Batman has quite a legacy on television, from the campy 1960s series with Adam West to the groundbreaking "Batman: The Animated Series."

"Gotham" adds a new layer of excellence to the Dark Knight's small-screen legacy. Set in the past, when Bruce Wayne (you know that's Batman's alter ego, right?) was a young boy, the series is an amped-up police procedural, following Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), who is teamed up with hardened veteran Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue).

The Gotham City police department is a corrupt place, and Bullock is the type of cop who knows how to get things done, even if it means doing business with criminals like Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). Gordon, by contrast, is the clean-cut hero that stands out among the filth.

Bruno Heller, who previously created "Rome" and "The Mentalist," is building a massive world with many familiar faces from the comic book universe. Being a prequel, we'll get to see, for example, lackey Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) develop into the Penguin. More familiar villains are teased in the pilot, and I, for one, can't wait to continue on this journey long enough to see the birth of Batman to take them all down.

 

 

'Gotham' premieres Monday at 8 p.m. on Fox/5.