Original Airdate: 9-22-14
It’s time to start the biggest superhero and comic book TV seasons in many years if not ever and Gotham is the first one out of the gate, though I’m probably one of the last ones out of the gate to get a post written about it. Based on the trailer, and what the show was going for I had high hopes for this show. I thought it could be an interesting take on the superhero trend, something along the lines of how Lois and Clark focused more on the relationship between the two rather than the superhero aspect. This show is supposedly going to take a closer look at the Gotham PD side of the equation rather than the supervillain side of things. And since this takes place when Bruce Wayne is still a boy and there is no such thing as Batman there should also be no such thing as supervillains yet. Instead, they are all still merely criminals before crossing the line once the door has been opened for the overly theatrical. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if they delve into some early theatrics later in the season, especially if they start struggling in the ratings department. Overall, I initially liked what I saw, but as I started reading other people’s negative reactions, I started to see more of the holes in the show and am actually a little glad that I have waited so long before writing this.
Before I get into some of the negativity, I’ll mention some of the things that I did like quite a bit about the show. I loved Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock, even just in this single episode he managed to convey a fantastically flawed and complex character. He’s someone who is comfortable working in a corrupt system, but he is also willing to stick up for his partner despite his misgivings over how well Gordon is going to fit in. I loved young Alfred and young Bruce, while the child didn’t get too much to do in his scenes, he managed to show a great forced maturity for his age, and Alfred seems right in line to grow into Michael Caine’s Alfred from the Nolan trilogy. I liked Falcone’s brief appearance towards the end where he is painted as being a somewhat sympathetic character in an overly corrupt society. I also enjoyed the overall look of the show and the feel of it. It felt like Gotham without needing to have Batman or any supervillains in it.
Now as for the issues in the pilot. The biggest one for me was that there were way too many “I recognize that name!” and “Oh, I know who that character is going to be in the Batman universe!” shoehorned into the show. I understand that it is the pilot, so I really hope that this will be toned down for the regular episodes, but when the show teases: the Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, the Riddler, the Joker, and of course Batman himself all within the course of 40 minutes, that’s overkill. I didn’t like Cobblepot’s character whatsoever. He didn’t feel like the Penguin, he didn’t feel threatening, he didn’t feel sympathetic. He was annoying and unlikable. Again, there’s a chance that he will have an ongoing character arc throughout the series, but I would rather that he didn’t come back anytime soon. The MCU, or whatever it was called, and their rivalry with the Gotham PD wasn’t needed within the pilot. There was just overall too many things going on. While I’ve heard some negativity towards Ben McKenzie’s Gordon, and some positivity towards Jada Pinkett’s Mooney, but both of those character were middle of the road to me. I didn’t have any issues with Gordon, nor did I think that Mooney was anything special. I haven’t made my mind up about the show just yet, it still has the potential to be something great and something different, but it also has just as much potential to go the other direction.