Friday, September 26, 2014

Gotham Episode 1

Gotham is a BAD town. Bruce Wayne's parents were seemingly arbitrarily murdered in an alleyway. The police department is essentially run by the mafia. There's a mob war coming. And the only thing standing in the way of that evil is Detective James Gordon. Until of course he ultimately fails, and Bruce Wayne grows up and has to take care of things. But that's a long ways off.

So How Do You Make A Batman Show, Without Batman?

Let's face it. Batman is kind of boring. He's a brooding, no fun having superhero who wouldn't even exist without crime or his extensive rogue's gallery. He's mentally, physically, and technically gifted and he's your hero so he's never really going to die. So why not make a show focusing on the more interesting part of Gotham City, the bad guys! This is what I imagine how the pitch for Gotham went, and it's not a bad idea. Since the movies already have Batman occupied, the supporting bad guys are going to have to take center stage.

How Many Times Can You Kill Batman's Parents?

But the network just couldn't get away from Batman. The opening scene is the all too familiar Bruce Wayne's parents getting murdered in a dark alley. It's a constant in this universe, and it's Bruce's reason for becoming Batman, so it's important. But if Gotham is going to survive, it has to get away from Batman because he's never going to be on the show. We know this kid is going to grow up into a bad-ass. We don't need to see him conquer his fear. The hints don't need to be there.

Harvey Bullock is a Complicated Cop

Ben McKenzie may be the star as James Gordon, but his straight laced cop is too righteous and too good, which ultimately makes him a little bland. On the other hand, Harvey Bullock, played by the awesome Donal Logue provides a great performance of a corrupt cop who still cares but has been on the job too long. While he's clearly in the bad guy's pocket, he's not without a soul as he went to save his partner. And even though his reasoning was essentially to avoid paperwork, it's this attitude which makes him way more interesting than Gordon.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of the Penguin

Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, the eventual Penguin is the other standout in this episode. The character is sadistic, ambitious, and really quite lucky that Gordon is such a boy scout. We know what he's going to become, but I've become fascinated as to how it's going to happen. Add to that a bat-crap crazy, over the top vindictive Fish Mooney, and you have criminals that make Gotham interesting.

It's Getting Kinda Crowded in Here

I know this pilot really had to set up the whole Gotham universe so they had to cram a lot into it. We got a young Selina Kyle witnessing Bruce's parents' murders and slinking around Wayne Manor possibly casing the joint. Ivy, the daughter of the suspect was Poison Ivy and to drive the point home, put her next to a nice leafy plant. And finally, the most egregious cameo was Edward Nygma, the coroner for the Gotham City PD, who if you didn't know was the Riddler, then you just flat out didn't watch this scene. Even by the end of the episode we got to meet mob boss Carmine Falcone. By the end, I felt like there were a few too many characters in this one episode and hopefully they get used more sparingly as the season goes on.

There's nothing particularly earth shattering in the first episode but good acting and good writing go a long way. The purpose of a pilot is to get you interested. Well I'm interested. The trick now is to keep me interested.

No comments:

Post a Comment