Pilot: “Gotham”

IMG_0304.JPGThe comic book adaptation craze is clearly not happy with dominating the big screen anymore. Time to conquer the little one. Seriously, how many more of these types of shows are we going to get? Isn’t one enough? No? Really it’s not, there’s talks of another for CBS… anyway…

The new Fox show “Gotham”, is one show sure to have Batman fans salivating, or at least comic book fans, but will it be able to continue to be worth the watch week after week?

This comic book drama series stars Ben McKenzie (“Goodbye World”, “Southland”), Donal Logue (“Law & Order: SVU”, “Vikings”), David Mazouz (“The Games Maker”, “Major Crimes”), Zabryna Guevara (“The Guilt Trip”, “Burn Notice”), Sean Pertwee (“Elementary”, “Alan Partridge”), Robin Lord Taylor (” Taxi Brooklyn”, “The Walking Dead”), Erin Richards (“The Quiet Ones”, “Open Grave”), Camren Bicondova (“Battlefield America”), Cory Michael Smith (“Dog Food (Short 2014)”, upcoming “Camp X-Ray”), and Jada Pinkett Smith (“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”, “Hawthorne”).

The series was developed by Bruno Heller (“The Mentalist”, “Rome”) and the pilot written by Heller.

The series premiered on Sept. 22, 2014.

What to think? What to write? Honestly, I’ve been hesitant about this series from the moment I heard about it. No offense to some of the characters, but most of them don’t sound interesting enough to want to include or follow week to week. There’s a reason that in all, or most, of the media representations of any Batman related character they’re adults. The younger versions probably didn’t sound worth while. Guess Fox is hoping they are, but somehow I doubt it. Then there’s the question of which mythologies are they going to follow? There’s so many it seems, that you could end up going in any direction you please. This certainly happened for “Smallville” and “Birds of Prey”.

Right now, after having sat through the episode, the only thing going for it, is the dark, gritty tone. I like dark and gritty, but these feelings aren’t going to be able to drive you episode to episode, like an actual character will or should.

I know that I’m supposed to like James Gordon, McKenzie’s character, but he’s not at the top of interesting people for this show. That honor rests with Smith and her evil Fish Mooney. While, like all the characters really, we don’t know too much about her, we know she’s tough and ruthless. She’s also quite fun too watch on screen. I really am only watching because of Smith, and I’m glad I was right on what to expect from her character. If she drives a lot of the evildoings in this series, this could be fun. If not, I may grow bored.

While, McKenzie may not be at the top, he’s a close second. He does appear to be interesting, but that’s solely from a character development standpoint, which can only get you so far. He’s pretty green, it seems, and will clearly have to learn his way around Gotham as a detective, but there better be something more. What will be the overall defining thing for this show? What’s going to keep me? I ask this, because I really don’t see McKenzie being the overall draw each week.

I will point out, that the introduction of the series and Selina Kyle, played by Bicondova, was actually quite fun. While she didn’t say anything, it’s the look created for this iteration of a girl who will someday be Catwoman, that made her fun to watch. However, that’s years from now, and I don’t know how we’re supposed to like her throughout a potentially long running series.

Taylor, thus far, which isn’t much, does seem interesting, but since he was just some sort of henchman, there’s nothing that says be excited to follow this creepy man. Yes, the bright spot with his character is he’s really creepy. Congrats to the makeup department there.

Now that I’ve picked out four different characters, I guess I can make my main point. How am I supposed to enjoy a series that wants me to care about so many different characters, when most of them don’t even become all that interesting until many years later? I have a hard enough time caring about the 300 characters on “Game of Thrones”, what’s going to make this show any different? I am aware, again, that this is supposed to be part of the reason to watch, but I just don’t see it lasting too long. I mean, come on, they even introduced, for some reason, a little girl who, I believe, is supposed to be the character Poison Ivy. Why?

And lastly, this is one pilot episode where everything is seemingly closed up nicely, and there’s nowhere to go now. What’s the true lure for me to come back? Story wise, there’s not really anything. I guess Smith will just have to do for now. Which is fine as she is playing a villain after all. I can’t think of the last time she played the bad guy. If the writers don’t come up with bigger mysteries, and bad guys, this is only going to be another police procedural. Like we don’t have enough of those already.

Come to think of it, if this is basically an origins story, how are we supposed to be surprised by anything? It’s not like you can kill of some of these well known characters. Or can you? Probably not. You’d risk upsetting super nerds the world over just to make an interesting show? Looks like I just found what could be a huge weakness for this show. Time will tell, as will the ratings. I’ll give this five more episodes and if I see no promise, well, I’ll free myself up for something else.


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