Saturday, February 28, 2015

What I'm Watching: Gotham

In case you've missed it, this is one show I don't miss:


I hesitated to watch Gotham at first, because I figured (rightly) that some plot devices simply wouldn't work because we all know that certain characters live to know the adult Bruce Wayne, etc. and because I figured it's all kind of been done and the current over-saturation of comic-book media might be getting to me.

But... Gotham! I loved Batman Begins so very, very much, and I really like Batman as a character, so I had to give it a chance.

And I have enjoyed most of it. There are some fun things happening on this show. James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), the central character of the show, is honest, good, and willing to stand up against the worst horrors of old Gotham, even if he has to do it alone. But he's not perfect, he has flaws and makes mistakes, and this only serves to make me like him more. Harvey Bullock, Gordon's partner, (Donal Logue), who started out as a bit of an a** and not much else, has developed into a much more likable, frequent light-comic-relief character. 

There are many early appearances of Batman villains, most notably Penguin, who has owned this first season, played brilliantly by Robin Lord Taylor. Penguin (Oswald Cobblepot) is emotionally and mentally messed up from the get-go, and has struggled all season to survive the dark underworld, working for various crime bosses, trying to befriend Gordon, all the while struggling to earn his wacky mother's praise and adoration. (There are some amusing internet rumors that he is really the future Joker... hm.)
Penguin, left and Edward Nygma, probably the future Riddler

Also wonderful is Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma-- the future Riddler. Nygma is my favorite character on the show- awkward, sweet, twisted and vastly smarter than almost everyone else onscreen, Smith's portrayal is perfect. 

I'm surprised by how much I've enjoyed Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney. In spite of some scenery-chewing, you can't take your eyes off her. And in last week's episode she shocked everyone, showing how far she's willing to go to be in control. SPOILER

There are some annoying storylines and characters however. For instance, we've now been introduced to all of the following young people destined to be Batman's nemeses: Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Scarecrow, TwoFace (well, we've met Harvey Dent) and (much to my annoyance) a possible red-herring Joker. The kid they pulled in for a very early Joker-esque performance was trying way, WAY too hard to channel both Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson, in my opinion. And it is too soon in the series to already see so many future baddies. It makes me roll my eyes every time they show Ivy putting on something green, or Selina (Catwoman) climbing on a rail or rooftop. I'm a little annoyed at having so much future villainy introduced in a less-than-subtle fashion. We'll see how they all play out, I suppose.

The boy who plays Bruce Wayne, David Mazouz is good enough, and will hopefully get better as he grows up. One of the best characters on the show is Alfred Pennyworth. Played by British actor Sean Pertwee, he's quite different than the version seen in Batman productions to this point. I love it, though! It seems so much more authentic to me that Bruce was raised by someone tough, able to protect and teach Bruce how to fight. Here's a good article about this version of Alfred. 

The flavor and ambiance of Gotham is dark and rather different from other super-hero shows on right now (with the possible exception of another DC show- Arrow, which I just couldn't get in to). I think it's worth a look if you're even just a little curious. Sometimes gritty and violent, it's probably not for everyone.

OH, and PS, I absolutely LOVE the addition of Firefly alum Morena Baccarin as Dr. Thomkins, love interest for Gordon. 


Chris said...

I agree with most of this, Steph, but I have more quibbles than you. I stopped watching the show for awhile because I felt the humor uniformly fell flat, and because of Logue, and the Bruce and Alfred characters. I didn't like Logue at all, although I've enjoyed him in other shows. And the Bruce Wayne storyline is morose and very dull. Every time the plot returns there it's like the show hits "pause" and it takes a while to get going again. Alfred as a character is OK but the actor mumbles his thick British accent and I sometimes can't quite make out what he says. I returned to the show after Baccarin came onboard, and it has gotten better. Love her. And love her storyline. And I must agree that softening Logue's character has made him so much more tolerable. I'm enjoying Cobblepot, Nygma and Fish, and the actor playing Gordon is very good. Everything else you said is spot on (because I agree with it, of course). — Pop

Steph said...

I believe you're DC villain name is "The Quibbler, right Dad? Thanks for your comments! I came very close to stopping, but it's gotten so good I'm glad I didn't.