This week, Fox premiered its brand new TV show set in the Batman universe, Gotham. Gotham is set to be a cop drama following James Gordon’s early career at the Gotham City Police Department. At first, I thought that this just might have been DC’s answer to Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD roughly one year after its initial debut on ABC, however after watching the pilot episode I can say that it definitely shows vast amounts of potential!
When I say the early career of Jim Gordon, I mean REALLY early in his career. The show opens up with a young Bruce Wayne witnessing the death of his parents which later leads to a young and passionate Detective Gordon swearing to Bruce that he’ll bring his parents murderer to justice. Before that scene, what you see from Detective James Gordon is that he’s boastful and confident, almost to the point of arrogance, but he is also naive about his views of justice and what he can do for the city. Unlike most cops of Gotham City, who are crooked or just have a grim outlook like Detective Harvey Bullock (who appears in this series as well as the second main character). It’s almost a complete 180 to how Jim Gordon is normally depicted. Not that it isn’t welcome here because he’s clearly supposed to become humble and more reserved as the story progresses and he grows as a character.
The presentation of the hour long show was done incredibly well. Pacing for the story was nice and steady so you never got lost as to what was going on, even with the twists that happened throughout the episode. This episode was a story about Gordon and Bullock searching for leads to bring them closer to the murderer of the Waynes, so as they searched all over Gotham to look for clues and leads, the cameos flood gates opened up and hit the viewers with wave after wave of, “Oh look, it’s [insert character’s name here]!” While I can say it was cool every time it happened, I felt like I was being pulled out of the real focus of the story just a little bit each time. Now with that being said, there were A LOT of cameos, which I loved! From Catwoman to Riddler, they were abundant and anyone who’s a fan of Batman will still enjoy pointing them out when they show up on screen.
One thing that was a little jarring to me at first was the costume designs, especially for Gordon and Bullock when they first appeared on the screen. It’s probably because by now I’m practically hardwired to imagine Jim Gordon with glasses, gray hair and his signature mustache, but Ben McKenzie didn’t look much like Gordon at all. At first glance, Donald Logue’s Harvey Bullock looked more like Gordon than McKenzie’s. However, the very next scene that they were in together, he’s donned in his signature hat and trench coat and is now the one who looks the most like the character from the comics. It’s not a detriment that McKenzie doesn’t look like Gordon, it just takes a little getting used to. By the end of the episode you won’t even care. Although, I would like for him to at least attempt to grow a mustache sometime as the series goes on.The only other costume decision that baffled me was the fact that the girl playing Catwoman reminded me of Teemo from League of Legends.
Another topic that wasn’t really a gripe, but noticeable nonetheless was some of the changes to the original cannon from the original comics. Batman experts will notice a few things that as different from the norm, such as the name change of a character who was clearly supposed to be someone else, certain characters appearing at moments where they weren’t supposed to be there, and some characters accents not matching what it was supposed to be. However, complaining about these subtle changes would be on par with complaining that Bane in The Dark Knight Rises didn’t wear a luchador mask and never used Venom to become stronger. Sure it wasn’t what was the character was usually depicted as, but it was still awesome. It might bug some, but that’s just the way the writer decided to have things be in this story.
In the end, you’d be seriously missing out if you decide to skip Gotham. The show looks great and kept me hooked aside from them throwing Easter eggs at me for almost half of the episode. Many of which before could be argued that it was only to introduce the characters in the show early so that the could quickly move along with the plot however, so I doubt that future episodes will have as many as this first episode did. But this is actually what I mentioned briefly in the Batman: Assault on Arkham review, I wanted to see more of Gotham without necessarily having anything to do with Batman and Gotham delivers it. I eagerly look forward to see how things will progress in Gotham.