THE SHOW: Gotham
WHEN: Mondays 8/7c
THE CAST: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith and more
THE SETUP: A Batman prequel series that tells the story through the eyes of a young Commissioner Gordon who is on a mission to take out the corruption from the city and the police force. Young Batman, Catwoman, Thr Riddler, Two-Face, Ivy, The Joker and The Penguin have major roles.
This show has perhaps the most buzz around it and with good reason. It’s well produced and acted with strong visual effects and an intriguing premise. However, what may be the series downfall is that it tries to do too much all at once (with a lot of character name dropping) which may prove to be annoying to the audience.
The opening teaser of the series begins with a promising start as we watch the infamous scene of Bruce Wayne’s parents getting murdered. Cleverly, the case of the week is in fact the Wayne’s murder. What’s interesting is that it seems to be Detective Gordon’s first real case. So in a Lex Luthor-Clark Kent Smallville type of way, these two are connected when they are both young and before they both become who they’re destined to become.
But even more intriguing is the fact that a young Catwoman witnesses the murder in the shadows. She’s about the same age as young Bruce and this particular connection is what I believe to be the most promising of the series. Without really having anything to say in this first episode, her presence is felt. After witnessing the murder she becomes curious about Bruce and follows him around. We see her at the funeral and at the Wayne estate watching from a distance. Introduced as a young thief on the street with agile abilities she reminds me of a young Max from Dark Angel and that is a very good thing.
I also really enjoyed the performances of Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, local gang boss, and Donal Logue as corrupt cop Harvey Bullock. They prove to be layered characters with a lot of promise for future episodes.
However, when it comes to romance on Gotham, there isn’t a whole lot. By having Barbara Kean and James Gordon already together, there isn’t much to root for on this show. Honestly, the supporting characters are much more interesting than James himself. And then when you take his relationship with his fiancée, he becomes even blander as a character. But I’m willing to see how they develop in the future.
In all, Detective Gordon’s mission to clean the corruption from within is interesting, but if you’re more into a fun comic book adaptation, this isn’t the show for you. It’s dark, gritty and heavily influenced by film noir. There isn’t a lot of humor and it’s very violent. I’d say it’s much closer in tone to Chris Nolan’s vision of Batman than Burton for instance. But unlike Nolan, Gotham does not have subtle writing. This in and of itself could become quite eye-rolling after a while. I know in Smallville this became annoying with the constant heavy handed “wink-wink” references to characters and who they “became” in the comics. Gotham, while much darker than Smallville, has very similar writing techniques. While that was fun in the beginning in 2001 with the Smallville premiere, the overkill of “becoming” superhero stories since may prove to be one too many now for audience members. In this episode alone (and I may have even missed some) there was young Bruce, young Catwoman, young Riddler, young Ivy, young Joker, young Penguin, etc…
Basically this show can be summed up in one sentence: If Smallville and Batman Begins married and had a kid, which then grew up into a teenager you’d have Gotham, except you know without an interesting enough main character. Overall, I think Gotham is a very good show. But it’s more like the type of series I’d binge watch on Netflix rather than watch on a weekly basis. I rate it four corsets.
What immediately caught my attention when I started watching Gotham’s pilot was the obvious work that was put into the mythology of the Gotham universe. Executive Producer Bruno Heller is lauded as the mastermind behind this. In essence this is an origin story. Heller gives us a compelling world in his Gotham City without it’s Batman. He creates a world where the audience can learn what exactly made it necessary for a savior figure like Batman to arise. This is a city that is fighting to prevent its descent into complete and utter chaos. We watch as normal people, specifically a team of detectives, desperately try to preserve a shimmer of good and justice in a world where the forces of evil are gradually gaining complete control. Heller has clearly put a lot of thought and time into the mythology of this show, giving the audience a complex and fully realized world. Watching it, you can almost believe that it could be a real place.
In accordance with this, we also get to see all of the familiar Gotham characters, both the villains and the heroes, as they develop into the legendary figures audiences have come to know and love. I would say that Heller has created an excellent addition to the Batman saga, one that was needed to fully flesh out the Gotham universe. I rate it 3 1/2 corsets.
What did you think of Gotham? Let us know in the comments.
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