Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95% (Critics) / 83% (Audience)
Directed By: Danny Cannon
Written By: Bruno Heller
Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards and Jada Pinkett Smith
Synopsis:The origin story behind Commissioner James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival. (Source)
The dichotomy of acting styles worked for me. On one hand you have the serious, cop show straight acting styles of Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue that is contrasted nicely with the more over-the-top acting styles of Robin Lord Taylor and Jada Pinkett Smith as the villains of the show. Pinkett Smith especially was a standout because she seemed to be having just as much fun playing the oddly named gangster Fish Mooney as I had watching her. And Robin Lord Taylor’s future Penguin, Oswald Cobblepot is a great character right from the start going from weaselly lackey to a much darker and dangerous entity by the shows end.
The show also looks amazing especially for a weekly show on Fox. And if this show is indeed being set in what looks like the 1990s from the overabundance of flip phones, bulky desktop monitors and older model cars, then I am going to be even more impressed by the world building that showrunner Bruno Heller (who will always be a favorite of mine for giving me the two seasons of perfection that was HBO’s ROME) is doing.
The kid playing young Bruce Wayne was really struggling with the scenes after his parents were killed. The young man got a lot better by the middle parts of the episode where he became a bit more distant and focused but playing grief and sadness is not his strong suit.
Some of the dialog suffered from Pilot-itis where it was all so full of exposition but would then transition to cheesy dime store novel noir which wasn’t much better.
The show tried to shove way too much into this one episode. A few of the future Batman villains could have been left for later episodes. I am also totally against the idea of a pre-Catwoman Selina Kyle being a witness to the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. That is a bit too much coincidence even for a show adapted from comic books.
Final Verdict: GOTHAM is a show that is chock full of potential as long as the showrunners don’t get bogged down in performing constant acts of fan service and instead focuses on the gritty crime drama that it looked like during much of the entertaining pilot. the cast is great, the characters are compelling and the setting is perfect. This show is potentially good enough that it really doesn’t need an appearance by a fully grown Batman to flourish.