Gotham Review Round-Up: Should You Watch A Batman TV Show Without Batman?

Gotham, one of the most anticipated fall 2014 shows, has arrived. The Gotham pilot premiered Monday evening, along side the premier of Forever and the Season 2 premiere of The Blacklist. Gotham is Fox’s answer to the ever expanding list of comic book super hero adaptations made for the small screen.

Unfortunately, any Batman fan hoping to see the caped crusader, will be mostly disappointed. Though Batman is not present in this new Batman off-shoot, Bruce Wayne is, but a slightly shorter, elementary school version of Wayne. That’s because the story and plot of Fox’s Gotham is the famous city pre-Batman.

Gotham is essentially a Batman prequel. However, unlike some other comic book adaptations, it does not seem to be based on a comic book. The Gotham pilot starts off like a detective story, and drops an over-the-top obvious cue to all the Batman villains it intends to tell you the origin of.

From the start to finish of the pilot, Gotham’s pre-Batman world, definitely feels like the Jim Gordon show. Jim Gordon is the police detective who, in the current Batman world, is the police commissioner that works with Batman to clean up corruption.

The pilot episode of Gotham has had mixed reviews so far. A review by Vulture starts off by calling the show a “handsomely produced cop show,” but by the end it is painfully apparent that it is not quite a positive review.

“It’s not a terrible show, and if you grade on the superhero curve, which holds that anything not terrible is good, then I guess this show is good. Still, you’ve got to have a lot of faith in the innate fascinations of this particular universe to watch the Gotham pilot and not worry that its creators have mistaken brand loyalty for a blank check.”

People Magazine’s review was very positive with the magazine saying that Gotham is “a treat, even if you don’t like Batman.” Gotham might not always get the fans floored, but it certainly gives you the sense that without Batman as the lead, the show has the ability to bring in detective drama fans into the fold. After all, DC Comics was originally written out as “Detective Comics.”

The Guardian also had high accolades for the new Fox show. It included the words “will make for some excellent television”.

“We’re going to see what life is like in an essentially war-torn city, struck down by the flamboyantly evil people who run it. What is really going to get this show humming is when Gordon and Bullock get enmeshed in the complicated psychological and political underword that runs Gotham. Will Batman fans be into that? I’m not sure, but it will make for some very excellent television.”

Ben McKensie took the helm of the leading role in Gotham, and has suffered for his art, according to the Inquisitr. The actor behind Gotham’s Detective Jim Gordon was in the midst of “fisticuffs” with an unspecified villain in, presumably a future episode, because it did not show up in the pilot. Although, the stitches he needed after the fact, might have changed the scene.

Jim Gordon And Young Bruce Wayne -Gotham TV Series

So, the question on all Batman fans minds, who shows up in the Gotham origin story? Here is the list so far: Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman and Poison Ivy.

As one might be able to tell, most of the popular characters show up with a sense of immediacy into the pilot, but there is one main character that was created for the show. Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett, is a sort of underboss to the more well known Gotham crime lord Carmine Falcone.

An important note for Batman fans, where Batman Begins And Batman (1989) used the murder of Batman’s parents as a quick open and shut case, Gotham shrouds the killer in secrecy, and only the audience is aware of who he is. Also, instead of Burton’s Batman that put the Joker as the parental murderer, the Penguin takes that role in the TV show.

Though it does not show a colorful, almost cartoonish look and feel to the city and the characters, Gotham does have sense in it’s cinematography that it feels a little like a comic book. The visual and stylistic influences feel like a mash up of Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan’s Batman, but has a more gritty realistic feel like Nolan’s.

Though, Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock) and all of the cast seems strong so far, the one to watch is Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin). He seems rough around the edges for the Gotham pilot, but we were left with some intriguing future possibilities.

One might be tempted to say that if you liked Smallville, then… However, that would only be half true.

In essence, it is worth checking out, but Batman fanboys will be the ones who take away the most from this prequel comic book show.

So, did you watch Gotham? What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.

[ Images Via Entertain Weekly, Screenrant, Fox]