Batman has always been my favorite superhero. So when I heard there was going to be a show all about the goings-on of Gotham and Detective Gordon, I was thrilled. The Dark Knight has taught his fans many things, like how to face your biggest fear by embracing it. Or how you don’t need superpowers to be a superhero (just gobs of money though). The buildup to this latest comic book creation of “Gotham” was intense; Twitter and Facebook alike were filled with conversations about the show. Even Pandora had the occasional ad pop up about how my playlist wouldn’t thrive without watching the show. Call me hooked. So, like any Batman fan, I settled in on the couch for an evening of learning about the Caped Crusader’s home. And boy, was it a roller coaster of a ride.
The opening with our soon-to-be Catwoman, a young(ish?) Selina Kyle, leaves me pondering the villain’s age. Maybe I’ve just become accustomed to Christopher Nolan’s depiction of the Batman universe, but I had thought Catwoman was supposed to be around the same age as Bruce Wayne. And Camren Bicondova’s IMDb page was no help either. Maybe I’m just really bad at determining the age of a person by his or her face. Regardless, her silent but cat-like intro showed viewers a look into the gritty, crime-ridden streets of Gotham.
Besides a few punches thrown that were some bad stage combat, the fighting and gunshots seemed to portray how dark Gotham could be. With these gunshots and punches filling almost every other scene in the show, it’s no surprise “Gotham” has had a “Viewer Discretion Advised” banner plastered on every one of its advertisements. However, this, the tragic introduction of the murders of Martha and Thomas Wayne and the overall gray tone displayed in the episode all set the tone for the show. Though, I was curious as to why Harvey Bullock was so scared and almost eager to shirk off the murder case of the Waynes to another set of detectives. It looks like we have a lot to learn about Detective Bullock.
In comes the brand-new character, Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett Smith. As I’m a purist, and like all of my book-to-film (and comic book-to-TV) adaptations to relate accurately to the original story, I was a bit skeptical upon learning of her creation. But this story isn’t about Batman; it’s about James Gordon and how Gotham came to be the city Batman fights so dearly for. So, the character of Fish is a new addition who looks to be the toughest crook in Gotham. We get a peek at how Fish currently runs the city and somehow shaped the Penguin into his infamous moniker.
Having already been introduced to Catwoman, Fish, the Penguin and what appears to be a young Poison Ivy, there seemed to be an overwhelming number of introductions to the numerous well-known villains and allies of the Dark Knight. Someone just learning about the Batman universe may have difficulty keeping everyone straight and wonder why they are all relevant in the first episode. As I previously stated, Batman is my favorite superhero, so being introduced to countless characters in the pilot was exciting. It looks like the first episode is showing the audience not only will we be learning about Detective Gordon’s backstory, but how all of these other characters came to be as well.
The brief glimpse of hope Bruce sees when he shakes the hand of Gordon at his parents’ funeral is only that — a glimpse. But with an excellently scripted cast, numerous characters who have backstories to be developed and writing that didn’t seem too over the top for a superhero show, it looks like there will be light in Gotham after all.
All in all, I give “Gotham” a solid A. Maybe it’s because I’m biased (did I mention Batman is my favorite superhero?), maybe it’s because I hope for there to be a show on FOX I actually enjoy besides Bob’s Burgers — these could both be deciding factors. But taking a reviewer’s opinion, I think it’s because the writing and acting isn’t at all campy for how some comic book adaptations can be. The pilot of “Gotham” had me hooked, wanting to know more about the home of the Caped Crusader.