As soon as the pilot for the hit TV show Gotham had finished airing, all the author of this blog wanted to do was rush to the keyboard and feverishly rejoice to the world how awesome he thought Gotham was. But rather than let those impulsive fan-boy urges prevail, I decided to take a more delicate step with this and wait a few episodes in. That doubt that the impressive quality of the show was a short-lived fluke in the first episodes had been looming. But here we are 5 episodes in and so far, Fox’s Gotham has been a rich, velvety sublime ride in storytelling, showcasing the origins of the dark knight we’ve all grown to love and know as Batman.
If you’re familiar with the arc of the story, you know it involves a young Bruce Wayne having his parents Thomas and Martha murdered in cold blood in their home Gotham City. In the show, the traumatized youngster is then cared for and mentored by then-detective James Gordon and butler Alfred Pennyworth. All the meanwhile, in the seedy underbelly of Gotham, toils the sinister and treacherous workings of a looming mafia presence, where trust is non-existent and greed and corruption reign. Lots of backstabbing and a proverbial game of chess among them all to keep one step ahead of each other. And the likes of these characters include Carmine Falcone, Fish Mooney, Salvatore Maroni, and of course, mafia toady and aspiring underground big shot, Oswald Cobblepot.
Oswald brings a very unique feel to the show in that sometimes you’re not quite sure where you want his likeableness to take you. On one hand, his meek and awkward demeanor sheds a light on him that makes him look almost naive and pathetic, like a pet kitten left in the rain. Bringing the viewer to feel for the guy. Then that sympathy can turn into something else when you see him hack a guy to death with a kitchen knife in an alleyway. A highlight of the show, personally, is seeing Oswald play all his cards just right like a savvy born villain. Maybe not so much with laser precision, he is after all a budding crime-boss-to-be, but with enough care and focus where you see him learn from his mistakes.There’s something artful about how he operates, for sure.
Gotham is unlike many shows in that it’s about a superhero, but without a superhero whatsoever. The supporting characters play their parts so well and lend themselves to the show so tastefully, that you almost forget it’s about Batman. One well-written episode after another. You also never really know what to expect every week: a villain-of-the-week kind of episode that can stand on its own or a more Law and Order, adult scenario.
Hats off to the writers of Gotham. It has everything. Not to mention, some playfully laid out cameos and introductions to some infamous characters of the Batman universe (ie. Selina Kyle, Ivy Pepper, Victor Zsasz). It’ll be very interesting to see what becomes of Edward Nygma, currently a Gotham City Police Department forensics operative and coroner in the show. His moral downfall, riddled with possibilities. And where exactly does Harvey Bullock stand with Fish Mooney? Will there be some back-scratching that turns into back-stabbing?
If you love a good downbeat detective story, watch Gotham. If you love Batman, watch Gotham. If you prefer mediocre superhero-in-tights bullshit with vapid and uninspired love interest goings-ons, stick with the CW or wherever else you might find tripe like Arrow or Supernatural. Consider Gotham a mesmerizingly fun dark night on the couch.