New Bat-Time, New Bat-Channel1 of 12It’s been almost 20 years since there was a Batman show on Fox (the last time was Batman: The Animated Series), and it was only a matter of time before another one would be added to the program line up. Gotham premiered last night with seemingly solid praise and already garnered an 8.9 on imdb.com.
The new live-action series tells the story of a world before a Batman and concentrates on the citizens of the most possibly crime-ridden city on the planet. The show stars Ben McKenzie (coincidentally the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman from the animated adaptation of Batman: Year One) as Detective Jim Gordon and Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock (making this the first time the character has been featured in live-action form) as the good cop/bad cop taking on Gotham’s crime bosses and future rogues.
There were Easter Eggs aplenty and while it was cool to see Gotham City again so soon after the Nolanverse has finished, this is a whole new take with lots of surprises in store. The pilot wasn’t perfect, but it still shows the promise of a show with a great future. Here we’ve compiled a list of what we’d like to see later down the line from the series to keep us interested as well as things that need to be smoothed out.
Gotham As the Main “Character”2 of 12The show is called Gotham for a reason: it’s not just the setting, but almost like a living nightmare. A place where daydreams are eaten and devoured. Even when the sun is out, it’s still overcast and grey. There’s something to be said about the difference between Tim Burton’s Gotham and Christopher Nolan’s and which direction the show is more like. If anything it’s definitely more Burton’s with murky alleyways and seedy bars with an almost aura of grime. Gotham isn’t about the workings of the GCPD or any one character, but the city and the inhabitants at large.
Keeping the Timeless Feel3 of 12No Google. Hardly any internet to speak of. No smartphones. Older looking cars. You couldn’t quite place the time setting of the show, but if it had one, it would more than likely be “in the not too distant past.” It’s contemporary, but again, feels more like older NYPD Blue episodes than current cop shows. It grounds things and gives that a gritty “cop show” edge.
This also really helps it feel more like a "prequel." If the Nolanverse or the upcoming Snyder movies is the present-day Batman, then his past should feel a bit out of time.
No Need To Rush Things4 of 12Bruce Wayne just saw his parents murdered, and while the idea of wanting vengeance is now turning in his head, there’s still almost 20 years before he first becomes Batman. Point is, there’s no need to bring in all these characters at once and have them intertwined with one another. We have years to go until the puzzle is pieced together and while we get that the showrunners might want to bring all these characters together and they are children of Gotham so to speak, it might be a bit much too soon. That was just the pilot, but still, slow it down, and let the characters and story grow organically.
In the tradition of The Wire...5 of 12It’s a proven formula that a great cop show could be a network’s staple series, and while Fox already has Brooklyn Nine-Nine as another type of cop show altogether, Gotham could be on the opposite side of the spectrum.
As mentioned, Gotham just isn’t about the Gotham Central Police Department, but it is one of the primary focuses. Gotham isn’t looking to be the next heir to the likes of The Shield or The Wire, but it has the unlimited potential to give viewers a great cop show that is built in the same sort of way. It can be hard to take a comic book world seriously, but that's what this one needs to accomplish to work in the long term.
Rise of the Penguin6 of 12Going back to the whole no rushing thing, seeing Oswald Cobblepot start out as a lackey to become a distinguished crime boss and one of Batman’s most famed rogues is already off to an interesting start. The idea that the Penguin could be Gotham’s first supervillain is a fun theory here and Robin Lord Taylor’s performance as the future Aquatic Lord of Plunder was one of the best takeaways from the pilot. There’s time for Penguin to make a name for himself and in a city full of “costumed freaks”, grinning sociopaths, and scientifically powered villains, seeing Cobblepot carve his name first can be fun and a way to show the Penguin as a legitimate threat.
Who is Fish Mooney?7 of 12Jada Pinkett-Smith’s gangster baroness Fish Mooney is an original character created for the show. She already has established ties to Cobblepot, Bullock, Falcone, and who knows what else in this canon.
From the get-go we know she’s a bad mutha [shut yo mouth] who will turn on you the second she gets a whiff of lack of loyalty. But who is she really? The exploration on how she ascended the ranks could be explored and give us a better idea of how she came to be could be an interesting route to see. She may not be an old-school bat-character, but that doesn't mean she deserves any less attention.
No Villain of the Week, Please8 of 12Smallville had this formula the first season that had a freak-of-the-week obstacle that Clark had to go through, and here’s hoping Gotham doesn’t follow suit. Showrunner Bruno Heller told fans to not expect a Bat-baddie every week post Pilot, but much like Smallville’s initial rule of “no flights, no tights”, things could change. Introducing a new villain every week for Jim to go through would eventually slow down the overall plot and make no room for advancing any sort of development. Good to know that’s how things are planned for now.
Riddle Me This: Why all the Puns?9 of 12The biggest gripes about the show came from the hitting-you-in-the-face-with oblique mentions anytime a certain character did their schtick. Edward Nygma is a forensics investigator...that talks in nothing but riddles? Oh, Okay. Oswald getting constantly called a penguin, when he really doesn’t resemble one at first (the waddle he does after he sustains his leg injury is another story), and of course Selina steals milk to feed cats because she’s the future Catwoman. Get it? Hopefully when we meet people the likes of Harvey Dent there won’t be any mention of him being “two-faced”. Let the characters tell their own story and stop with the force-feeding.
Rise of Gordon10 of 12Witnessing Gordon ascending the ranks was one of the most interesting things about Nolan’s trilogy and here we see what is basically Jim Gordon: Year One. He wasn’t always the Bat-friendly Commissioner that we’ve seen in other mediums; he had to earn Batman’s trust.
Gordon accomplished that by being Gotham’s protector in a world without the Batman and proved to be a good and decent man. Although the presence of Sara Essen might later test his decency as a fiancé/husband, his loyalty to Gotham City has never wavered. Seeing Gordon going face-to-face, and sometimes fist-to-face with some of the city’s underworld, could be an inspiration to young Bruce Wayne as well here.
Bruce and Alfred11 of 12It wasn’t the biggest moment. It wasn’t something laced with easter eggs or nods and a wink. It was just a simple embrace between a “father” and his “son”. Gotham’s Alfred, Sean Pertwee, had a minimalized role in the pilot but his presence was felt from the moment he went to see Bruce at the crime scene.
True, it’s been mentioned they are making Alfred less Alan Napier and more of the hardened Michael Caine variety, there’s still a softer side to Pennyworth and the chemistry between him and young Bruce (portrayed by David Mazouz) was undeniably palpable. Bruce has already started conquering fears and Alfred being there to guide him and encourage him should be seen as a driving force for the show as a whole. While we want the focus to be as much on Gordon and company as possible, when you have Bruce around, make sure Alfred stays just as much the focus, please.
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