On October 12, Channel 5 broadcast the first live action Batman series since Adam West’s 60’s Batman. When the new Gotham was announced I’ve got to be honest I was slightly worried. The whole history and lore of the Batman universe has been set in stone for a number of years both in the comics and an animated film but it does leave a lot of gaps. The timeline jumps from the death of the Wayne parents, to a little of James “Jim” Gordon’s rise though the GCPD and then Bruce Wayne becoming Batman. I’ve always been interested in the GCPD, what made them so bad that Bruce Wayne had to become Batman to fix Gotham? I hope the series will tell us more.
The pilot “Gotham” shows us a city racked by underworld violence where the only thing trying to keep order are more violent or bent cops. James “Jim” Gordon comes in as a light of truth and justice hoping to help clear up the town only to get brought down in it.
The set and design of this new Gotham has been very well done in my opinion. The cityscapes are recognizable as a modern US city but have been edited enough as to not to recognized as any one place. It seems to sit between New York and Chicago with the interior shots of the Gotham City police department adding to this effect with lots of dark wood and stained windows helping it look like an old, well-used building.
The characters themselves are all very well portrayed but some feel a little over used at this point. I know it’s the pilot and the producers want to get as much attention at this early point as they possibly could but fitting in four of Gotham’s big villains at this point when only one had any real input to the story was a little harsh. It often felt like the writers wanted to keep reminding us that we were watching Batman and not another Cop show. The Edward Nygma section was particularly painful as the main character “Harvey Bullock” kept using lines like;
“Just tell me what it is, if I want riddles, I’ll read the funny pages.”
It was almost as if he turned to the camera, looked the viewer straight in the eye and whispered “Psst….this is the Riddler!” before carrying on with what was a very interesting storyline.
The main story in the pilot is setting up a power struggle between two rival Mobs in Gotham, Fish Moodey and The Falconies. This is the story I want to see and would like to see the writers stay away from dropping well known villains in to keep the audience interested. The characters, both Cop and Mod alike, have been written in a really gritty way that makes them so much more watchable than the more clean cut cop shows with high heels and perfectly manicured nails (I’m looking at you CSI!).
In closing although the start felt a little forced in places I think Gotham is going to go very well and please a lot of fans.
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