Gotham, a city made famous by one man: Batman. When word got out that there was to be another television series made focusing around a superhero there were mixed reviews. However, Gotham doesn’t adopt the usual approach taken by those that have gone before it such as Smallville and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Instead of focusing on the superhero, Gotham switches the focus and lets the minor characters in the famous comic book world take the helm and drive the narrative forward. It’s definitely been a mixed bag for a first season with a high number of negatives counterbalancing the positives.
The acting has definitely been the shows strongpoint. Performances by Benjamin McKenzie (Detective Jim Gordon) and Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock) captured the viewers’ attention and made the somewhat lacking storylines watchable and enjoyable on the whole. The two of them make an interesting partnership and work well together, playing two different kinds of policeman. Bullock, the one who does things in his own style and doesn’t care about the law, and Gordon playing things by the book and taking the law into account in most situations. Throw Jada Pinkett-Smith (Fish Mooney) and Robin Lord Taylor (The Penguin) into the mix and the cast gets a whole lot stronger. Lord Taylor seems to have come out as the star of the show and portrays The Penguin in such a way that captures the viewers’ imagination and keeps them gripped for the character’s narrative plots.
The casting could, however, also be seen as part of the problem, with simply too many characters being thrown into Gotham at every opportunity. The storylines they are involved in just don’t seem to add up and are somewhat incoherent with each other. The new storylines are just taking up valuable screen time which could be occupied by the main characters and a more important narrative thread that lends itself to the series instead of detracting from it. All these storylines just confuse the viewer as they seem to stop and start randomly.
The series seemed to struggle to decide whether it’s a dark and demented series or a more light-hearted take on the criminal underworld. For it to succeed into the future, it definitely needs to decide on one or the other instead of trying to incorporate both. It definitely tried to show signs of being an adult show with The Penguin stabbing people, and not forgetting links to sexual scenes though sexual ideas aren’t expanded upon.
On a more positive note, the visuals are beyond perfection. The way the show portrays Gotham as a mythical New York City is simply stunning; hats off to the production team for creating it in such a way.
Overall, Gotham has had a somewhat successful first season and could use the criticisms to grow into an astounding second season. It seemed to struggle in finding an identity, having major problems in tone and storyline, but its casting was a definite strongpoint. The series finale showed signs that they have listened to feedback from viewers and critics alike, becoming more streamlined and slick.
What did you think to the first season of Gotham? Are you excited for the second season?
Comment with your thoughts.
– Mark Tonge