Tuesday, 14 October 2014


so in case you missed it, gotham is a show about gotham before batman, told mostly through the eyes of a young jim gordon. it features younger versions of all the famous batman characters (in the first episode we had riddler, penguin, catwoman, poison ivy and probably some others i missed) that kind of play like cameos even though they're not famous actors. it sets up the killing of bruce wayne's parents as a central mystery and also corruption in the police force as jim gordon's ongoing challenge, although because of it's roots it plays more like a comic book than a police procedural.

it's hard to know how to review a tv show from the pilot, because it will obviously change and develop from here, but here are my thoughts on the first episode. for a start i struggled with the concept a bit. i always loved the idea that batman created the villains in his world, an idea that's been explored in the comics but also in the nolan trilogy (which i fucking love to death) and even tim burton's film. so the idea that these villains already exist in the world and batman will come into existence because of them was tough to get my head around at first, until i realised that obviously that's how the story was originally. the villains only existing because of batman is a kind of post-modern, revisionist (yes i did some film theory at uni) idea that only really exists when you try to write a batman story that takes into account the entire history of batman. gotham is really taking it back to the beginning. the end of the series, presumably, will be batman existing and i think what's interesting is, is that a happy ending or a tragic ending? what i mean is, if batman has to exist then our hero, jim gordon, must fail. so it's a series about watching someone fail? i'm overanalysing, i know, but i think it's really interesting.

i also thought the idea of this corrupt police force and cops being worse than the bad guys is interesting in a post-ferguson world. there's a lot of mistrust of the police in the real world these days, and whether it's a good thing to have a tv show that reinforces that idea is a good thing or not, i'm not sure, but it does raise some questions. and i like the more adult approach to the show, despite a lot of what is happening being a bit fantastical and silly. i never really got into smallville, i always found it a bit too lightweight, whereas this at least has the illusion of darkness and substance even if at its heart it's just a show about cops hitting people.

my only criticism is that it moves a bit too fast. i know it's a pilot so they had to try and tell a story in one episode but i would've liked to have maybe understood the role of the waynes in the world before they were killed, and maybe get to know a bit more about gordon before he arrives. even the penguin seems to go from henchman to psycho in record time, although i am interested to see how that plays out. i guess that was my main feeling after the credits rolled - i want to see how this plays out. that has to be a good thing.

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