Tuesday, 23 September 2014
FIRST IMPRESSIONS - GOTHAM
This is how you do Batman without Batman people!
I'll start by admitting that when 'Gotham' was announced, I was one of the haters. Doing Batman without doing Batman felt like they were just milking a franchise just to see how much juice they could squeeze out of it. Then the trailer showed up and I went like 'this looks really really good'. And last night the first episode of this new 16 episode season premiered and by the end I was like 'where is episode TWO!'.
Starting with a rather interesting silent insight into a young Catwoman, played by teenager Camren Bicondova, stealing a carton of milk before making a quick getaway via a fire escape that eventually leads into a scene I didn't think I'd be seeing until maybe the end of the first episode. Brilliant!
From there, Gotham only got better and better. The pilot managed to do two things last night that I believe will make it one of the best shows on television. First, for the diehards and the 'crazy' fans who judge every move a television adaption makes as if it were a criminal on a murder trial, Gotham managed to introduce most of the characters it promised us, albeit some more in a cameo capacity, but also managed to make these characters add something to the plot.
From abused Ivy to the goggleheaded Selina Kyle, Gotham integrated these characters perfectly. Secondly, it set up a really interesting premise. It's a simple one, but with so many twists and turns that even I started to wonder if they might've accidentally solved the whole season in half an episode. The killing of the Wayne family happens within the first five minutes of the story, the character of James Gordon is established within 1/5 of the episode. That is a seriously dangerous pace if you're opting for a long-term product.
And yet, the more I watched, the more it sucked me in, luring me into a false sense of security and just kept pitching the plot twists like a professional baseball player. I just had to know who did it - where the characters fitted in - what will become of them. I'm sure this is what the creators wanted the audience to feel when they developed Gotham. They succeeded amicably.
One of the things I was curious about throughout this episode was what year Gotham was set in. Old cars and a lack of any iPads or other 21st century technology (other than normal cellphones) suggests that the Batman prequel takes place in the early 70s. Or at least some schizo version of if. Another curious thing that I enjoyed was the fact that I didn't know all the characters all that well. I don't read or follow the comics so I might be at a disadvantage, but it's a disadvantage I'm willing to live with.
I mentioned this already, but Gotham manages to make nearly all their characters really interesting or likable. My personal favorite was Edward "The Riddler" Nygma who looks like some kind of coroner. I found his quirky personality instantly enjoyable. But it was Oswald "The Penguin" Danes that really stole the pilot. Portrayed as dangerously ambitious, it was a delight to see a Batman villain I personally found rather dumb and stupid in the past being set up with such a spectacularly inventive storyline.
Rating the pilot: 9/10. A fantastic start that sets the bar for the next 15 episodes very high.