Howdy ladies and gents, time for a TV review and today I’m gonna be giving you my quick thoughts on Gotham. When I did my post on comic book TV shows from last year til this year, a person mentioned in the comments that i missed a show out and it was this one. I think that should say something about how I feel about this show, but I feel like I should clarify my thoughts on the show so here we go.
What bothers me about the show is that it showed so much promise. I mean sure the concept of a Batman show that didn’t have Batman in it and instead focused on the origins of James Gordon, the main villains and a young Bruce Wayne wasn’t exactly what a lot of fans were crying out for. However the fact that it was giving us an origin to these villain-based characters and had a police drama element incorporated to it made me intrigued, and for the first few episodes I was into it. I liked the combination of James Gordon and Harvey Bullock, the little sneaky/weedy appearance of Oswald Cobblepot, the sassy yet string Fish Mooney, also the awkward yet hilarious Edward Nygma, and the list goes on. Basically the show was making a lot of right moves by having this grounded, slightly more adult and different style to what fans had come to expect. The only problem is that the show never found its footing.
Without going into spoilers, Gotham‘s first season seemed to be all over the place in terms of the tone. Sometimes it would emphasise humour, other times it would be super serious, sometimes the show would be fairly light-hearted and others there’s be a bit violence and sometimes that would all happen in the same episode. I thought the show was going to be cop drama focusing on James Gordon and a handful of villains, but the show gets lost in its own sea of stories and characters, and after a while situations that were once engaging and compelling start to fall flat with storylines taking bad turns and decisions that feel like they were made on the fly rather than being thought out. Also because there were so many characters not only at the start of the show but also as the show developed, there was a lack of focus on who should have screen time. Some minor characters felt like they were dropped into an episode just to remind you that they still existed or the focus would shift from one main character story to another when one was clearly more interesting than the other, and some of the name drops and visual easter eggs while interesting, sometimes felt shoehorned in and not entirely necessary. I got so uninterested in the show that I dropped it for like six weeks before I came back to another episode, then left it again for ages before I watched the final five episodes.
As for the cast, they’re a mixed bag. Some are good while others were never that interesting to begin with, I’m just going to talk about the people worth mentioning briefly.
Ben McKenzie as James Gordon was good. I liked how tenacious and headstrong he was and how he wanted to the right thing, but also had to learn about the facts of life and make comprises. Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock was great, this guy was a douche, but he was charming, aggressive and smart about the way things worked legally. These two have pretty good chemistry together and a lot of the time it is their partnership that holds this show together. Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin was one of the strongest people in the cast. At first I loved his character, he was the underdog, intelligent, crafty, yet feeble and unable truly have anything he really wanted. As time goes on Oswald goes to some interesting places, but he eventually starts to become a little cartoonish and uninteresting. David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne was a mixed bag, sometimes he was smart and resourceful, but other times he felt naive and immature and some of that was due to the script other times it was due to Mazouz’s acting skills. Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth was pretty good, while it took me some time to adjust to the accent, this version of Alfred was just as cool, active and smart and I had hoped and cared for Bruce a lot too.
Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma was another person I liked, while he wasn’t necessarily evil, he had already gotten his Riddler-like personality traits and for me that was alright because he was quite fun to watch. Morena Baccarin was good as Leslie Thompkins, she was one of the few characters I didn’t hate and I liked what Baccarin brought to the show. John Doman as Carmine Falconewas pretty good and I also liked David Zayas as Sal Maroni too. Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney was initially one of my favourite characters. She was smart, cunning, vivacious and doesn’t take shit from anyone, however after a while as her story develops she starts to become a little random and crazy and I think Smith started to go a little too over-the-top with this role and that’s what killed it for me. Camren Bicondova as Selina “Cat” Kyle was another character I started liking from the beginning, but eventually she became frustrating with a random appearances in episodes and her schizophrenic like attitude towards Bruce and certain other characters. Erin Richards as Barbara Kean was someone I never liked from the beginning, I found her dull, annoying and troublesome and while she became a lot more interesting towards the latter half of the season I still never cared for her that much. And finally Nicholas D’Agosto was fine as Harvey Dent but didn’t leave a lasting impression.
The one thing that Gotham gets right is the presentation. Visually the show looks great, I love the style and art direction with its use of lighting, colour and overall cinematography. Gotham City looks lovely and has a much better presence than it did in the latter Chris Nolan Batman films (just saying).
In conclusion Gotham, I wouldn’t say it was a complete waste of time, it started it out well and has some interesting characters that do something interesting things, but at the end of the day I just wasn’t that bothered by this show. The tonal inconsistencies, drawn-out stories, boring characters and lack of “wow factor” culminated in a show that had ideas, but didn’t know how to execute them. Now I know there’s some people who liked this first season but for me it was just a bit meh.
So have you season 1 of Gotham and if so what did you think of it? Do you feel I’m being too harsh on the show or am not being hard enough? Also if you’re a Batman fan how do feel about this approach the comic book mythos? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters. 😀