Why Gotham Is The Show We Need, And Deserve

If you’re anything like me, the wait from Mondays (or the ensuing Tuesday or Wednesday after work piles up and you pass out the moment you hit the bed) is an unbearable passing of time, and all the blame is pointed at Gotham.

A show that never in it’s own right should have been able to quite succeed, yet, in my own opinion, I believe it is on the verge of being great.

Immersing itself right into the Batman mythos is one thing that can be a hard thing to do, since there have been countless reincarnations of the Dark Knight since it’s inception in Detective Comics #27 back in 1939. The most recent would be the Nolan Trilogy that is barely 10 years old.

And again, the show seems to be starting to piece things together quite nicely at this point.

Granted, we are off of a lazy first season that really picked up the pace in the latter half, onto a second season that has been named like a sequel, with “Rise Of The Villains” a subtle nod to exactly what we are going to witness.

Interesting enough, prior to the launch of the show itself, I made a small prediction of what I felt the show would be a mixture of.

Calling it like I have experienced before, I felt that this show would be a part Smallville, part Batman: The Animated Series and part Jim Gordon’s side of Batman: Year One.

 

Breaking it down, I am still sure that my prediction holds water.

The Smallville side is the character that the story surrounds, Bruce Wayne.

Not taking away from Gordon, being that the show is nothing more than a cop drama at this point, Bruno Heller is very nicely handling how the audience experiences the growth of the Caped Crusader, but in small doses. You see the entrance to what is expected to be the start to the future Batcave, the sheer brilliance that Sean Pertwee is bringing to Alfred and the way that Bruce’s story is being curated.

Much like Smallville, we see a hero, but minus the pivotal things.

Smallville’s Superman was tagged as “No tights, no flight.” And Gotham’s Bruce Wayne is nothing but bare bones and a wit that is leading him down the path of a true vigilante. Assuming the hopeful run of this show, we could see David Mazouz’s Bruce Wayne donning the cape and cowl at the end of the series run, setting up a potential Batman show, but that is a long ways away.

The Animated Series plays a bit of inspiration at this point, as Gotham is setting up the villains much like The Animated Series did.

Episode by episode, you see someone new introduced with a brief plot in the overall arc, but really just setting the stage.

So far, you have the A-List villains, who may or may not be climbing to their eventual personas along with filler villains (fillains?) who are just there to push a story along.

Next is the final ingredient, Gordon’s story, partially, from Batman: Year One.

 

The new cop ventures to Gotham, only to be immersed in the dark city and all that is happening when he arrives.

Corruption, murder, and a brutal gang war that mimics that of some of the best gangster movies around, all surrounding the beginning pieces of the eventual rogues gallery of a pretty prominent figure in the DC Universe.

That’s only the start for Heller.

Again, he is emphasizing the inevitable, all while balancing a great story arc that is Ben McKenzie’s James Gordon.

At first, I liked that casting of McKenzie, and much like everyone else, began to be lulled to sleep by a rough stretch of episodes that seemed to be thrown together as a way to build a Gotham city that we know. But then we see why McKenzie is casted as this character, and the story picks up again.

Gordon is nothing more than a cop who will have an unlikely relationship with a man who takes down these people who at one point or another have been in contact with Gordon, who also takes on a more grounded set of criminals, as well as the ones who top the list.

Yes, the first season was at times disjointed and just seemed like a Law and Order laced with super-villains, but it’s growing pains for any show within a well-known story. If you have time to Netflix (yes, it’s a verb), do yourselves a service and catch up to it now. The story is serializing at a fast pace and is really pacing itself well considering we are only a few episodes in.

To paraphrase, “Gotham is the show that everyone needs, and the one it deserves right now.”

Believe me, I am not the only one who would love a caped man running around a broken city on my TV screen week in and week out, but I cannot be mad at this storyline.

Season 2 has a certain ring to it that is sure to capture a wider audience – character growth.

My first prime example is a Miss Barbara Kean.

Truth be told, Barbara was a mess last season. Her character was a quickly hated one as the story goes on. Leading to her psychotic break at the end of last season going into the present is one to be confused with. However, from the start of this season, she is much more than just crazy, she is a bit insane.

I am in no place to even discuss how they eventually re-ground her character to end up with Gordon, simply because it is a mystery as to how they handle her. Which makes her just that much more interesting.

Side note, it kind of bothers me a bit that the love interest of Jim Gordon is named Barbara, just because it seems like they are removing the fact that Barbara Gordon is Batgirl. But that is a storyline for a long way down the road and another crazy theory I have for another day.

Next is the development of Jim himself. Known all throughout the DCU as a straight cop, it’s a little refreshing to see a bad side to a good man. His flirting with a bad crowd is a good developmental point, almost like a “join them to know how to beat them.” With Michael Chiklis’ Captain Nathaniel Barnes coming into the mix now, we will begin to see a strong influence on the man Gordon is destined to become.

David Mazouz’s Bruce Wayne is a strong casting at this point, he shows frailty and fear of the unknown, much for what Batman projects onto his future enemies. We also get a rare glimpse at one side of the hero, for right now, and how he will break himself to become the Bat.

Along him is a fatherly influence of Alfred, who is a hard-nosed type of man, influenced from much of the Earth One story arc, with a hard past and an overlooking quality to a young Bruce. You’ll see glimpses of how his past will influence Bruce’s training, and just how deep the story goes.

The long list of villains grows by episode, each with a backstory and a strong push from other characters to thrust their names into a growing list of people for the eventual Dark Knight to meet. With so little episodes and so many names, I’d begin to wonder if we don’t already begin to see a young Bruce develop a story with them some point down the road pre-cape.

This show is one that has been blown wide open to discuss in one post. But what are your thoughts? Comment below and don’t be afraid to throw your theories in and I’ll be happy to discuss mine!

Sean McGrath
Sean McGrath
2015 Journalism graduate of State University of New York at Fredonia. Loves sports, movies, TV, video games, cold drinks on hot nights and hot drinks on cold nights, and anything thats classified as nerdy. Married with two cats.

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