Group Review: Gotham – Episode 1 "Pilot"

What type of site would we be if we didn’t cover one of the biggest comic book TV shows to come along in the past few years? The WB and Fox have pulled out all the stops for Gotham and so the reviewers of Comic Bastards sat down and gave it a viewing. Each participating writer will give their thoughts and a score to give you an idea of the episode. First the synopsis: A new recruit in Captain Sarah Essen’s Gotham City Police Department, Detective James Gordon is paired with Harvey Bullock to solve one of Gotham’s highest-profile cases: the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. During his investigation, Gordon meets the Waynes’ son, Bruce, now in the care of his butler Alfred Pennyworth, which further compels Gordon to catch the killer. Along the way, Gordon must confront gang boss Fish Mooney, as well as many of Gotham’s future villains, such as Selina Kyle and Oswald Cobblepot. Eventually, Gordon is forced to form an unlikely friendship with Wayne, one that will help shape the boy’s future in becoming the Dark Knight.

Gotham-Ep-1-1-9.22.14 Brian: 4/5

There’s a scene in Gotham that was beautifully symbolic and full of an artistic deliberateness that felt like a self-assured challenge. And no, I’m not going to tell you the one I’m talking about. Just suffice it to say that this scene showed the best that this show could be even though it was sometimes surrounded by various bits of clunky foreshadowing and unnecessary character introduction. But even after all the names have been dropped and the references referenced, there is still a strong backbone to Gotham that should allow it to grow into a good show.

Ben McKenzie as James Gordon has the right combination of personal grit mixed with a bit of a rookie’s self-doubt to be both assertive and believable. He’s much less of a cartoon character than the surrounding cast and this is what will make this show watchable even as the freaks start to develop into their costumed dopplegangers. A bit more actual police procedural work would be a welcome addition and hopefully they avoid the “grim and gritty for grim and gritty’s sake” that has become the clichéd crutch for any sort of crime, horror, or fantasy writing.

Gotham-Ep-1-6-9.22.14 Samantha: 3/5

Like a lot of people who maybe just wanted to catch some of this show, I forgot that it was going to be on. Luckily I caught a commercial of it. So already it wasn’t a great sign since I didn’t even take the time to set a reminder. Anywho, let’s start out with the positives.

What went right: There was a good mixture of villains that, let’s face it, could make or break a show. I think leading with multiple villains allows for the show to easily move onto another villain if one fails. My favorite so far was Ivy or later to be known as Poison Ivy. She was a creepy child hiding behind those plants. But since we may only see more of the adult villains, I would have to go with The Penguin. I always thought more could be done with this villain, and Gotham is the perfect place to introduce a psychopath based off of a bird so we can get more background story of the dude. I also liked the backdrop of Gotham. I think they did a great job of setting up a believable place of crime.

Gotham-Ep-1-6-10.22 What went wrong:  The story was a tad slower than I expected and not just with its action because that I knew but the progression of plot. It seems this show could be a half hour and that would be a great show. Now I love Gordon and all that, but I did think the stars of the show were the villains and Bruce. So why not focus more on them? The story can still move with Gordon but with more of the interesting stories. And my last thing involves Catwoman. She looked awesome and adorable all at the same time. I really wish some sort of interaction between her and Bruce would have taken place in the first episode though. It would have connected it all instead of making her look like a creep.

All in all, I will be back for more of the show and hope that our villains can shine.

Gotham-Ep-1-4-9.22.14 Dustin: 3/5

The thing about this pilot episode is that it had some good and a lot of bad which to me makes it fall about average. It was a better premiere than Agents of S.h.i.e.l.d., Constaintine and especially Flash, but it wasn’t much better.

I tried not to form any opinions about the episode until the third act of the show, but the very first one was, “Are they really going to cram every character they teased into this first episode?” The answer was an annoying, “yes.” It’s not that I have a problem seeing the villains before they’re in their costumes and frankly with this “Smallville on Fox” approach it’s required. I have no doubt that we’ll see a young Harvey Dent, Hush, Bane, Ras Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul and maybe even Killer Moth. Frankly I wouldn’t put it past the producers at all, but to have so many in the first episode and so many connected to the Wayne’s death… well it’s not great, it’s overkill.

If they had shed some of the cast I think there could have been a decent story for the pilot, but instead we’re given very little time with our main characters Gordon and Bullock. When I say very little time I don’t mean screen time I mean actual character development time which would have really benefitted the third act.

Gotham-Ep-1-5-9.22.14 The one thing I loved about the show was the scenery. The city looked like Gotham. It had personality and every chance they had they reminded you of that. For the first time in a long while I saw Gotham on my TV screen and that… that made my heart jump.

There were three big crimes in this episode; the killing of the Wayne’s made zero sense and I don’t mean the mystery behind the murder itself because that’s a given. It was awkward and drawn out and really there was no reason to leave Bruce alive. No one interfered, there were no police sirens and the retconned appearance of Catwoman didn’t even play into the scene as you would have expected. It was just clumsy and pointless… just like revamping Bruce’s origin in the first place.

The second crime was Jim Gordon… what the fuck did they do with this character? You like him for being a straight cop in Gotham, but then they instantly ruin his character by the end of the episode. I don’t really know if I believe in the good heart of Jim Gordon due to situation he was put in by the writers. It was disappointing and that disappointment was fully realized with the terrible scene with Gordon and Bruce at the end. Whoever thought the last two scenes were the right way to end the show thought wrong.

Gotham-Ep-1-3-9.22.14 The last crime is that you don’t need to know a thing about the comic books to watch this show. Granted that’s pretty standard with the TV medium, but you’d think that with this being a Batman show that there would be some resemblance of a storyline from any of the comics… I mean it’s not like there isn’t a huge back log of issues to pull from. I know TV isn’t comics and that comic fans aren’t the demographic they’re going for, but it just moves us all one step closer to the day that we don’t need the source material for projects like these. Think about that before you call me a fanboy or pretend that I don’t understand the entertainment industry.

I’ll continue watching, but much like Agents of S.h.i.e.l.d. you’re only getting one season to make it worth my time.

Monday’s on Fox Air Date: 9/22/14