone as one of Batman’s main nemeses in the first Nolan film. In the movie he was played by Tom Wilkinson, but in Gotham, it’ll be John Doman (of The Wire fame) stepping into the role. Though it appears Falcone will have a number of challengers to his throne, it’s one that he’ll hold onto for quite some time if Gotham decides to stick to canon.

  • Ivy Pepper

    GOTHAM: Guest star Clare Foley as Ivy Pepper. GOTHAM premieres Monday, Sept. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX
    Jessica Miglio—Fox

    Who is she?

    Daughter of the murdered Mario Pepper, the fall-guy for the Wayne murder.

    Should you know who she is?

    The red hair and the name should be a dead give-away.

    It’s still undetermined what role Pepper will play in the show’s first season or whether we’ll eventually see her transformation into Poison Ivy, but the events of the pilot certainly gave her plenty of justification for a vendetta against authority figures in Gotham.

TIME Television

Surprise: This 10-Second Better Call Saul Teaser Barely Teases Anything

C'mon AMC, would a two-minute trailer kill you?

The anticipation for AMC’s Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul is great, which is probably why AMC can get away with drawing out the show’s promo for months using only seconds of footage at a time.

In the latest look at the series, which won’t even air until February 2015, star Bob Odenkirk utters two lines as the shady lawyer who once advised Walter White. Yup. Just two. That’s less than the 30-second preview from August (which featured a brief interview with creator Vince Gilligan about the show’s timeline) and even less than the nine-second clip before that.

Is there such a thing as teaser fatigue?

TIME Television

Hulu and J.J. Abrams to Adapt Stephen King’s JFK Assassination Novel

11/23/63 by Stephen King's

11/22/63 tells the story of a man who travels back in time to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from killing the president

Stephen King is coming to streaming television — but not with a horror story.

Hulu and J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot Productions, are teaming up for an adaptation of Stephen King’s acclaimed 2011 cross between a sci-fi story and historical novel, 11/22/63, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The thriller follows a high-school teacher who travels back in time to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

“If I ever wrote a book that cries out for longform, event TV programming, 11/22/63 is it,” King said of the nine-hour series. “I’m excited that it’s going to happen, and am looking forward to working with J.J. Abrams and the whole Bad Robot team.”

Though the show is Abrams’ first project with Hulu, King has seen his work adapted for television audiences for decades — from Salem’s Lot to It to The Stand to Under the Dome, which premiered on CBS last summer.

[THR]

TIME Television

Watch South Park Poke Fun at the Washington Redskins Controversy

“It’s derogatory, Mr. Cartman”

South Park is taking a jab at the Washington Redskins, the NFL team that has been under pressure to change a name considered racist by Native American groups.

In a trailer for the 18th season of the Comedy Central cartoon, Eric Cartman has taken advantage of the fact that the Redskins’ trademark was canceled by a federal board, starting a company that uses the team’s name and logo. And in an ironic twist, a cartoon version of Redskins owner Dan Snyder is offended by the use of his team’s name.

“Don’t you see that when you refer to your company as the Washington Redskins it’s offensive to us?” cartoon Snyder says. “It’s derogatory, Mr. Cartman.”

In the ad, which was timed to run during the fourth quarter of the Washington-Philadelphia game on Sunday, Cartman explains that he uses the teams name out of respect. “When I named my company ‘Washington Redskins,’ it was done out of deep appreciation for your team and your people,” he says.

Sound familiar?

TIME Television

The One With the Bad Review

The Cast Of Friends 1999 2000 Season From L R: David Schwimmer Jennifer Aniston Courteney Cox Ar
The Cast Of "Friends" from the 1999-2000 Season. From L-R: David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow And Matt Leblanc. Getty Images

TIME's critic gave 'Friends' a big thumbs down in its first season. Here's why he's standing by that review

“Life on Seinfeld may be laid back, but its characters always seem to have someplace to go. In Friends the crowd is always around to share their latest personal woes or offer a shoulder to cry on. But who would want advice from these dysfunctional morons, with their obsessive pop-culture references?” — Richard Zoglin’s review of the first season of Friends, which premiered 20 years ago on Sept. 22, 1994

Little did I know when I poked fun at Friends back in 1995 that I was dumping on what would become a TV classic.

