As a short disclaimer, while I write this about Gotham particularly, think of that as my focal point. In reality this can be generalized to all comic book movies, shows and games.
I am a big fan of the Batman mythos, and I am a big fan of it being represented not only well, but accurately. And yet, of late, I find that my desire for pinpoint accuracy is not only irrational, but borderline foolish. Yes, I want to see that mythos respected and treated as it deserves, because it has a rich, amazing history with much of it set as close to fact as fiction can be.
This morning, though, with the announcement of Scarecrow joining the show- Crane's father, though Jonathan Crane will be a boy- I was thrilled, but people hadn't even read the article announcing it and were bashing the show and its decisions without any information, and, in short, making themselves look like idiots. It was remarkable how many other idiots flocked to them and joined their senseless bashing, without any knowledge of the article announcing the character, which they were commenting on. I personally have realised lately that adaptions cannot and never will be perfect, and should not be treated as if they should be. The changes really don't matter, and here's why.
More often than not, they're negligible.
I start with this one as I think it's most often the type which are complained about. Yes, people love to niggle over little details, and in reality, I see no point in it. If Thomas Wayne was murdered but Martha Wayne lived and went on to become the She-Bat, then I would understand the cause for concern. But in nearly every occasion, the changes made in an adaption are no cause for concern, and are really just a resort for whining and nitpicking.
You see, the changes these people make do not alter the cruxes of characters, or the stories and mythos which we so love. The fact Harvey Dent will be older than Bruce, or the suggestion that there was a previous Scarecrow, really don't affect the core of the mythos. Batman's world still exists pretty much the same, just with a bit of background difference. To complain about such petty, negligible changes and say the show should be cancelled in line with that is stupid, and takings thing way too far. The show has made no crucial changes to the Batman mythos. It's a shame so many "fans" can't see that.
In extension of that- the ages are NOT "wrong."
Okay, the most common complaint? "Lolz wen Batman grown up these guys gonna be in a retirement home." I'm not sure if people have ever stopped to consider this point before making themselves look quite so- and I'm sorry, but it's true- blatantly idiotic, so let's do it here and break it down for those more "special" people who have some filter against reason.
Bruce, in the current telling of [Gotham](series:1127075), is 12, nearing on 13. Selina Kyle is anywhere between 13 and just 15, so the difference between those two is really negligible. The Penguin/Cobblepot and The Riddler/Nygma are in their 20s. This is entirely fine. You see, The Penguin is always depicted as at least ten years Bruce's senior, so his age is fine. The Riddler's age fluctuates, from depictions of him as younger to depictions of him as significantly older. What's more, it doesn't matter. These people don't draw, as with so many Batman villains, from their physical strength to combat The Dark Knight. It doesn't really matter if Penguin is 70, he can still fulfil his role. The Riddler relies on his mind; the same applies.
But, at the end of the day, when Bruce becomes Batman at about 25, these guys are only gonna be in their thirties, which is perfectly in line with the character. Now, perhaps all the complainers are twelve years old and don't realise, but when you don masks and begin fighting crime in an adult world, ten years isn't really all that much difference at all. I don't know very many people at all who in their 30s or 40s are fit to be in a retirement home. So let's kill that irritating, and quite frankly, wrong complaint.
This is just another alternate universe, another take.
This one is perhaps the most important. All DC fans are aware of the multiverse, and should be aware of the hundreds of alternate takes such a concept has spawned. There is no one single "correct continuity." Every writer tweaks here and there, every run changes some things, and in an alternate world events happened differently. Comic 'fans'- the ones who complain the most in these cases- should know this. And yet we see them complaining that the ages are off, or that Selina Kyle didn't see Thomas and Martha murdered.
What does it matter? Danny Cannon, producer of Gotham, hasn't said "this new retelling of Gotham is going to be the new, official background of characters." No! What he's said is that this is a "fresh take" with "their interpertation," no different to the scores of other writers who have come to the Batman mythos in film, games, and above all the comics themselves and put their spin on it. And yet no one seems to complain about them. It's popular just to choose something, single it out and bash it with whatever futile justification you can find, but in short that's incredibly stupid. This show just exists in an alternate universe, and is a fresh take. What do the changes matter? Which brings me to my next point.
At the end of the day, the adaption can't mess with the source material, no matter how hard it tries.
Which highlights the futility and pointlessness of complaining. You may not like some of the changes that Gotham brings to the mythos. And that's fine. But why is that worth crying over? The mythos we know and love- and which the rabid, blindest types of fanboys love to throw at us, even though we already know it- is completely untouched. Awful changes will never make it back into the comics, and so, in short, they don't really matter. They exist only in Gotham, only in the alternate take, which renders complaining about it about as silly as complaining about characters in a completely different show.
We've all seen Batman and Robin- and if you haven't, then we all envy you. It's generally held as one of the worst superhero movies of all time. But despite its awful changes, the Freeze puns, the completely illogical teamup of Freeze and Ivy, the Batman comics remained untouched and stayed popular and dark as ever, spawning The Dark Knight trilogy we all know and love not long after. These changes, even if you dislike them, are not going to alter what we know as Batman, and so I really don't see what the point in complaining about them is. Only the good changes can influence the source material- and:
Some of these changes actually bring us amazing stuff
Collective gasp from the purists who want to see things translated onto screen perfectly. Why, yes, these changes, when the complaining ceases about them being changes, can have even bigger long term effect when they're well received. Let's take Harley Quinn. Fan favourite, pretty much universally loved by Batman fans. She did not exist in the comics, prior to Batman: The Animated Series. This adaption created a character who fit into the mythos so well and who was so positively received by the audience that she was integrated quite flawlessly into the comics and is now an extremely popular character, spawning from Batman comics to Suicide Squad. Without a showrunner daring to make an alteration to what everyone knew as "fact" - though on whole people were generally less whiny back then, or maybe we were just free from the screeching haters- we wouldn't have seen the introduction to this character so well loved.
And I feel this is a point that often gets overlooked. No one considers when tearing down Gotham- or other adaption's- changes that they might actually be for the better. Much as we hate to admit it, everything has flaws, including the mythos we hold as "true." Sometimes, adaptions can make the best of these weaknesses and turn them into something better for the mythos to then take on itself, if not creating a new character like Harley.
If Paul Dini hadn't dared to make some changes to Mr Freeze (only called that due to the 66 show, as it was better received than "Mr Zero," - even more support), we would still see him as the generic mad scientist bent on killing Batman. Dini added tragedy to the character, made him a "reluctant villain." This change has redefined the character, because it makes him so much more unique. No one complained then; so why complain now, when Gotham may have an incredible change just waiting for us? And even if it doesn't, these changes are more often negligible, and, at the end of the day, won't otherwise change the mythos that we know and love. So just sit back and enjoy the show.