I've wanted to watch Gotham for a while but I had quite a few mixed feelings about the show in general. I understood the premise, but I wasn't sure if it could actually achieve something as grandiose as what I've seen in other comic book based ventures ...ahem Daredevil. Regardless of my emotional hesitation, I tried and tried to sit down and watch Gotham, but I could never get going on it and eventually my DVR waited too long and my episodes vanished, only to make me believe that I would never be able to watch Gotham.
I was about ready to chalk it up to another show that I would just have to catch on Netflix years from now, but thanks to the wonderful people over at DC Production, I was able to catch the Blu-Ray of Gotham before it was released last week. I've been digging through the episodes and I know that there are more than a few people who were just like me; wondering if it was truly worth the time to watch a show that isn't actually about Batman? Wondering if the cast of characters could carry a story that is so deep and rich?
Well, I'm here to tell you that if you haven't watched Season 1, you had better get on that before the Season 2 premieres because in my opinion it's definitely worth the time, and here's why.
If you told me that a show about Gotham City, carried by a cast of characters that doesn't technically include Batman, would actually be marvelous, I would have called you crazy. And yet.... it works brilliantly. Gotham revolves around a cast of characters that we all believe to know so well but through the first season we are meeting the characters at a time when they are all beginning to come into their own decisions as to who they will become. The show does well by focusing on the stories of the characters that are often seen as playing second fiddle to the main characters in Gotham. Within the first half of the season we meet some staples of the Batman story Oswald Cobblepot, Selina Kyle, Ivy Pepper, Edward Nygma, Harvey Dent and Victor Zsasz. Along with the villains we meet the many characters from the Gotham Police Department including Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya.
Overall the characters are portrayed brilliantly by the collection of actors brought in to create the story that I've fallen in love with; specifically Ben McKenzie (Gordon), Donal Logue (Bullock), Cory Michael Smith (Nygma), Camren Bicondova (Kyle), Robin Lord Taylor (Cobblepot) & Anthony Carrigan (Zsasz).
A Better Hook Than Most Cop Shows
Gotham is more than a comic book based drama, its about a character, Jim Gordon, who sets it upon himself to save his city. Jim Gordon is a detective in the Gotham Police Department who strives towards real justice amidst a thin and wavering line drawn between good and evil. Drawn into the underworld of criminals in a way that no other cop show could manage. Gotham brings with it one of the most famous fictional police stories written which allows the writers to truly bring a great deal of richness to the story that we all love.
It has fun with the mythology
This is where the fans of Batman and myself will probably differ in our opinions. I feel that Gotham's taking of a few liberties has added some refreshing nuances to the Batman mythology. Adding the original character of Fish Mooney as a sort-of in-between power hungry character between the Gotham mob bosses of Falcone and Moroni is a great plot twist. Her interactions with Falcone & Moroni are great, but the more intriguing twist is her early relationship with Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin) - watching him respond to her belittlement and hatred towards him shows how he could become the villain that we know from the character as he appears in the actual comics. Along with The Penguin, who is without a doubt a brilliantly portrayed character seeing the introduction of Selina Kyle, Ivy Pepper, Edward Nygma and even Bruce Wayne has truly added an incredible dynamic to the show. Watching them grow into the characters we know them as has truly been one of the greatest aspects of Gotham.
The setting is stunning
Gotham is nothing if it isn't visually inspired. From the CGI waterfront to the dark crevices hiding crime at every corner. It is visually exactly what I would expect to see if I were to enter Gotham. The city of Gotham is a sprawling metropolis full of dark, dingy and seemingly never-ending towering buildings, and it is masterfully designed by the visual team. The balance of shots suited for television and shots that are comic inspired is spot-on. Compared to other hero based shows (Arrow, Smallville, Lois & Clark, etc.) Gotham is on a level that would compete with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for its grandiose scale and believe-ability.
For a show based on a superhero, without actually introducing that hero - Gotham is a breathe of fresh air to the comic book based television shows. It carries the grit that is necessary but also builds a great story of how Batman and Gotham truly became what we read in the comics and see throughout the Batman films .