But I was a dissenter then, and I’m still a dissenter. The show never rose above its artificial, formulaic roots — characters assembled straight from the sitcom-writer’s handbook, jokes delivered with mechanical predictability at the network-mandated rate of three per page. It became a little easier to watch over the years, thanks to sheer familiarity and as the actors and writers dove more deeply into the characters. And I admit the show looks better in retrospect: compared with The Big Bang Theory (or Two Broke Girls), Friends almost qualifies as cinema-verite.

Read that 1995 review, free of charge, here in TIME’s archives: Friends and Layabouts

TIME Television

The Good Wife Watch: Locked Up

David Giesbrech/CBS

In a stunner of a season premiere, The Good Wife gets quickly back to business, and finds itself on the wrong side of the law.

Spoilers for last night’s season-six premiere of The Good Wife below:

“You stay to the right, jackass. That side is for the people, this side is for the scum!”

The amazing thing about Cary’s arrest is that you don’t have any idea what’s going down. Two guns intrude from the sides of the camera frame–is it an attack? A robbery? Are we at war?

The second amazing thing is that–experiencing the arrest from Cary’s perspective–you don’t know what’s happening even once you know what’s happening. What’s often portrayed in law and crime shows as a straightforward procedure becomes, from the standpoint of the arrested, something like an abduction. You don’t know why he’s been picked up. You don’t know the charge.

And you don’t know, by the end of the episode, whether he is in fact innocent.

The season-six premiere of The Good Wife is called “The Line.” This seems to refer, most literally, to the line Cary has to walk in prison, separating “scum” from “people.” The Good Wife has dealt with criminal clients, but we’ve always been on the “people” side of that line, crossing over only as visitors. (The only painted line they have to observe is the one decorously separating lawyers from the judge’s bench.)

Here, disorientingly and instantly, Cary is trapped on the other side of it. He goes through the depersonalizing process of getting a number scrawled on him, getting shouted at for no reason, being reminded that he has lost all liberty. (It’s as if the producers watched Orange Is the New Black and decided: Yeah, we can do that too.) And none of the magic tricks we’re used to seeing, no money or legal maneuvers, will get him out of jail free. (Or for $1.3 million.) He’s stuck, helplessly, on the non-person side of the line.

But “The Line” can also refer to the one that the lawyers of The Good Wife have regularly danced up against–the line separating the merely distasteful or unpleasant from the unethical or illegal. Lemond Bishop is one of the original sins of TGW–the drug dealer whose money Lockhart Gardner, and now Florrick Agos, have taken because it’s money, because everyone deserves representation, because they’re not doing anything illegal… right?

We’d assume that Cary, the onetime prosecutor, would not knowingly give a drug gang advice on trafficking. But part of the power of The Good Wife has come because it never lets us be certain how far its compromised, human lawyers will go, especially for a client they can’t stay afloat without. They might not give him illegal advice. But would they almost give him illegal advice? Would they say something from which an intelligent man could infer something that’s almost as good as illegal advice? (See also: would Peter really steal an election?)

What wouldn’t Cary do, really? What wouldn’t any of our heroes here, really, under the right circumstances, under the right pressures?

Now Cary has gotten on the bad side of one line and possibly of the other. And Alicia and company suddenly have to act in a way that boldly faces a fact they like to skate around: that they are in business with a dangerous gang leader. The first order of business for Alicia to meet with Bishop and ask him, albeit not in so many words: Cary is not going to rat you out, so please don’t have him killed. Bishop doesn’t have him killed–heck, he won’t even have his finger cut off! But the way The Good Wife shows the threat is just about as horrifying for its understatement. Bishop’s man inside explains that they trust Cary, but there still has to be a message, so–all business–he’s going to cut his hand open and Cary is not to say a thing about it, as a “test.”

It’s the way it goes down–the knife, the businesslike cut, the way Matt Czuchry chokes out “guard”–that’s as frightening as anything. In minutes (for us), he’s gone from a business-suited partner, making business deals and plans for drinks, to someone who gets his hand cut open. His body is no longer his. Not on that side of the line. And it may not be for some time, as The Good Wife seems to be setting up a longer-term story–one that has the potential to give Czuchry a showcase.

