Now Geek This: A Review of Gotham

nowgeekthisIn this edition of Now Geek This, I will be reviewing the new Fox TV series Gotham.  Gotham airs Mondays at 8 PM, and stars Ben Mckenzie as Detective Jim Gordon, and Donal Logue as Detective Harvey Bullock.  The series is a prequel to the Batman mythos, and tells the stories of Gotham City in the years prior to the rise of the Dark Knight.  The will focus on Jim Gordon in the days before he becomes the police commissioner, and will feature some familiar characters before in their early days.I must admit that I was unsure about this show in the days leading up to its premier.  I was confused about what angle the creators would be using for Gotham.  Obviously, it is a prequel to the Batman mythos, though which version of Batman is undetermined, but would this be a show about Bruce Wayne’s training?  Would this be a standard cop show set in the Batman universe?  Obviously, Batman’s rogues are featured in the show, but to what end exactly?  Would we be seeing their origins play out during the course of the series?  Though some of these questions still remain unanswered by the pilot episode, I can say that I at least have a better understanding and appreciation for what the creators are trying to accomplish with this show.

Gotham revolves around Jim Gordon, the man we Batman fans know and love as the commissioner of Gotham City, during his early days as a detective new to the Gotham Police Department.  The atmosphere of the show is perfect, exactly what you would expect from a show taking place in Gotham.  The shots of the city itself are well done, showing the decay and degradation of  a city overrun with organized crime.  The show captures the look and feel of Gotham city perfectly.

The acting on the show is excellent as well, helping to make each character believable, which is no small task when you consider that we all have our own ideas about how these familiar characters should be.  Ben Mckenzie is perfect as the too good for Gotham Jim Gordon, and it will be interesting to see how he fights the city’s attempts to corrupt him.  Donal Logue is also great as the gruff, beaten down cop Harvey Bullock, the antithesis to his partner Jim Gordon.  Even David Mazous did an exceptional job as poor Bruce Wayne, as we watch him slowly evolve from a mournful young boy into the vigilante we know he will become.

However, as with most comic book bases stories, it is the villains that truly shine. Gotham shows us some of Batman’s greatest villains in their very early stages, and it will be interesting to see how far the show takes these characters.  Jada Pinkett Smith was great as new character Fish Mooney, a mid level mob boss working directly under Carmine Falcone, the mob boss of Gotham City.  But, it is the familiar villains that are the most interesting.  Robin Lord Taylor is remarkable as Oswald Cobblepot, who will become the Penguin, a mere peon working for Mooney who has dreams of taking her place in the food chain of Gotham.  You can see signs of the Penguin in the subtle moves and gestures he makes, as well as his appearance.  I also enjoyed seeing Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma, who will some day become the Riddler, who works for the Gotham Police Department and enjoys playing riddle games with people who often don’t have the patience to deal with his quirks.

There were a few things about the show that bothered me a little bit as I watched the show, however.  For example, the ages of some of the characters makes me wonder.  We do know for a fact that Bruce Wayne is twelve years old in the series as that is the age he told Gordon he was.  With that as a baseline, it does make me wonder about the ages of characters like Penguin and Riddler, who do seem to be perhaps in their early twenties, or late teens at the earliest.  I can buy Penguin being that much older than Batman, but I had always been under the impression that the Riddler was closer to the age of the Dark Knight.  Also, Selina Kyle, who will become Catwoman some day, is also someone I thought to be close to Batman’s age, but she appears to be a good bit older than the twelve year old Bruce Wayne.  Of course, this could all be speculation on my part, and I could be way off base, so I am willing to accept these factors for the sake of the show.

One other thing that bothered me a little is that Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred, a man who will one day become like a second father to Bruce, seems to be a bit of a jerk at first.  Though, admittedly, we don’t see a lot of Alfred in the first episode, his brief interactions with Bruce made him seem harsh and callous.  I am hoping that this is just because the close relationship between Bruce and Alfred has not developed yet, and we will see Alfred warm up and become the caretaker we know and love.  I am really hoping that will be the direction the show takes in that regard.

I went into Gotham not sure what to expect, and questioning which direction the show would take, concerned that it would end up being a huge mess.  I am happy to say that, after watching the first episode, all of those feelings have dissipated, and I found myself actually excited to see more of this show.  Gotham stays true enough to the Batman mythos to keep fans like me happy, but still manages to find its own direction.  The show is entertaing for fans of Batman, but I believe that it is still very accessible for those that might only know Batman from the Christopher Nolan films.  I am very much looking forward to future episodes of this show, and I highly recommend Gotham to anyone who has any interest in the Batman mythos.  There is still a lot of ground Gotham can cover, and it is going to be a lot of fun to watch.

That’s it for this edition of Now Geek This.  Tune in next time for our next exciting adventure.

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