TV-shows are the new movies. It’s been said a ton of times by both nobodies and industry big-shots. Being the movie-fan I am, I’ve always scoffed at this. How can a mere TV-show deliver the same amount of glee/suspense/fun as a movie? These things are on tight budgets after all!
But that was then. Back in a time when The A-Team, Knightrider and Magnum PI dominated the TV-show market.
This is now, an age where the Walter Whites, the Don Drapers, the Lannisters and, to a lesser extent, the nurses Jackie changed TV’s landscape forever. Thanks to them, I can now sit back and binge-watch a Batmanshow featuring zero percent Batman.
Yep, you’ve read that right. A Batmanless Batmanshow. Correction: a Batmanless Batmanshow that, even though there are no Batmen in it, still is quite good. Phenomenal even.
Because Gotham delivers. I had several reservations going in though. All of them revolved around Batman’s absence. But, about one third into the pilot, all of them were gone. The show cleverly turns the spotlight onto James Gordon. Still a detective, Gordon is tasked with solving the Wayne murder, a case that proves to be though to crack. So yes, Gotham is a prequel to Batman. Young master Bruce is still trying to cope with his grief, and we see him evolve slowly into the world’s greatest detective.
The focus lies with Gordon however, and we follow him and his partner Harvey Bullock, trying to unravel the Wayne case whilst tackling with some of Gotham’s weirder criminals and mob families fighting for power. It’s essentially a detective-show set in the Batman universe. What’s not to like?
Nothing really. I liked every single episode. I gobbled up every piece of plot and I adored the acting. Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin? Nothing but fantastic. The Penguin gets his own little origin story and is by far my favourite portrayal of the character yet. Not counting DeVito’s version of course. I wouldn’t dream of kicking DeVito from that pedestal. But Taylor comes in a close second.
My only gripe? I feel the creators had too much of an urge to keep cramming in known characters. Bruce Wayne, Alfred, Gordon, the Penguin? I get those. They’re kinda essential to the story. Bullock and Montoya? Okay, I can get those as well. Hardcore Batmanfans will know them and get the reference. But a young Selina Kyle who just happens to witness the Wayne murder? A young Poison Ivy who’s friends with Selina? Edward Nygma, working as a forensic expert at Gotham PD? I found that a little harder to swallow…
All in all, a nice addition to the Batlore (if not an entirely new take on it), and fun to watch. Now on to series two…