There was, of course, plenty else going on in this episode of The Good Wife. We picked up immediately with Alicia, as expected, rejecting Eli’s offer to run for State’s Attorney–for now. We had Diane planning to pull an Alicia on her own firm and join Florrick-Agos. (“That sounds familiar,” Alicia remarks.) The Good Wife, like a heavily scheduled professional, comes to each Sunday with a lot of tasks and toggles between briskly like calls on multiple lines. Yet it moves so balletically it never feels like it’s simply knocking items off a checklist. There’s even time for a subplot about Peter’s pantiless intern!

Good to have you back, The Good Wife. As you can see, you have quite a full agenda.

TIME Television

Colin Farrell Confirms True Detective Season 2 Role

"New York Winter's Tale" - UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
Colin Farrell in London, Feb. 13, 2014. Tim P. Whitby—Getty Images

The rumors are true

After months of rumors, the mystery of who’s going to be in the second season of True Detective is getting solved bit by bit.

Colin Farrell, who had been rumored to be in talks about the show, confirmed Sunday that he’ll appear in the HBO drama, telling Irish newspaper The Sunday World in an interview that he’s “so excited.”

“I know it will be eight episodes and take around for our five months to shoot,” he said. “I know very little about it, but we’re shooting it in the environs of Los Angeles, which is great. It means I get to stay home and see the kids.”

The plot is said to involve the “bloody murder of a corrupt city businessman found dead the night before a major transportation deal” and involve three different police officers from different cities working together. One down, two more to go.

[The Sunday World]

TIME Television

Jay Z and Beyoncé Are All Things to All People on HBO’s On The Run

HBO's concert film says nothing new, but it says it all at once

There has never been a concert film like HBO’s On The Run, because there has never been a pop star like Beyoncé or a hip-hop star like Jay Z or a celebrity couple like Beyoncé and Jay Z. The pair, massively successful and talented individuals who toured together for the first time this year, have become so much more than themselves. Their burning, multihyphenate success casts long shadows as musicians, entrepreneurs, spouses, and parents. HBO and director Jonas Åkerlund — filming over two September shows in Paris and adding a host of effects (slow-mo, black-and-white, lightning strikes!) — stuck a kaleidoscope on what is already our nation’s Rorschach-iest couple. On The Run says nothing new, but it says it all at once.

With six albums between them in their six years of marriage, and as many public appearances and touring dates, there’s a lot for fans to feast on. A litmus test is: Who is your favorite Beyoncé? Mine is the mic-drop face she made after her rumor-dispelling a capella performance of the national anthem in front of a room full of cameras. Or is your favorite Beyoncé the one who makes the word “daddy” sound like both a come-on and a put-down, both exhortation and exultation? Or is it the one who invited Nicki Minaj into the studio? And Jay Z: Do you prefer him as the gangster mogul or Teflon hustler? They’re all here.

The tour we see is pretty much the tour that has been described for months, from its nouvelle vague opening on through to the home videos at the end. HBO’s only contribution is embellishment, which sounds simple and even cheap (the lightning strikes they use look like 3D clip-art and they come with matching fog). But it’s a simple process that hypnotizes, streamlining the show into a bombardment of images. You always know where to look; and whenever Beyoncé appears, it feel like time slows — because it usually does.

Another game: Why do we first see Jay-Z wearing sunglasses and Beyoncé in mesh head-gear, so we see her eyes but not his? Put another way: Why do most of Jay-Z’s costume changes kind of look the same and how often did you catch HBO sneaking in a shot of Beyoncé’s body (her legs; her torso) as it rolled to the music?

The fun of this is the myth-making, which no longer feels like it has a downside. With the release of her last album, Beyoncé incorporated her every contradiction into her art. This is the next level: HBO signing on to help us incorporate every contradiction about the pair into their union. The various controversies surrounding them—Elevatorgate, the apparently baseless rumors about their marriage–have been absolved by fame. Or, put another way: joy.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z style themselves as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde (Lily Rothman has more on why that comparison is less than historically accurate). But why settle for bank robbers? The pair, African Americans who write, produce, and perform their own music, are never just one thing to anyone. It has been a horrible, no good, very bad summer — for them, for all of us — but On The Run, a symphony of spectacles, absorbs all of that into something small that feels huge: the most important marriage in pop culture. The night doesn’t end with Beyoncé and Jay-Z, but with the audience, filling the stadium with sound as they embrace, giddy. Whatever happens, we’ll always have Paris.

