If you, like me, are a devoted disciple of Batman: The Animated Series, then I have some really good news. Fox’s new series Gotham holds much of the darkly stylized funny pages awesome along with good casting choices and enough Law & Order procedural drama to possibly hold the Network audience’s attention.
I will say that going in, I had my doubts. (Yes, I’m one of the few people who really enjoyed The WB’s Birds of Prey when it was on, so judge me how you will.)
There are only so many times you can retell the same story while keeping it both new and traditional at the same time. Batman’s origin is something you can’t readily change, even the frickin’ New 52 knew that.
We all know the story of how young Bruce Wayne lost his parents; Mr. And Mrs. Wayne are shot by a robber after exiting a theater with their young son in tow. There are only so many ways to tell this, and I’m glad it didn’t garner more than a four minute segment. The most memorable visual from this has always been Martha’s pearls scattering and bouncing across the dirty alley.
I love the high contrast world, fits the Gotham vision. I was concerned I wouldn’t like Gordon, but I find myself more easily believing him than anyone else in the show this far, aside from The Penguin and his interesting nose. The Jada Pinkett Smith character is….too Catwoman-y for me in her line delivery, but I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s meant to be taken.
And as for young Catwoman….I can’t stand her. If there is one thing in the pilot I could have done without, it’s the young rooftop watchful Selina Kyle and her not speaking. I’m curious to see how they’ll explain her origin, if she’ll be the daughter of the two crime bosses (yes, I know, stealing partially from the traditional Huntress origin) which I can see them doing for the conflict.
We even have a young Poison Ivy, but in Gotham, she is a waifish child named Ivy Pepper, who is the daughter of one of the city’s many thugs. I was at first leary and distrustful of this choice, but this doesn’t mean she won’t become a respected botanist and have her ‘accident’ in later years.
I love Detective Harvey Bullock sitting at the diner with his antacids, and the building buddy-buddy thing between the two policemen. Cracking some thug’s heads is the best bonding possible for our future Commissioner and top Detective. Oh, and if you’re one of the people who threw a fit about Gordon’s girlfriend being a redhead named Barbara, go read your Bats history. Barbara Keane-Gordon was in fact Jim’s wife, so there. Now, shush and let Mab watch her programs.
“Just tell me Ed, if i want riddles I’ll read the funny papers,” -Detective Harvey Bullock. One of the things I like is how nonchalantly they introduce these characters who we all recognize from their futures as members of one of the best Rogue’s Gallery of Villains in the history of comics. Here are some of the character posters released for the show. In the pilot we have Don Falcone, Fish, Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, and very possibly The Joker. I say that last one because of the young man auditioning to be a comedian in Fish’s club. Sure, that’s a jump, but tell me it wouldn’t be a good way to introduce a young Jack to the audience.
All in all, I have to say I’m rather pleasantly surprised with the series, and will definitely be watching. Hopefully this means it won’t get the “Fox Treatment”, because I see it was a wonderful show companion to NBC’s Constantine which premieres next month. Gotham, you done good thus far, keep it up.
“Fear doesn’t need conquering. Fear tells you where the edge is,” -Detective Jim Gordon