All hell breaks loose on Gotham's streets as the crime families collide. Dr. Thompkins helps Barbara through therapy. Bruce and Alfred try to find out Thomas Wayne's secret.All hell breaks loose on Gotham's streets as the crime families collide. Dr. Thompkins helps Barbara through therapy. Bruce and Alfred try to find out Thomas Wayne's secret.All hell breaks loose on Gotham's streets as the crime families collide. Dr. Thompkins helps Barbara through therapy. Bruce and Alfred try to find out Thomas Wayne's secret.
The main problem with "Gotham" is that its narrative structure backbone is essentially a gang war between Carmine Falcone (John Doman) and Sal Maroni (David Zayas). There are indeed many other interesting things that happen in the show (which I will get to in a moment), but the entire structure is indeed based on the gang warfare principle. Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) play major roles in the gang activities, to differing effects. Fish is an extremely annoying, time-wasting character from the beginning, and she stays that way until the end. Oswald starts off as the best character in the show...but then is given very little new material after the first 4-5 episodes. All he does is stir up trouble between Falcone and Maroni episode in and episode out.
The other glaring weakness of the show is that the writers/producers really don't seem to have a direction that they are settled upon. They look to be just "throwing things against the wall to see what sticks". This is not a show built on careful plot/character deliberation. Instead, it is "charge forward and figure out the direction when you stop to catch your breath". This is especially galling with the Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) character. They tease his presence during the entire season...and then give him some rush, tertiary character development right at the very end. Obviously, nothing was planned out in the making of this show.
There were, however, some great, spine-tingling moments/characters that made me tune in for all of the episodes this season despite proclaiming my ambivalence to the show practically all the way through. For example...
-James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is a tremendous lead and I could see him easily turning into the "Commissioner Gordon" we all know and love. Unfortunately, in typical show fashion, he is saddled with a terrible partner character in Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). Not terrible in terms of acting, but terrible in that it is essentially a tag-along character. -Young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is spot on as the "spoiled rich boy who just lost his parents but will someday become a hardened hero because of it". His interactions with butler Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) produce some of the best moments/dialogue of the entire show. -Young Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) is a wonderful feline precursor to his later cat-ish ways. She is also the spitting image of a young Michelle Pffieffer (who played the Catwoman role in "Batman Returns") and carries a great screen presence.
All in all, "Gotham" is a show that "has its moments"...but not nearly enough of them to sustain any sort of interesting narrative over the course of a season (or probably beyond). I know that in the early goings of the show, the Bruce Wayne component wasn't going to be added at all. However, it seems like the FOX producers realized that they couldn't (or didn't want to) make a show called "Gotham" without a Batman-ish presence, so they caved. Not a good way to start the existence of the show...not knowing where it was going from the very beginning.
I compare this first season of "Gotham" to the later 2-3 seasons of "Smallville", which dealt almost exclusively with villains and story ideas plucked right out of comic books. That is really what "Gotham" is: crime noir (that could be ripped from the pages of any graphic novel) with enough canonical moments to keep Batman movies like myself interested. Thus, if you don't mind it being a crime/police procedural at heart, you will likely enjoy the proceedings much more than I. However, if you are looking for a true Gotham origins story (using the characters from the movies), you will be severely disappointed after the first few episodes. It just lacks too much focus to be anything close to great.
- Jul 3, 2019