written by Omar Castillon (@omar_castillon)
Comic books have officially taken over the airwaves. From Smallville to The Walking Dead, it’s safe to say that the once niche geek culture behind comic books has been accepted by the masses. Gotham is no exception when it comes to appealing to the wider audience appeal even though there has been more success in that franchise thanks to the Batman movies.
That’s not to say it’s a bad thing. The established universe, or at least the common elements of the Batman universe, are ever present here as well as some fresh takes on The City of Gotham. I’ll keep this review as spoiler free as possible since a good majority haven’t seen the episode yet or are still on the fence about it.
Right off the top, Gotham’s landscape is shown in a sweeping motion with dark scenery and gives the grimy feeling that the comics present (after the camp years of course). A young Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) traverses the rooftops of Gotham pickpocketing strangers and meeting up with an alley cat. Soon after, we are yet again introduced to the life altering death of Bruce Wayne’s (David Mazouz) parents in the first couple of minutes. The scene compared to the countless iterations of the incident is exactly what a fan of the Batman franchise is expected to see, a boy broken by the sight of his parents being murdered. Pretty simple in terms of storytelling but after that, it becomes a whole different take on the universe.
Detectives Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) are called to the scene in order to investigate the high profile murder. The brilliantly written Bullock is exactly what fans want in terms of his corrupt lifestyle in the GCPD. Jim Gordon is still the new blood that is eager to clean up the precinct and Gotham City as a whole. Maybe a few episodes in, we may get to see a few more layers on Jim Gordon, but in terms of how he was in the pilot, Gordon seemed a little too much of a by-the-books police officer. This gets old mid-way through the episode but it changes near the end when Bullock gives Gordon an ultimatum in order to survive in the corrupt streets of Gotham City.
As for other characters in the pilot that are common in the Batman universe, there are plenty to be had for the fans. Just to name a few, we have of course Selina Kyle (who is rather mute in the pilot), Oswald Cobblepot pre girth years, a hard as nails version of Alfred Pennyworth was a surprise to see and many more future Batman characters that you will just have to tune in to point out. According to the creators, the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents is only one of many incidents that will happen in the series. Basically it is the spark for a chain reaction of unfortunate events that will keep the series from being the standard origin story for Batman. Instead, this will be more police procedural/fan service that will keep the audience guessing and tuned in to the next episode to unravel more of the mystery and corruption of the world of “Gotham.”
By all means, if you have the time to watch the pilot episode of Gotham I say give it a shot and judge for yourself. You may find some flaws in the plot at first, but just know that it is the first episode and the idea of watching a weekly show about the Batman universe that isn’t Birds of Prey or one of the Batman movies is a welcoming feeling to a show that has tons of potential. Here’s hoping FOX doesn’t pull a “Firefly” and pull the plug on just one season (knock on wood).