We all know the story of Batman. Bruce Wayne sees his parents gunned down in an alley by a mugger and eventually becomes Batman. What happened in between though? Unfortunately, we get more “answers” than we wanted in Fox’s Gotham premiere.
With a Arrow entering season 3, Agents of SHIELD entering its sophomore season, new premieres such as Constantine and The Flash, as well as rumors of Teen Titans and Supergirl shows, the superhero genre may have found its new home on the small screen.
The one I was the most leery about was Gotham. A show revolving around the gritty and corrupt GCPD in a dangerous city before Batman sounds great on paper, but the fact that it is a network show severely hinders it.
Ripe with in your face references and cheesy, generic dialogue, Gotham feels like the producers don’t understand subtlety. For instance, as soon as Edward Nygma is introduced, he starts spouting off riddles. It’s ridiculous. Make him OCD or make him more Dexter-like. A great character plot for him would be to help Bullock and Gordon track down the Cluemaster. We want to see how they became these villains, just not immediately see villains anyone would recognize.
In a 44 minute episode, there are so many villain references jammed down our throats, it is groan worthy and almost unbearable. Catwoman stealing Milk, Calling Oswald the Penguin for seemingly no reason, a comedian at a club, a girl named Ivy, really? Might as well have an ice cream truck drive down the street that says “Mister Freeze” or have Bruce playing with young Harvey Dent who has mud on half of his face.
Besides Robin Lord Taylor’s the Penguin, the acting is atrocious. From Ben Mckenzie’s boring Gordon to Donal Logue’s inconsistent Bullock to David Mazouz’s whiny Bruce Wayne the acting seems like everyone is phoning it in. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is so generic that it feels like every cop scene from an 80s movie: “There’s light in this world, Bruce.” “Well, it looks like you’re stuck with me as a partner.”
None of the cops even seem remotely bad (as in shady and corrupt) they just seem bad (as in bumbling Cheif O’Hara types). Even Gordon feels like too much of a pretty boy and very one dimensional. Should we get a good actor to play Gordon? No get a good-looking guy, so girls will watch the show. The Penguin is the best character by far. He really sells his slimy ways and is rooted in the seeds of the underworld as a henchman. I’d rather see a whole show about him.
The plot is iffy and full of holes. The new rookie cop lives in a clocktower penthouse (obvious Oracle reference)? Bullock is corrupt but saves Gordon anyway out of the blue even though they sort of hate each other (but not nearly enough to cause conflict)? Gordon tells young Bruce, a child, that there is an elaborate police cover-up of his parents’ murder?
Instead of having these in your face A-List villains that will be way older than Batman, use some lower tier villains to adapt for the series: Hush, Cluemaster, Ventriloquist and Scarface, Black Mask, Firefly, the Holiday Killer, Zsasz, etc. Also, introduce other DC heroes as one offs like the Question (paired up with Renee Montoya).
I love Batman, but this show is only slightly better than Birds of Prey. Hopefully, it will get better with time, but right now it’s not looking good.
Fox’s Gotham series premiere is a 4 out of 10 Bats Embryos.
Kyle Dodson is a writer, comedian, Rock Solid Podcast producer, Batman aficionado, facial hair connoisseur, and oxford comma supporter.