So, What do we Think of ‘Gotham’?
When the very, very, VERY hyped pilot of Gotham hit the airwaves we tuned in out of curiosity and a love of all things Bat. A show about Batman without Batman seemed like the worst idea in the world, but the ongoing Batman comic and media franchise has been populated with dozens of wonderful characters and a unique setting that could hold it’s own. I would’ve very much preferred a straight adaptation of Gotham Central, but cynicism aside we hoped that this would be good.
First impressions were…not great. The style and the tone of the show was on point but there were some very poor decisions made in introducing us to this world. They brought in a small army of characters who turned up for one scene and then sat in the background for weeks until their own plot got under way. It’s clear that this was done for name brand recognition. Ed Nygma turning up with a green question mark on his mug is more than a little obvious, and totally unnecessary as it would be months before we saw the character begin to take shape. Likewise Kat and Ivy Pepper (whose name change from Pamela Isley makes it seem as though the writers think us stupid) had little to than show up with blinking neon signs above their heads reading “LOOK! YOU KNOW THEM!”. It detracted from the overall impression of the show.
As with many genre shows of this type the first few episodes concerned monster-of-the-week style plots, with everything being resolved by the end of the episode. This happened in Arrow and The Flash as well and it’s disappointing when a good character gets essentially a once off appearance. The only running plots concerned the likes of Gordon and Fish Mooney, who are not the most interesting part of the show. If it wasn’t for Penguin we may have stopped watching entirely. Whatever they’re paying Robin Lord Taylor, it’s not enough.
Now we’re 17 episodes into the first season and much to our surprise we’re still watching it. In fact it’s gone to one of the most anticipated shows of our week. The pieces that were scattered across the landscape have locked into place.
One of the early story arcs concerned a power grab in the Gotham underworld. Fish Mooney became another player alongside Sal Maroni (David Zayas) and Carmine Falcone (John Doman), Penguin is trying to play all the angles but sometimes finds that he is out of his depth, and he has to burn one card for every two he plays. Recently we’ve seen some major shifts, showing that the writers aren’t afraid to shake things up, and Fish has wound up in a very dark and scary place.
On the PD front Gordon has started kicking ass and taking names, putting the higher ups in the crosshairs. We’re starting to see the character we know from the comic taking shape. His relationship with Barbara – one of the shows heaviest deadweights – has come to an end and is kicking around with the infinitely more interesting Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Bacarrin), adding a new emotional conflict to the character. Edward Nygma has found an interesting spot straddling the line between sympathetic and unsettling as he fails to pursue a colleague. He’s naive and awkward, which makes him sympathetic, but he REALLY needs to learn the meaning of ‘not interested’. His stunt with the limbs promises interesting things to come.
Kat was one of the most heavily touted characters, but it wasn’t until she was taking up residence at the Wayne Manor. He relationship with Bruce was well written and played by the young characters, adding a good sense of humanity to characters who were largely defined by their comic book counterparts. Since she’s been squatting at Barbara’s Kat (and Ivy) have been pretty uninteresting so we hope to see some more interactions with Bruce. I wasn’t a fan of the Pertwee Pennyworth at the beginning of the series, but he’s grown on me.
Gotham is still by and large a monster-of-the-week based show, and this aspect the show has flourished. The double episode about father and son Crane was fantastically creepy and a great finale that keeps the characters active (along with a nice Professor Pyg cameo). The Joker episode that followed was surprising good – even though this ‘Joker’ might be a red herring. Hopefully we’ll see more of this character, and the Graysons who were also introduced. The Red Hood story arc was not as good, but a great set up for a recurring villain.
Since coming back from the seasonal break we’ve seen Gotham hit the ground running. It’s gone from ‘meh’ to ‘dayam’ right before we were set to tune out. If you cut out early or haven’t checked it out yet this is the time to get caught up. At the time of writing the 17th episode is the highest charting torrent on the net, sitting above the Parks and Recreation finale and the Oscars. Clearly the audience is getting on board. Of course, this might have something to do with THAT scene.
The game was indeed upped because HOLEE SHIT that was insane. The Red Hood was interesting, but not on par with the previous few episodes. Then, and spoilers, Fish Mooney jammed a teaspoon into her eye, gouged the eyeball out and stamped on it just to prove a point. Bloody hell…where are they going next?