TIME Media

Behind the Scenes: How PBS KIDS Brings New Shows to Life

PBS KIDS Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
Frederick M. Brown—Getty Images

Paula Kerger is the CEO of PBS.

We don't just make shows because we think they're educational — we want to make sure they can really make a difference in kids' lives

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. Follow Paula Kerger on LinkedIn. This post is part of a series titled “Behind the Scenes” in which Influencers explain in detail one aspect of their work. LinkedIn Editor Isabelle Roughol also provides an overview of the 60+ Influencers that participated in the package.

One of the most intensive decisions we make is how to find shows to enhance our PBS KIDS lineup. Of course, we still have standards like SESAME STREET, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary this fall, and we’ve actually added another half hour of SESAME STREET in order to make our content even more available and accessible to kids on digital platforms. Building on the rich history of a series that defined educational television is the focus of our programming team. So how do we develop new shows for our PBS KIDS lineup?

We start by identifying what kids need. In 2006, our PBS KIDS Next Generation Advisory Board — made up of child development experts — pointed out that while we had shows focused on academic skills, we were missing a really big piece of the puzzle because we didn’t have a program focused on social and emotional skills. Without skills like how to experience something new and how to deal with feelings like disappointment or uncertainty, some kids just aren’t ready to enter school by the time pre-K rolls around. And that makes academic learning much, much harder. When we started to do a little more research, we realized the need was clear — kids need to learn important social skills in order to get the most out of learning. Figuring that out was step number one.

Step two was figuring out how to best address this need with our content. We reached out to producers to say that we were interested in pursuing social-emotional development as our next big curricular focus. It just so happened that one of our longtime producers, the Fred Rogers Company, was already thinking about how to take the social emotional lessons Mister Rogers had taught and present them in a contemporary show, and had partnered with Out of the Blue Productions. They came back to us with a proposal for a show all about teaching kids strategies they can use for all of the little ups and downs in their everyday lives, building directly on the Neighborhood of Make-Believe Fred Rogers had created.

But we don’t just make shows because we think they’re educational — we want to make sure they can really make a difference in kids’ lives. That brings us to step three — developing a pilot for the show, and then going out and testing it with kids and with parents.

For “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” we tested an episode that’s all about learning how to deal with disappointment. It’s Daniel’s birthday, and his special tiger cake gets smushed while he’s carrying it home from the bakery. With a little help from Dad, Daniel figures out how to turn this disappointing situation into something good.

After hearing the script and looking at storyboards, we found some encouraging results. Kids understood that “disappointed” meant “sad,” even though they had no knowledge of the word beforehand. And they also understood that the strategy was to take something bad, turn it around, and find something good — like when Daniel realized that the smushed cake still tasted delicious. But when the producers asked the kids to explain what they would do if they ever felt disappointed about something, the kids answered: “We’d taste it!” A practical strategy, but not one for every occasion… so the team went back to work, refining the takeaway from the episode, until they got it just right.

When they had refined their approach, and re-tested it to make sure that the content was actually connecting with KIDS, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” was ready for our airwaves. This all might sound relatively easy, but in fact there was an incredible number of people, and a tremendous amount of work that went into getting the show on PBS. In all, between The Fred Rogers Company, Out of the Blue, 9Story and all of the other production entities involved in producing and delivering the animated series, more than 200 people work on “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” Those teams spent three years working on the pitch and pilot, and then another three years testing and refining the show. Six years after the initial idea of a show that dealt with social emotional skills was put forward, we debuted Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on September 2, 2012.

Getting a kids show to air on PBS is no easy task. But we start by identifying what today’s children need the most, and asking ourselves how we can push the boundaries of what media can do to best serve them through PBS KIDS. We do that with every element of our content — not just TV shows, but online games, mobile apps and resources for parents and teachers. We try to do everything that we can in order to make sure that we’re getting closer to realizing our mission: to create a better world, where every child discovers unlimited possibilities.

Paula Kerger is the CEO of PBS.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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