Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall TV Thoughts - Gotham

So, because what the hell and why not, I will be sharing brief thoughts on new Fall TV shows as I see them. Note: I will not be trying out every new show. Life is too short.

My initial inclination was to give this a pass, not having really been a watcher of any TV superhero shows in the recent past (I'm pretty sure the only episodes of Smallville I have ever seen were the pilot and the series finale). On top of that, the concept wasn't really all that intriguing to me. A series set in the Gotham of Bruce Wayne's lonely youth, with the criminal element that would eventually become his rogues gallery interacting in various nascent forms? Meh. But a few critics I respect suggested there was something good here - and if I wasn't the biggest fan of creator Bruno Heller's previous show, The Mentalist, I liked it well enough - so I gave it a go.

Look. I don't need every TV show about cops and criminals to be The Wire. But when you make Maurice Levy a cop and Bill Rawls the head of Gotham's biggest crime family I start to associate. I can't help it. That said, a pulpy take on a cop show could certainly work - but this just felt very tired and, very oddly given how much I had read about the high quality of the production, cheap. That opening sequence with a proto-Catwoman stealing some milk and scampering up fire escapes and on rooftops just felt very old-fashioned visually - like boilerplate action direction from any number of 90s syndicated action shows. The fight between Jim Gordon and a framed criminal halfway through felt similarly lazy and half-baked, with the addition of a few POV shots of Gordon chasing the guy through a crowded restaurant just bizarrely out of place. More importantly, the story itself never really grabbed me. Adding a complicated conspiracy on top of the Waynes' murder feels unnecessary to me. It's the same mistake Burton's Batman made. We don't need Batman to be revenging the actual killer; it's the randomness of the crime that makes it so horrific, not that his father was killed because of what will undoubtedly be byzantine connections to the Gotham mob.

So for me, Gotham is pretty much a dead end. Which is really OK, when you come down to it. It's not as if I am hurting for another hour-long drama to add to the watch list.

Until Whenever

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