I’ve had a few days to allow the series premiere of Gotham to sink in a bit, to ferment, if you will. Do we have the characteristics indicative of a beautifully structured show, an age-worthy story that will only get better with each proceeding episode? Or are we looking at a discounted bottle of Charles Shaw? A cheap, tasteless impostor passing itself off as a “Batman” series to unsuspecting victims unaware they’re being fed garbage. Let’s have a quick examination to determine, shall we?
The show was developed by Bruno Heller who is best known for the HBO series Rome, on which he wore several hats: creator, executive producer, and head writer. He was also involved with CBS’s The Mentalist for which he is credited as creator, writer, and showrunner. This English transplant has quite the Hollywood pedigree, wouldn’t you say? Don’t count your penguins just yet, my friends.
Truth be told, when Jada Pinkett Smith was announced as a character on the series, I was neither excited nor disappointed. I like her as an actress. I think she can deliver given a compelling role. Fish Mooney, however, is not a compelling role. The character was apparently created for the series and has no history within the DC comic book universe. She’s cartoony and really doesn’t carry any weight, especially as a criminal working for such a heavyweight as Carmine Falcone. I know what you’re thinking – Eric, this is a show based on a comic book, ya lunkhead, to which I would reply – Believability within the parameters of any story is always a requirement for your audience’s suspension of disbelief. When John Doman’s Carmine Falcone has his first scene, it’s like a breath of fresh criminal-air. And Doman is good. Really good. He holds the weight a major villain within Gotham should hold.
Don’t get me wrong, the show has plenty to salivate over. Robin Lord Taylor as a young Oswald Cobblepot is fantastic and awesomely creepy. Ben McKenzie (James Gordon), Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock), and Sean Pertwee (Alfred Pennyworth) all deliver on the goods. I even like what they’ve done with the Riddler (Edward Nygma for those new to the character). Making him a forensic scientist is a stroke of genius in my opinion because at their core, crimes are merely riddles in need of solving. Although, I’m curious as to why he’s written like an homage to Jim Carrey’s outlandish portrayal of the character in the universally despised Batman Forever?
If I were to pick a standout component of the show thus far, I’d say David Mazouz as a young Bruce Wayne is it, hands down. You can see in the kid’s eyes the makings of his future alter ego. I feel privileged to have met this young thespian at Comic-Con a few months ago. I think he’s gonna be one of the breakout stars of the show.
So, should you watch Gotham? Based on what’s been presented in the series premiere, I’d say yes. It has potential. Potential which I’m eager to see fleshed out into a show worthy of its title.