So, before I get into the nitty gritty regarding Gotham, I do want to point out that I actually quite enjoy the FOX series and am happy it got picked up for a second season recently. There are some fantastic performances by Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee, Ben McKenzie and the breakout star, in my opinion, Robin Lord Taylor. Additionally, the concept is not that bad especially considering the famous rogues gallery behind Batman. When I first heard they were making the show I had some ideas of what they are trying to do with it, but it ended up surprising me in a lot of ways. The sub plot regarding the mafia is fascinating to watch, especially as it gives Robin Lord Taylor some great scenes as the Penguin and I was even surprised how intimidating I find Jada Pinkett Smith as the oddly named Fish Mooney. My problems with the show are more about its structure and the potential I saw in the concept.
With all that behind me, I will state my biggest issue about the show and that is how doesn’t feel a like it is about Gotham. What do I mean with that? Well, similar to how Smallville was focusing on a young Clark Kent learning to control his powers, this show feels more about a young Bruce Wayne becoming Batman. Yes, I know Ben McKenzie as Gordon is the main focus, but it doesn't truly feel like it. Understandable that most of our expectations would have probably been destroyed if Batman wasn't included in some way or antoher, but it just seems strange that shortly after his parents got murdered he just starts becoming Batman. He instantly tries to solve the case behind his parents murder, tries to know everything he can, is practicing to overcome his fears. This is something a teenage Batman would do, but shouldn’t he be mourning at his age? This is simply a storyling I believe Batman Begins told so well that it seemed unnecessary in this show and they seem to be rushing that plotline, if it even is one.
As I mentioned before, this show does not feel like it should be called Gotham, rather it would have worked better if the main focus truly stays with Gordon and is called Gotham PD. You might be wondering how do those two letters change anything. It is more about what Gotham is and always was, a very important part to the Batman mythos. I highly recommend anyone to read the current run on Batman by Scott Snyder. The entire plotline focusing on the Court of Owls felt like a very natural way of showing us what Gotham truly is. Even Nolan understood this and made it seem that for some reason this city creates the most corruption in the world. I am no professional if it comes to what the Batman mythos stands for and things naturally change over time. Hell, every incarnation of Gotham has changed some element of what that city stands for or how it was visually presented.
To elaborate on my point about the show’s name, when I first heard the news regarding its release, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to look at Gotham from different point of views. While I believe it would have certainly been interesting to see Batman in the show, I really wanted to feel his presence more than actually seeing him. With it being a prequel he is a child and there is nothing any villain has to truly fear besides their usual problems. I really wanted each season to follow a different villain with him trying to live in a world where Batman exists. This would not work with every single villain of course, as they aren’t all easy to bring to the small screen, but the potential it would have had to explore more of Doctor Freeze, Harley Quinn or even more of Penguin just seemed enticing. Also imagine never truly seeing Batman but always knowing he is there with some small hints at him hunting our villains. This concept wouldn’t work with a 22-episode season, but if they either split in two or just kept it short overall, it could have been a great concept to finally see what it means to live in a world with a man dressed as a bat.
In the end, I still enjoy the show, because we will never truly get what we imagine it to be. Yet even if our expectations are never truly fulfilled it is a great time to live as we have many different shows focusing on our favorite heroes or even simply their worlds to enjoy. Gotham does a great job on telling these character stories and I’ll be honest I absolutely love the set design of this show. It feels like someone took the world of Nolan’s Batman and inserted into the classic animated series we all loved.
So, what are your thoughts on Gotham? Do you agree or disagree with me? If so, tell me why in the comments below!