The Batman origins story Gotham begins on RTÉ2 on Monday night, January 26, at 9:00pm. Harry Guerin previews the opening episode.
It's part of the (First World) modern human condition: series anxiety. Do you stick your hand up when the conversation turns to all things telly and say no, you haven't actually seen The Wire, Breaking Bad, House of Cards or True Detective in their entirety? Or do you bluff with the best of them and nod sage-like about those shows, Hannibal, Fargo and the countless others that you're somehow meant to have seen in a life where the days feel like eight hours not 24?
Well, if you're looking to have something to bring up in conversation yourself, that moves fast and isn't too taxing on the brain during the Monday night wind-down, then Gotham could be the one for you.
Mixing the noir, procedural and superhero genres, the series focuses on future police boss Jim Gordon's (Ben McKenzie) early days as a detective in you-know-where. As the show opens (quite shockingly) he arrives at the scene of the murders of the wealthy Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha and makes a promise to their deeply traumatised witness son Bruce that he will catch those responsible.
However, this double slaying looks like something more than a robbery gone wrong, and as the episode progresses Gordon starts peeling a very large black onion, with his bottle-at-the-ready partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) seemingly intent on thwarting his determination to get to the truth.
With its overcast skies, dimly-lit interiors, muscle cars and atmosphere of impending doom Gotham looks the part, and as a come-on for following the series the opener does a fine job. McKenzie gets the right mix of hard-nut and good-heart as Gordon with excellent chemistry between himself and Logue as the testy and troubled Bullock. Everyone here is hiding something and the personal dramas fit snugly into the world of whodunit - and why. You get the feeling that a lot of characters could be killed at the drop of a trilby, so the twists here should come as quickly as a Gotham bullet. And remember: you don't have to be into comics or know The Dark Knight films off by heart to enjoy it.
With series two commissioned earlier this month in the US, there's no need to worry about investing time in a show, only to see it given last rites after 12 episodes. Give it a go and see what you think. Summer 2016's Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice feels a long way away from the big screen; hopefully Gotham will help plug the gap nicely on the small one.