No Bats In This Gotham

No Bats In This Gotham

gothamOnce again, we are seeing a different take on the same story. Bruce Wayne and his parents, Thomas and Martha, old money of Gotham, are heading home after a night at the theater when they are gunned down in Gotham’s notorious Crime Alley. What could possibly be good about this?

But wait, this time around, things are a bit different. We open on a young woman racing along the rooftops, dareisay, Cat-like, in her movements. As she comes down and tears through the streets, she steals. She is obviously Selina Kyle, and will one day be Catwoman. She scales a fire escape as the Wayne family stumbles around the corner, and is witness to the scene so many are so familiar with; the gun blast, the pearls on Martha’s neck breaking and clattering to the ground, it’s an old scene made new once again.

This is Gotham. Set against the backdrop of a city, not a man, Gotham is told through the eyes of Detective Jim Gordon, who will one day take the spot of Commissioner. This is not that day, and for now he is a new detective, partner with the hard-boiled Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue, killing it as usual), Gotham aims to re-create the Batman mythos from the ground-up, ignoring the inherent problem in that. For now, they seem content to name-drop Batman’s saner villains, and the pre-existing La Familia style crime that plagued Gotham is very much set up here.

The problem inherent in a Batman show that lacks a Batman, but is meant to center around the origin of his villains, are that many of Batman’s villains exist only because the Caped Crusader himself does. The Joker is the best example of this, being the polar opposite of Batman, the Yin to his Yang, the Oil to his Water, Joker cannot exist in a reality where Batman is still a scared little 10 year-old boy.

It is not impossible, as the show has already proved with at least one of its interpretations. Robin Taylor is just the right balance of pathetic, weasly, chilling, and psychotic in his portrayal of the bird-like boss of crime Oswald Cobblepot, better known as The Penguin. If they take as much care with the other characters, such as Cory Michael Smith’s Edward Nygma (The Riddler) or itty-bitty Poison Ivy, then the show will be okay.

In so far as Nygma goes, he works for the department and we get about five minutes with him. In the span of those minutes, he tells four riddles, all with a smug, creepy smile on his face. When Gordon answers one of the riddles without missing a beat, Nygma looks very upset indeed, so we seem to be well on our way to Riddler being an active player.

Harvey Bullock, in the comics, is one of Gordon’s most trusted cops. He’s always had a strange way of upholding the law, and is certainly less afraid to cross the line if he needs to. The scenes with Jada Pinkett Smith’s Fish Mooney shows this for all it’s worth, creating a fair amount of tension between Gordon and his partner. There has to be a deeper game here though, because as it stands, Bullock is not likeable, and he comes an extremely likeable character in terms of the comics.

Gotham itself is perfect. This isn’t the gothic Gotham of Burton, nor the Neon of Schumacher, or the Chicagotham Nolan favored; this is GOTHAM. I have no idea where they are filming the series, but my bet would be back alleys and side streets of every city that is over 150 years old, because it has that age and character to it. The streets look like a place you don’t want to be, the city itself has that crumbling texture to it that makes it look solemn and fearful, not warm and inviting like certain boy scout’s Kansas homes are.

With Gotham comes the Batman mythos and with Batman comes 75 years of character history to mine, so there is every chance Gotham could turn into a show of Smallville proportion, seemingly never-ending. This is a good start, but my bet is this show is a marathon, not a sprint, so only time will tell.


Stuff And Things

  • Good to see both Ben Mackenzie (Jim Gordon) and Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock) back on television.
  • “Lackadaisical? Hm.”
  • What System-Of-A-Down-music-video-director was allowed near that crime-solving montage?
  • I am officially afraid of the Penguin’s teeth
  • Ivy’s name is going to rub comic fans the wrong way, so allow me to take a minute to correct Fox: Pamela Isley is Ivy’s name, Ivy is not Ivy’s name. Still, this could all be happenstance. Maybe there are lots of plant loving redheads in Gotham
  • With this, Flash, Arrow all airing with a large amount of success anticipated for the former two, as well as Supergirl getting her own series fairly soon, and Constantine on NBC, DC is fast becoming the ruler of the televised landscape. Marvel needs to hurry up on their Netflix content.
  • There are probably going to be a lot of suggestions that the sad stand up comic is the Joker, but I think that red herring is a little too scarlet and fishy. Personally, what I think is going to happen with the whole Joker problem that I mentioned earlier is an underlying serial killer story that begins early in the first season and whose victims have all the trademarks of a fledgling Joker. They’ll probably even call him the Smile Killer or something like that. Anyway, hedge your bets, but that’s mine.
  • Welcome to the TV Club for Fayetteville! (this title is tentative, I am open to suggestion) Ideally this is where all local TV nerds can gather to discuss last nights episodes and the things they liked, connect with other fans here in the local area, and tell me what I am doing wrong in my reviews =D No but seriously, you guys should definitely leave comments
Categories: Entertainment