Is the TV show Gotham on topic? In season 1, only one episode contains material that is seriously sci-fi in nature, which according to current guidelines only makes that episode on-topic, not the series. Or is it on-topic because Batman makes all Batman-related works blanket on-topic?

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    For better or worse, the Nolan-Verse has been deemed on-topic. If that one is on topic, then I'd say Gotham is as well.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 4:40
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    @phantom42 See also S1 of Arrow.
    – user1027
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 4:56
  • Our canonical "what's on topic" answer from many ages ago included the fact that works in an "on-topic setting" are on-topic even if they contain no direct sci-fi elements themselves, which puts basically everything based on DC comics on-topic.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 15:47
  • @JasonBaker Why did you erase your answer? Even if the show changed enough for it to be irrelevant, I think it was still an interesting part of the discussion. Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 13:12
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    It covers Batman, a stated comic book character who has touched on nearly All genre elements. Considering it also includes elements like high-concept/ theoretical technology, meta-humans showcasing at least enhanced abilities, and some aspects of mysticism, I'd think it's pretty much fair game.
    – Russhiro
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 23:30

3 Answers 3


TL;DR - Gotham should be on-topic because being in the "superhero" genre isn't judged purely by content, but by association.

Full answer

Our Help Center doesn't, in fact, mention comic books or superheroes at all as part of our accepted topics. This is, I guess, because they're accepted as a sub-genre of SF or Fantasy (even though I believe they're a genre of their own). As such, it's a bit unclear where to draw the line between the heroic and the superheroic.

However, this vague line, as drawn, often puts the clearly heroic as on-topic, with Batman and the Arrow TV show (in its earlier seasons) seen as clearly on-topic despite having very few elements of super-science or unexplained phenomena. This is, I believe, because Batman and the Arrow are clearly in the "superhero comics" genre, not necessarily because of their actual content, but because of history and association - they share a history and stories with the clearly SFnal Superman, for instance.

This is why I believe Gotham should be on topic, just like other genre-free Batman stories or spin-offs. Because it's still Batman, in a variant of the Batman universe, which is accepted as on-topic here.

It's true that if you changed the names you'll just have a non-genre cop show, but the names are important. They're what draw a lot of viewers. They add a layer of meaning or people familiar with those names and their (alternate) history. It's a show watched by our site's members, because of its on-topic association.

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    No superheroes in gotham to date its similar to james bond, if no sci-fi fantasy elements are in other series that are sci-fi fantasy series as a whole, the specific titles are offtopic, i dont see why comic universe is the exception to this rule
    – Himarm
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 5:25
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    James Bond is an off topic series that occasionally has on topic issues. Batman is the other way around. Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 5:37
  • It seems odd to me that we should deem a work on-topic solely because it's an adaptation of an on-topic work. To my mind, Batman comics are on-topic not because of any special property of Batman himself, but because he's part of a universe where aliens, advanced technology, and magical/fantastical elements exist and are natural. I'm fine with that as a definition, but Gotham doesn't have that. It just has a cop named James Gordon and a rich kid named Bruce Wayne who probably needs some therapy Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 15:11
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    @JasonBaker But Gotham does not exist in a vacuum. It livesnon references and allusions to the rest of the Batman franchise, in addition to its own merits. Otherwise, why make it a Batman show? Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 15:16
  • Sure, and as soon as the show's producers decide to bring in some of the SFF elements of the Batman mythos, I'll be 100% behind it being on-topic. But, as important as the names and the links to the existing canon are to the flavour of the show, using those names isn't enough to make it SFF to me. I remember ages ago reading some Harry Potter fanfiction where the characters are all completely normal college students, with no magic whatsoever. The issue of whether or fanfiction is on-topic aside, should that work be on-topic solely because it invokes the symbols of Harry Potter? Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 15:22
  • @JasonBaker (Sorry for the delay) - Yes, I think it should be on topic, if the work is an interesting take on the HP characters and is of interest to the HP fandom. It's HP characters, in a different context. Just like an issue of Superman reimagining him as a non-powered hero would be. Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 12:30

Three reasons it could be consider either fantasy or sci-fi:

  1. It's based in a world/city that does not exist in real life, taken from a character in a recognized comic book that over the years has covered all elements.
  2. It has human beings who are at least to some degree enhanced beyond human capacity, be it by science or genetics
  3. It includes elements of mysticism, and if we want to get meta, even predestination, considering it showcases Bruce basically having little choice to deviate from the established life path of becoming an iconic vigilante... even meeting many of his enemies before he dons the cape and cowl.

Add in the little elements that are at least highly unlikely to occur in real life, and it seems to still be topic relevant.


Gotham is on-topic because Fish can do weird stuff when she touches you.

  • @Downvoter: wut? Have you seen the show?
    – Mazura
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 1:40
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    DV might be because it seems more like a comment then answer Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 6:23
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    What weird stuff can she (allegedly) do?
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 17:29

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