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“Gotham,” “Scorpion” & “Forever” premiere tonight

 

"Gotham" premieres tonight.
“Gotham” premieres tonight.

The 2014-15 prime-time television season begins tonight with three series premiering, “Gotham” at 8 p.m. on Fox, “Scorpion” at 9:01 p.m. on CBS and “Forever” at 10 p.m. on ABC.

“Gotham” is the origin story of the Batman universe, starring “Southland” and “The OC” alumnus Ben McKenzie as the future Commissioner James Gordon when he was a rookie detective, investigating the killings of Thomas and Martha Wayne and forming a bond with their 12-year son Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz).

The series also will explain the circumstances that created such Batman villains as Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) and introduces new villains including gang boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith).

Executive producer Bruno Heller told City News Service he “resisted doing superhero stuff because I kind of feel on TV, it doesn’t work.”

“`When you have a superhero on the screen, ordinary people are kind of diminished,” said Heller, who wrote tonight’s episode and created the CBS crime drama “The Mentalist.”

“You’re just waiting for the superhero to arrive. How do you do a DC (Comics) story on TV? You concentrate on the real people.”

“Scorpion” is inspired by the true story of the Irish eccentric genius Walter O’Brien, one of the series’ executive producers, who leads a team of brilliant misfits who compose the last line of defense against high-tech threats.

The title comes from O’Brien’s hacker name, which he also used as the name of his computer services company.

“Scorpion” is considered by some television critics and CBS executives as the dramatic equivalent of the network’s hit comedy, “The Big Bang Theory.”

“What we get in the show is a show that has an amazing amount of fun, kickass action, but also has a huge amount of heart, a huge amount of the emotion that comes from a misfit family coming together,” executive producer Nick Santora said at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.

Elyes Gabel stars as O’Brien. The English actor’s credits include the 2013 disaster Zombie movie “World War Z”; seven episodes over the first two seasons of the HBO fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” as the young Bloodrider Rakharo; and Detective Adam Lucas on the third season of the ABC crime drama “Body of Proof.”

O’Brien said he spent “a lot of extra hours” with Gabel as he prepared for the role, fielding questions like “What happens when you get angry?”

“How were things growing up?” “How was high school?” and “How do you deal with people who are not like you?”

“We just dug into those issues,” O’Brien said. “As I said to him when he felt nervous about asking some personal questions I said, `Don’t worry about hurting the feelings I don’t have.”’

The cast also includes 2006 “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, portraying the mother of a young, gifted son who helps the team in the world outside their circle.

“Forever” stars Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd (“Titanic,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Fantastic Four” and “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”) as New York City medical examiner Henry Morgan, who has amazing inside and observational skills and happens to be immortal.

“What would happen if you actually had immortality — would it be more of a curse or a blessing — is sort of the question the show asks,” creator and executive producer Matt Miller said.

“Henry, who is experiencing it, is here to tell you that for him, it’s been more of a curse. Part of the pilot story … is watching him kind of reawaken to life.”

Alana De La Garza portrays Morgan’s detective partner, who like him, has lost a great love. Judd Hirsch plays Morgan’s only friend and the only other person to know about his immortality.

A second episode will air at 10 p.m. Tuesday, its regular time slot.

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