Of course, I realize that this misses the whole business point of a Gotham TV series, which is Batman, but, look: the main point of the Batman-Gotham relationship for me it has always been that they are *two* distinct entities (for lack of a better term --- embodied concepts? chaotic semi-stable systems?). There's Gotham, which is a city locked up in an almost supernatural cycle of crime, violence, and evil, and there's Batman, which is a *something* Bruce came up with that is locked up in an almost supernatural cycle trying to save Gotham. Bruce loves Gotham like nobody has ever loved anything (to steal a phrase I once wrote), and in a sense Bruce is a natural product of Gotham as much as anybody else, but Batman, icon that he is, isn't. Sure, he's dark and violent, but that's because he has to. He's not the kind of thing Gotham naturally produces --- it's the kind of thing Bruce created to *counter* Gotham's darkest tendencies. That's part of what makes him so important/inspirational to me as a concept. He might seem shaped by his environment, but he's actually the most radical counterpoint to it you could imagine. (This is also why I get so mad with any plot that hints at Bruce being pre-ordained to become Batman, and so on; that completely misses the point of Bruce's achievement. And it's part of why I liked Morrison's storyline of Bruce coming back in time --- it mostly explained away all historical bat-hints as *Bruce* himself leaving clues and setting up things, which is neat.)
Anwyay. For me, there's not Batman before Crime Alley, and there never was, not even remotely close. That's the achievement of what Bruce built. Before that, there was only Gotham. So forget the bats. Let Bruce be the regular kid he was. Forget those that will be his foes. Tell the story of a city so rich and dark that people thought it was insane before Batman and the Joker.
Tell the story of Gotham. It's more than interesting enough.