Review: Gotham TV Premiere

Superheroes are taking over the big screen, but they are thriving on the small screen as well. Fox has decided to piggyback off of the success of the Caped Crusader and make a show centered on Gotham City’s own Jim Gordon. Fans know Gordon from his many appearances in Batman stories from the comics, TV shows and movies, but he has never been the center of attention like he is here.

Gotham is a prequel to the Bruce Wayne story, tracing the city’s spiral into darkness prior to when Wayne became Batman. Gotham is playing at something unique by trying to fuse crime drama and comic book in a way that fans have not seen on television before. While the pilot takes its time searching for an identity, I have confidence it will find it.

The series follows Gordon and gives the audience a clear image of the good cop he is. Meanwhile, his partner is a little too close to the criminal activity than he should be. The two spend time together investigating the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents and in doing so come across a handful of familiar faces that Batman fans will have fun pointing out.

In this series premiere, we are introduced to local crime lord Fish Mooney and her henchman Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin). The pilot does a great job setting up these villains and creating a dark and gritty world in which people like this can exist. Nothing about the action or setting is redefining of the genre, but the show isn’t going for that. By making Jim Gordon the hero of the show,, the source material is scaled back by default to make it a realistic police drama instead of focusing on superheroes that fight supervillains.

Ben McKenzie plays the character of Gordon as a man dedicated to getting to the bottom of the conspiracy that resulted in the Wayne murder. He’s the star that doubles as the glue holding it all together. Everything around him is corrupt, and Gordon does his best to stay on the good side of the law.

The way these characters are presented turns out to be a bit of a tease. One has to remember that this is only the beginning to a, hopefully, long running series and this was only meant to be a taste. But in some ways, that’s what this entire episode ended up being — a taste of what’s to come without being its own developed story.

While Gotham’s premiere is a good, not great, effort that disappoints in some storytelling regards, it gave me enough to get excited for. I will continue to watch to see how these characters develop in this new vision of the city of Gotham.