I don’t know about you, but this blog has started feel a little Marvel-heavy to me lately. Granted, Marvel has been churning stuff out like crazy and I do like most everything Stan Lee puts his name on, but I’ve decided to use the upcoming five-week hiatus (is this a mid-spring finale?!) of FOX’s Gotham as a way to give DC Comics a little love too!

As a life-long Batman fan, Gotham was the television show I was looking forward to the most this fall. The show isn’t about Batman per se, but I’m also a sucker for prequels/origin stories, which the series hinted at in spades before it premiered in September. And on that front at least, it has delivered. In just 18 episodes, we’ve been introduced to younger versions of Catwoman, the Joker, the Penguin, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, the Scarecrow, and Two Face, just to name a few classic Batman villains. Of course we also have a prepubescent Bruce Wayne and a rookie detective version of Jim Gordon.

But while I have enjoyed seeing all of these different versions of familiar characters – and some not so familiar – I’ve also felt a bit like the show’s creators are trying to pack as many people as possible into the first season and hoping that we don’t notice there isn’t much of a plot. Okay, okay, maybe that’s a little unfair – there is a plot, but it has been uneven.

Ostensibly, the show focuses on Gordon and his quest to bring justice to Gotham’s victims, primarily the murdered Waynes. Yet after the first few episodes, that overarching storyline seems to have disappeared. Instead, there are violent gang rivalries, increasingly disturbing examples of human depravity, and a sub-plot that makes Gordon’s ex-fiancée a bisexual drug user. Though I completely understand the need to have Gordon solve different cases in each new episode, I think the show would hang together better if it somehow connected back to his overall mission – in a vein similar to the first (and most excellent) season of Veronica Mars.

Also, producer Bruno Heller’s Gotham is the darkest version of the famed city that I’ve ever seen. To be sure, Gotham has always been a bit bleak and seething with villainy, but ever since Christopher Nolan’s popular trilogy, its depiction has gotten even grittier. I guess there’s nothing entirely wrong with that, but I can’t help wishing for some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

Gotham has four more episodes in this first season, and has already been renewed for a second run, so hopefully it can regroup and get back to what made it so good in the beginning – unique characters that connect us to a familiar world and a storyline that illustrates how Gordon becomes commissioner and Bruce turns into the caped crusader.

3 thoughts on “Gotham

  1. I’ve dropped this show. I saw it up until Gordon’s return from Arkham Asylum, as I couldn’t tolerate them shoehorning even more characters in, Leslie Thompkins, a mother figure for Bruce in the comics now as a Gordon love interest was waaay too forced.

    There is very little plot to the season and to be perfectly honest I thought it wouldn’t get the renewal, but apparently people have been tuning in!

    I do hope they can pick themselves up, but hey will need to decide what sort of stories they’ll tell, because they seem to be on the fence between storytelling in Gotham and the typical polie procedural. Episodes like the Arkham One, when the just deal with how bad life in Gotham is, or the Venom episode, that showed the weirdness of it all (and which ties to the grittiness you spoke of), those are gems in the season. But overall the procedurals are very bland. I think the only one to be good is the Spirit of the Goat one, but mostly because it focused on Bullock’s before and after.

    I also still think the main actor is stiff for Gordon. Bullock and Penguin on the other hand are AWESOME!!!

    Loved the post! It’s crazy I hadn’t read anything from you before!

    And sorry for the rant, I tend to do that when it’s a topic I’m interested in hahaha

    1. Kevin, the rant is perfectly fine! I essentially created this blog so I could have an outlet for all of my opinions on things and other perspectives are more than welcome.

      As for Gotham, I haven’t dropped it just yet, but the fact that Jada Pinkett-Smith won’t be back for Season Two makes me think it won’t last too much longer. Which is a shame because they could have done some really interesting things with it, but like you said, instead of being a show about Gordon (as it was originally billed), it has focused more on bringing in as many Batman characters as possible without much rhyme or reason.

      And yes, Ben McKenzie is a bit sanctimonious as Gordon. I mean, I understand wanting to clean up the GCPD, but come on man, be a little more flexible or at least smile once in a while!

      1. I liked Jada at first but by the end I felt she overacted a bit. Part of it is the PG13 language she was restricted to but Falcone’s actor did just fine. Jada just felt a bit too forced as the season moved along.

        I wish they’d done something different with Fish, she was playing an essentially meaningless role. At first it seemed she would be the link to the underworld but when they ‘added’ the criminal coup plot it just spiraled out of control.

        Yeah you’re definitely right! The man never even smiles! Too bad we can’t rejuvenate Gary Oldman hahaha

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