(image courtesy of Fox.com)
The other day I finallly got a chance to sit down and watch the pilot episode of Fox’s much hyped/anticipated series Gotham. I’ve been a fan of the Batman long before the movies came out, mainly through DC’s Detective Comics. To me that series focused more so on his detective and investigative abilities rather then the whiz bang of the technology he had or epic battles. True, those were there as well but not so much as other titles.
So when I learned that the new Gotham series would focus on a young Jim Gordon and the early days of the city prior to the rise of the Batman, I was defintely curious and excited. What I liked about the pilot episode in terms of plot is that it focused on the investigation aspect of the Wayne murder while also developing the relationship between Gordon and Bullock as well as other characters, such as the Major Crimes Unit. The show also did a terrific job as delving into seedy side of Gotham’s organized crime, as well as showing how infamous character like the Penguin got their start.
Visually the series is fantastic. In a lot of ways it captures the art nouevu style of the comics perhaps even better then Nolan’s films did. The city has a familiar yet imaginative quality to it that separates it from the urban canyons of NYC from which it drew inspiration. In a lot of ways the setting has the feel of taking place decades ago, which makes sense given how young Bruce Wayne is in it. Yet there’s a scene with Jim Gordon using a cell phone which kinda broke me out of the immerision of the setting. It just felt awkward and out of place. Perhaps its a minor thing but it still stood out like a sore thumb to me. Especially when I don’t recall anyone using a computer or tablet at all, nor seeing any in the background in the scenes that take place at the police station, etc.
Overall, the acting is excellent and the characters are well written. Although, I didn’t really care for the way they portrayed Alfred. The accent and mannerisms seemed to bombastic and abrasive to me. In my mind Alfred was the kindly and wise caretaker of Bruce. Now he seems to be some cross between Australian and Cockney accented dude with a football coach mentality.
Usually, I don’t like prequels of a series since you know that the main character will live since he/she is in future stories. Yet Gotham appeals to me because the ‘universe’ of Batman is rich in character and history. Even the casual fan of Batman knows the basic back story of Bruce/Batman. Yet the backstory of Gordon and nefarioius characters like Falcone, Mooney, Selina Kyle and etc hasn’t been explored as extensively. The city itself is very a character as any of the heroes or villans and is worthy of being explored.
I definitely plan on following this series, and I hope that Fox doesn’t repeat its past sins of cancelling/dropping the ball on this stellar series like it has done with other great series, ie Firefly. If the writers can keep the ball rolling I think Gotham can be a long running series that contributes greatly to the mythos of Batman.