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 until 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 the villain-based characters and had a police drama element incorporated to it had me intrigued, and for the first few episodes, I was into it. I liked the combination of James Gordon and Harvey Bullock as the main cops, Oswald Cobblepot was an interesting sneaky little man, I liked the sassy yet stern nature of Fish Mooney, oh and the awkward yet hilarious Edward Nygma, and the list goes on. Basically, the show was making a lot of good moves by creating a grounded approach, with a slightly more adult tone and different style to what fans have seen adapted to screen in the past. The only problem is that the show never finds 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 stories would be fairly light-hearted and other times there’s get violent and dark, and sometimes all of that would 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 a sea of its stories, and after a while situations that were once engaging and compelling start to fall flat because they’re either drawn out or lead to bad changes that feel like they were made on the fly rather than being thought out. As for the references to the source material, some of the name drops and visual easter eggs while interesting occasionally felt shoehorned in and not entirely necessary. Plus 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.
When it comes to the characters things get complicated because there’s a lot of characters not only at the start but also as the show progresses which leads to a lack of focus on who should have screen time. The focus would shift from one main character story to another when one was clearly more interesting than the other, and some minor characters felt like they were dropped into an episode just to remind you that they still existed. As for the cast, they’re a mixed bag. Some are good while others were never that interesting to begin with, so I’m just going to talk about the people worth mentioning briefly.
Ben McKenzie as James Gordon was good. He was tenacious and headstrong and wanted to do 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 in the legal system. Gordon and Bullock have pretty good chemistry and their partnership is what mainly holds the 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 and 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, but this version of Alfred was just as cool, active and smart and I had hoped for.
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 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 because Baccarin brought a charm, elegance and endearing quality to her character. 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 becomes a little random and crazy and 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 annoying with random appearances in episodes and her schizophrenic like attitude towards Bruce and certain other characters got pretty tedious. Erin Richards as Barbara Kean was someone I never liked from the beginning, I found her dull, annoying and troublesome and while she became 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 nice with a solid use of lighting, colour and overall cinematography. Gotham City looks lovely and has a much better presence and style than the latter Chris Nolan Batman films.
In conclusion season 1 of Gotham, I wouldn’t say it was a complete waste of time, but at the end of the day, I just wasn’t that captivated by this show. It started it out well and had some interesting elements with the characters and certain plot points as well. However, 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 properly 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 in the next review, laters. 😀