After a very busy week, I was finally able to sit down this weekend and watch the pilot episode of Fox’s new show Gotham. Unfortunately the craziness continues and I decided to write up my thoughts on the first two episodes at once instead of trying to piece it out.
I was a little bit disappointed by this fall’s offerings for new television. It didn’t help either that I got my heart ripped out and trampled on by NBC canceling Revolution. But, as they say, “them’s the breaks”, and now I find myself in need of a new passion. I could go back to Supernatural, and I will be watching that too, but it just hasn’t been the same for me since, well, season 4…or at least since about mid season seven. On top of that, I feel that shows modeled after comic books have been just about done to death. Even so, I have decided to try out Gotham.
In my humble opinion, Batman has become more interesting since Tim Burton made “Batman” in 1989 starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Christopher Nolan’s Batman was great, but not the same. Bruce Wayne almost seemed to be channelling Lamont Cranston of “The Shadow” in Nolan’s movies. But Gotham is changing up things again. This is a different Gotham that we are used to—one that seems even darker and more gothic than Nolan’s Gotham, but also a Gotham of yesteryear. We see Gotham City before Batman, when Bruce Wayne is still just a young boy. In the Pilot episode, he loses his parents. In this we see the Gotham that created the monstrous villains we would later meet in the comics.
Which is one of the interesting points, because we meet these villains knowing their back stories—or at least knowing their back stories from the comics. Ok, maybe all of us don’t know. If you are one of those that does not know, you will probably be happier. I was never a big Penguin fan, but I loved how Selina Kyle was Bruce Wayne’s perfect foil in the comics. Here, she is not a wealthy socialite or from that society in any way. She is a street urchin, homeless from the looks of it…I guess they can still play the foil end because she appears to be an orphan as well (although she insists that her mother is alive, just who knows where). She seems much better adjusted than Bruce does. That is to be expected, though. Bruce JUST lost his parents, and she seems to have been on the streets for a while. Bruce is trying to burn himself with candles and drawing scary doodles in his wealthy home…
In the first episode we also saw who it seems is Poison Ivy. I’m excited that Poison Ivy will be in Gotham, although again, her back story is quite different. In the comics, Pamela Isley was a wall flower graduate student with a mad crush on her teacher that tries to kill her if I recall correctly…
I mentioned the Penguin, who has had quite a bit going on the first two episodes. He was the one that snitched about the set up for the fall guy in the Wayne murders. This made Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) unimpressed with his loyalties. Through Fish and Falcone, we see that organized crime is very much alive and well in Gotham City…and essentially working with the police. We see that there is a feeling that a balance is needed. The good and the bad an important balance, almost as if they have a symbiotic relationship. Feeding into this is Jim Gordon’s partner Harvey Bullock. Harvey, played by Donal Logue, seems more into collecting a paycheck and eventually retiring with pension than any actual crime fighting. He is very cynical and at the very least, takes bribes. This is not a new kind of character from Logue. He reminded me of the jerk Special Agent he played in the “Squeeze” episode of The X-Files waaaaaaay back in Season One.
Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is the man that we all expected he would be—trying to do the right thing in a word that does not seem to put much value in it. In the end of the first episode, Jim makes it look like he killed Oswald Cobblepot (aka Penguin played by Robin Lord Taylor) in order to appease Fish and Bullock.
There is also an interesting take on the future Barbara Gordon (Erin Richards). I believe they are only engaged at this point, but she apparently has an interesting past. Meanwhile, there are other detectives hell bent on destroying Jim Gordon, one of which appears to have a past with Barbara.
In the second episode, we see a much bigger plan for evil in Gotham. There are mysterious characters collecting homeless children. We have already heard those wonderful words Arkham Asylum…and we know that although it is closed, there are potentially things in the works to get it up and running again.
We see that once their hands are forced, the Gotham P.T.B. decide to take a “tough love” stance on the homeless children population by, as Jim says, “locking up children without a trial”.
We see some very homicidal behavior by Penguin, and we see how politics are playing a part in the craziness in Gotham.
All in all, I found Gotham to have the same problems that I found Revolution to have—too many story lines going on at once causing no one storyline to to be fully realized. This idea of essentially “wetting our whistle” for various story lines seems more like a night time soap philosophy than night time drama. This requires a story that is never resolved and just continues from week to week. All in all, I’m trying to reserve judgment to see where the story goes. The Gotham they have created is pictorially beautiful. There is a noir feel to this. Will the storyline be enough to keep us interested? I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Let me know what you thought of the first two episodes! Screencaps from www.screencapped.net.