Gotham: Pilot

I watched the pilot of Gotham over lunch today. I don't like to go all-out positive over a TV series from just the pilot, but I have to say this was a very good start. Spoilers follow, of course.

There are two things that struck me straight away - the ambiguous era, and the parade of Batman villains. Now, obviously, Gotham is a Batman origin story/prequel, in much the same way as Smallville was for Superman. Telling it from Jim Gordon's point of view gives us, first, a viewpoint character who isn't the same shade of crazy as Bruce Wayne, and second, a different path to follow. It's possible - though I don't think it's likely - that there will be episodes in which young Bruce doesn't appear at all.

The era is gloriously indeterminable. This is true of the city of Gotham in all proper incarnations; it's dark, it rains a lot, it has Art Deco buildings and gargoyles, and you can't pin down the decade. There are 80s cars (maybe even 70s; I'm not great on cars), 90s tattoos and grunge-punk looking beards, mobile phones that are definitely 21st century, hats that haven't been worn since the 50s, and a slum apartment that could be from the 40s, if it wasn't fitted out by a hipster last year.

And the villains! I spotted Catwoman, Penguin, the Riddler, and Poison Ivy, for certain, and Renee Montoya is there as well. The future Barbara Gordon, too. Smallville suffered from a slow, slow start with regard to the rest of the Superman mythos - there's a sort of urban myth that many people didn't realise it was Superman prequel story at all - and the more recent Arrow was nearly as bad. Gotham packs all these into the first episode, and it's likely that there were a few more I didn't catch, where my lack of knowledge of the Batman continuity is letting me down.

The pilot was well-paced, beautifully shot, and established all kinds of character details and aspects of place. While I can't predict where it's all going (apart from the obvious), there are setups and hooks and all manner of ways to get good plots, arcs, and leads rolling from here. I'm pretty sure I approve.

Posted by Drew Shiel at September 23, 2014 2:59 PM

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