I have been trying to gather my thoughts about the new Fox series Gotham since it debuted last week. I was really hoping for an Arrow-like experience that would restore my love of DC characters. So far I’m not getting that kind of high at all.
The series is set in 2009, which eliminates the challenge of writing suspenseful situations in a world full of smart phones. Also the characters aren’t burdened by the crushing disappointment of the Lost finale.
Here’s a breakdown of the characters we have seen so far:
Bruce Wayne is a little boy, but I would say older than ten years old. Twelve, maybe? His parents are killed in the series premier’s cold open (spoiler). Now he’s dealing with the emotional aftermath of that by burning and cutting himself, listening to loud metal music, and drawing scary things. Oh, television.
James “Jim” “Chino” Gordon is our hero. He has so far maintained one facial expression for the entire series. He’s basically Rex Banner. He is just a detective at this point, but he lives in what could be Bruce Wayne’s penthouse.
Barbara Kean is Gordon’s fiancée and she is WOODEN. She is also a closeted or former lesbian? Who used to date Renee Montoya? Because she is also a lesbian so of course?
Harvey Bullock is a terrible man who is partnered with Gordon. I don’t know if we are supposed to sympathise with this character at all. I don’t.
Alfred Pennyworth is a cool, younger, tougher version of the iconic Wayne butler character. I’m into him.
Selina “Cat” Kyle is a young street hoodlum, stealing to survive. She’s tough and cool and is maybe 13 years old? The actress who plays her is very beautiful and looks a lot like comic book Selina Kyle. I like her.
Oswald Cobblepot is a weird, young psychopath who is largely underestimated by the Gotham underground. They will regret this.
Edward Nygma works for the forensics department of GCPD. He is super annoying and constantly dropping riddles. I’ll bet he becomes The Riddler.
Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen are on this show! I was excited about that. So far they haven’t had a ton to do but I expect they will become allies of Gordon and will provide a lot of the procedural drama part of the show.
Fish Mooney is an original character as far as I know. She’s played by Jada Pinkett Smith so she gets a LOT of screen time. Jada is CHOMPING scenery but it’s enjoyable.
There are some other characters too, like Carmine Falcone and Mayor Richard Kind. They are fine.
The show is 90% dick measuring in the form of men, usually Gordon and Bullock, standing half and inch away from each other and yelling in each other’s faces.
There’s also a lot of wink, nudge moments that are a little clunky, like the aforementioned riddling of the future Riddler. Or a young red-headed girl named Ivy gently nurturing a bunch of house plants.
The writers cram every cliché they can think of into this show, and overall I just want to fast forward ten seasons so it can be about Batman. There are two intriguing elements of the show for me so far:
- Jim Gordon developing a friendship/partnership with young Bruce Wayne;
- Selina Kyle witnessing the Wayne murders and secretly watching Gordon and Bruce Wayne. I hope to see a Selina/Bruce friendship develop.
As I mentioned in a previous post, there is plenty of super hero entertainment to go around these days, so if this show never gets better I’ll be fine with not watching it. These aren’t the desperate times of Smallville and Ghost Rider movies. With The Flash, Constantine, and a new season of Arrow on deck, there’s lots to watch.