The trick to reeling in peculiar audiences is stalling them out. You don’t immediately give them everything upon the first go-round; you whet their appetite with small inclusions and meals, suckering them in for a big meal at the end. Given how the liberty of comic book characters has been stretched over the past decade by Hollywood, it’s clear their staunchest representation comes upon the small screen, where viewers are asked to gauge and react every week as opposed to once every few years.

With origin tales, you don’t want to be cute or outthink yourself, especially with an origin as told repetitiously as Martha and Thomas Wayne finding the end of bullets in a dark and gloomy alley after catching a movie in Gotham. Christopher Nolan treated the most famous recreation of New York like a cold, sometimes sterile concrete playground whose citizens dwelled in fear often and juggled moral ground every day, unless Batman protected them.

Well that Batman isn’t even an idea in Fox’s new series Gotham. Show runner Bruno Heller, who previously toying with large building blocks was The Mentalist told fans not to expect a “villain-of-the-week” scenario with the new show which deals with the early days of James Gordon (not even a commissioner!) and finally gives a bit of color to Harvey Bullock, the longstanding detective who likes his work easy and with little effort.

Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (played in grizzled tone by Donal Logue) on their first week paired together have to deal with an assortment of Gotham’s finest characters from the lurid Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett-Smith) to early appearances from The Penguin. The aspect here is that Gordon, your typical knight in shining armor has zero idea how Gotham truly works and in the end – he’ll lose his fight in trying to make Gotham even remotely clear.

As long as we’ve been told Batman tales, the city of Gotham itself has played secondary to the actions of the Caped Crusader. Here, it’s central. Politicians, citizens, all rendered together as one spread out unit. It makes for a rather interesting mix given that so many villains were tossed in viewers faces in the first episode. Heller’s debut didn’t stall our patience in meeting everyone in Gotham; he almost made us want to feel for everybody.

In a way, this is how Gotham will work. All of these characters somehow inhabit the same space. They don’t immediately interact with one another, aside from Mooney and Oswald Cobblepot but they exist – from Selina Kyle to Poison Ivy. While none of them have the exact power they’ll possess later, it’s all about the beginning, a reset on everything we may already know about the world’s most realistic city that daily gets threatened by criminals.

It’s corrupt and its most vindictive son is standing on the roof of his inherited mansion trying to talk himself out of fear. It’s attempting to tell a story at the genesis of the Caped Crusader – without making him the primary focus.

Which brings all the interest of a gloomy decrepit city and its citizens with it.