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"Gotham" review: The Good, the Bad, and the Queen.

Geeks are taking over! And I LOVE it! With Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, the ground has been set for comic book television to pick up, and… news of Constantine, The Flash, and Supergirl getting their own shows? Things are getting better and better. New to the comic book-based shows is “Gotham”. I had the chance to watch the first episode back in August at Wizard World Chicago, and I was looking forward to seeing it for a second time yesterday, without the Comic Con high. And I thought it was ok… just ok. Here’s the good and the bad:

Good:

Fish Mooney - This nightclub owner and starting criminal queenpin shows a lot of promise. New to the Batman universe, she was funny, she was tough, she was a leader, she was everything. Jada Pinkett Smith did an AMAZING job in this first episode and she is the main reason I want to keep watching. Not Bruce Wayne, not James Gordon, not even Catwoman, but her. Hooray for good female characters!

Bad:

When are we? - It was unclear to me what time period we were supposed to be in… There were elements of the environment and characters that hinted to the fact that we were in the present but then everybody was using flip phones? Some cars looked like they were from the 80’s while others looked modern? What gives?


Good:

Real heroes - After watching so many movies and TV shows with superheroes soaring through the sky and defeating villains with super strength and expensive gadgets, it is refreshing to see a normal guy be the hero for once. James Gordon will be dealing with the corruption and crime that happens behind the scenes in Gotham. I don’t know about you, but that is something I’ve always been curious to know about. What happens to the normal people, how are they affected by having superheroes and super-villains in their cities? That’s a very interesting concept and one I really hope the show will be able to portray in an interesting and captivating way.

Bad:

Know your audience - Although I enjoyed the show, there were moments where I felt they were focusing too much on the obvious. You don’t have to go to extra lengths to establish a character or the relationship between characters. Sure, some people may tune in, that know nothing about the Batman universe, but the majority of viewers will at least know who Bruce Wayne is, who the villains are, and understand the good cop/bad cop dynamics. If we see a teenage thief with black clothing jumping on rooftops, we will know it's Catwoman, no need to have her feed a cat to make the point even more obvious. WE GET IT.

 

Good:

Alfred’s introduction to the show  - Bruce Wayne just saw his parents get murdered. Detective James Gordon is trying to give him a bit of comfort, which for a moment seems to be working… but then Alfred shows up. Bruce leaves Gordon’s side and goes running towards Alfred to hug him. That was a great way to introduce, not only Alfred, but his relationship with Bruce Wayne. Later on the episode, we see more of that Bruce/Alfred interaction and it was great. I am looking forward to more of that.

Bad:

Barbara Kean - I really, REALLY hope they develop her character as the show progresses, because right now, she is playing the quintessential comic book girlfriend whose role is to comfort the hero and look pretty. Although… I am still wondering what’s going on with Detective Montoya… looks like there’s some history there…

 

Good:

Gotham’s morality - For those of us who follow the comics and the majority of people that have seen the countless Batman movies that are out there, we know Gotham is a pretty messed up city. It’s full of crime, psychopaths, and corruption. This is something I believe the show was able to portray nicely, including the scenery and the gritty nature of the city. The cemetery scene? AMAZING. It looked exactly how I would’ve pictured a cemetery in Gotham would look like.

Bad:

James Gordon - For a show that established we will be following James Gordon’s experiences in Gotham city, his story and motives during the first episode were a bit flat. I found myself bored in almost every scene he was in. I wanted to know more about everybody else around him. This is not a criticism of Ben McKenzie’s acting, I thought he was great. It’s more of a criticism of the way the story started. It wasn’t supposed to be about Batman, but we started with the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. So… is it about Batman… or isn’t?

 

Good:

Oswald Cobblepot - The casting for this role was perfect. He is what I would picture Danny DeVito’s Penguin would look like when he was younger. I was interested in him and wanted to know more about his story. Robin Lord Taylor did an amazing job portraying a quirky backstabber psychopath.

Bad:

Penguin’s nickname - Although Fish and her gang gave Oswald the nickname of “Penguin”, there was no indication during this first episode where that nickname actually came from… Hopefully they’ll elaborate more in future episodes. Although… there’s nothing I want more than to have a scene in this show where Oswald comes back to get revenge on Fish and says: “PENGUINS EAT FISH!” and then laughs maniacally… is that too much? I don’t care… I want it.

 

Other characters that made an appearance are:

The Joker

Poison Ivy

The Riddler

Harvey Bullock

Overall, like I said, the show was ok. Of course in almost every TV show, the pilot episode is always kind of all over the place. They have roughly 45 minutes to introduce everything and everyone. But I believe this one has potential.  In addition, as viewers, we have seen so many variations and iterations of the Gotham/Batman world that our brains are already set on a specific depiction. This is something the creators of Gotham will definitely have to fight against. Although I am not ashamed to admit that I will always watch anything Batman related… ALWAYS. I am certainly looking forward to future episodes and see how these characters grow and become the iconic characters we all know and love.

What did you think about the show? Are you watching next week?