Gotham is an American crime-drama television series developed by Bruno Heller, based on characters appearing in and published by DC Comics in the Batman franchise, primarily those of James Gordon and Bruce Wayne. The series stars Ben McKenzie as the young Gordon, while Heller executive produces along with Danny Cannon, who also directed the pilot. As originally conceived, the series would have served as a straightforward story of Gordon's early days on the Gotham City Police Department. The idea evolved not only to include the Wayne character, but also to tell the origin stories of several Batman villains, including The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, The Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strange and The Joker.