* GOTHAM. 8 tonight, Fox29.
* SCORPION. 9 tonight, CBS3.
* FOREVER. 10 tonight, 6ABC. Moves to 10 p.m. Tuesdays next week.
HOW MANY times can we see "Batman" begin?
At least one more, says Fox, which tonight draws back the curtain on "Gotham," a stylishly dark version of the superhero origins story that focuses less on the young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) than on future police commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie).
It also features glimpses of Batman's future adversaries, particularly the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), who really, really doesn't like being called that.
Gordon, partnered with Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), is just beginning to fathom the depths of the city's corruption as he investigates the murder of Bruce's parents, which you may or may not think was already solved.
There are comic elements - it's worth watching just for the moment in which Jada Pinkett Smith, perfectly cast as club owner Fish Mooney, gives her wig a tiny tug - but the violence in "Gotham" isn't cartoonish.
It is, as creator Bruno Heller ("Rome," "The Mentalist") says he intended it to be: disturbing. "That's the only moral way to show violence," he said, when I asked about it at a news conference. "This is a crime story."
I'm OK with that, and with "Gotham," which features some intriguing performances. But just because it's on at 8 and derived from a comic-book franchise doesn't mean it's kid stuff.
What the readers said: The Daily News' Everybody's a Critic panel (see photo, below) gave "Gotham" an average of 6 on a scale of 1 to 10, with scores ranging from 1 to 9 and most clustering around 7.
" 'Gotham' has the unenviable task of combining a cop procedural, a buddy-cop formula and a superhero origins story - three all-too-predictable genres," wrote Robert Dougherty, of Northeast Philadelphia. "It does better . . . when it embraces the more weird, comic-book elements just dying to get out."
"A little dark, but doable," wrote Joy Moore, of Nicetown. "Jada Pinkett Smith was phenomenal."
"Although Fox is likely banking on people tuning in because of the 'Batman' aspect, it reads like more of a . . . detective show," wrote Kelly Keenan, of Newtown, Bucks County. "Jada Pinkett Smith was a standout."
Awkward geniuses have been very, very good to CBS, which tonight introduces a dynamic straight out of "The Big Bang Theory" in "Scorpion."
It's loosely based on the story of Irish hacker-turned-security consultant Walter O'Brien (Elyes Gabel), whose hacker name was "Scorpion." (O'Brien's said to have an IQ of 197 as well as to have written an algorithm that helped track down the Boston Marathon bombers.) Katharine McPhee ("Smash") co-stars as a waitress who's pulled into O'Brien's orbit during a crisis.
Like "Elementary," "Scorpion" is a procedural with only a slight twist, but if not-so-evil genius is becoming a trend, I'm all for it.
It seems like forever, but it was only six years ago that Fox had a show called "New Amsterdam," starring Nicolaj Coster-Waldau ("Game of Thrones") as a homicide detective who'd been living in New York for four centuries.
Tonight, ABC steps up with "Forever," which stars Ioan Gruffudd ("Fantastic Four") as hyper-observant New York City medical examiner Dr. Henry Morgan.
A relative newcomer - he's only 200 or so - Morgan's immortal. He does get killed periodically, only to come gasping back to life, naked and wet.