Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Folks who are regular listeners to The GAR! Podcast already know some of my feelings on Fox's new pre-Batman series "Gotham," or at least the first episode, and if you haven't heard, you check it out here. I hate to say it, but after viewing the second episode, my feelings haven't changed much.

"Gotham" tells the tale of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) joining the Gotham City police force and finding every bit of the department, as well as the city, completely corrupt. Partnered with Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), he weaves his way through early versions of Batman's rogues gallery as he tries to solve the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents. So it's a lofty goal we know our hero will never obtain. Batman finds the Waynes' killer, every comics fan knows this, so we know from the get-go that the hero of this piece can not even win.

The worst part of "Gotham" is the part that one might think all of the fanboys and fangirls want - the winks and nudges from the comics. Oh, look, it's Catwoman, and Penguin, and Riddler, oh and that must be the Joker. The problem is they beat these references like a dead horse and they take away from the parts of the show that actually are good. "Gotham" is a pretty good police drama, and I said it on the podcast, and I'll say it again here, it would be a great police drama without all the Batman stuff.

This is a new production, and yes, I should look at it as completely new, but it's hard when I already know all the players. The creators of "Gotham" have played with the timelines so that chronology is off. Montoya and Allen, as well as Bullock, are contemporaries of Gordon as opposed to younger employees of the older Gordon. And then of course there's the concept that all of Batman's enemies are at least a decade older than he is. It's a hard concept to get one's head around after reading thousands of comics.

The casting is wonderful. I love Donal Logue, no matter what he's in, and the casting of the various Bat-villains is inspired. Robin Lord Taylor is a perfect Penguin, if not in shape, in performance, mannerisms, and behavior. Camren Bicondova is almost a young Michelle Pfeiffer stunt and face double. Cory Michael Smith is the perfect Riddler in the same way Taylor is to Penguin.

Standing head and shoulders above the rest of the cast is Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney, the one character who has no counterpart in the comics. Every other character when you meet them, as a comics reader, you already now what to expect. You have some idea of what they are like before they open their mouth or do anything. Fish Mooney is the wild card, the unpredictable element that makes "Gotham" fun. The show needs more of those, and less of the Batman stuff.

I may hang in for a few more episodes, but I can't see myself, or the series itself, holding on much longer.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting....I've greatly enjoyed it so far, including the bat references. But I've never really read the comics,. I wonder if the show is better for the casuL fan whose not going to be bothered by the continuity and canonical lapses?