Image Courtesy of: Fang FanGirl

I really tried to come into this with some sort of open mind but the pilot to new Fox series Gotham, just felt like someone made a fanfiction and pitched it to a network.  What if Selina Kyle witnessed the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents?  What if much of the major villains before they were major villains were involved with that story?  What if Jim Gordon was younger and didn’t have a mustache and glasses, also a war hero and had a father that was in the DA?

Needless to say first impressions aren’t exactly Gotham’s strong suit, there are many allusions made to where people would end up later in life but without any hint of subtlety.  It gets really ridiculous early on, Bruce already acting with revenge on the mind, Kyle already sneaking around like a cat, Edward Nigma being a forensics expert speaking in riddles, Oswald Copplepott referred to as a Penguin (Though lacking chubbiness and a certain long nose), Ivy Pepper (Still an awful name) being around plants.  For a show that tries to tell a story of how James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) began to fight corruption in the city, the heavy handed-ness of the foreshadowing just feels like a distraction from what is supposed to be the core story.

The core story itself just is trying to embrace cheesiness, whilst at the same time going for a gritty crime drama, both elements don’t work especially when the design varies from comic book colorful (Some of the best parts of the episode IMO) to gritty blues and grays.  Gordon’s speeches to Bruce (David Mazouz) strike of just artificiality, like who the hell would talk to a kid like this?  Gordon’s comforting of Bruce in Batman Begins said a lot more when it didn’t need stupid speeches about light coming or something.  In fact a lot of what develops just feels artificial, the moment Gordon enters the episode, a big deal being made of “shiny shoes”, the obvious twist that Bruce’s killer would not be one character and a random tip is enough to put doubt on it, Renee Montoya’s Bechdel test failing conversation with Barbara, none of how the story progresses feels natural.

About the few saving graces that makes this pilot tolerable is Donal Logue’s performance as the corrupt Harvey Bullock (And unlike Blade and Ghost Rider he gets to live this time), whilst Jada Pinkett-Smith gives a deliciously hammy performance as Fish Mooney.  There isn’t really any other performances that stand out or are really that great, doesn’t feel like elevation to what is pretty mediocre material, James Gordon especially just comes across as a bland goody two-shoes.

Being a pilot, it does set-up for more things to come, but honestly I don’t find myself caring.  As much as they try to set-up interest in big arcs for the main characters being the people who they will be, it just makes me yearn for actually seeing characters BE those characters.  In fact I feel like this show would have been better off being a story about the police in Gotham in an era of Jokers and Riddlers being Jokers and Riddlers, or maybe even a straight Batman series.  But in trying to make an interesting story about cops before the city became infamous for crazed supervillains, this pilot failed.

Verdict:
Won’t be staying for the full season

End of Rant

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