So, anyone that knows me knows I LOVE Batman and the DC Universe and very rarely do I have a negative thing to say about anything Batman related. Aside from my major disappointment with Arkham Knight and the abominations that were the Schumacher flicks I have nothing but love for the variety of story arcs and depictions of my beloved childhood hero. Yet I find myself struggling with Gotham. I tried so hard to like it. I WANTED to like it but the spoon-feeding of references and cheesiness is reminiscent of the classic TV show and that ship sailed decades ago.
I initially envisioned a Gotham that was dark, gritty and needed cleaning up. Season 1 had me thinking that was the case and I defended the show as I so desperately wanted it to be what I thought it would become. But then the villains started happening. A new villain every episode with every single hint of who they are spelt out in blazing neon. Unlike DC’s other efforts over on CW where Flash and Arrow intelligently give newcomers a treat yet don’t alienate the diehard fans with boring references and big arrows pointing at who this newcomer on screen is.
I thought this show would centre on Jim Gordon and his battle to clean up Gotham without getting too dirty himself. I pictured a young, grieving Bruce Wayne trying to find his way in life and finding a means to overcome the loss and emptiness the demise of his parents brings him. I pictured a gritty CSI Gotham with subtle references and indications of villains’ origins through well written stories and cameos. I pictured a tightly woven pre-Batman world that would hold gems for fans and newcomers alike.
I was wrong. I still watch it. I don’t know why. Perhaps I cling to the hope a new writing team and/or show runner comes in as the offscreen Jim Gordon to clean this mess up. Every time a new villain casting is announce I die a little inside and the calamity grows. I really enjoyed the Court of Owls run in the comics and, season 2 brought us a link to that arc and I am displeased with how it has played thus far. The Order of St Dumas came into play, Edward Nygma’s license plate is “RIDDLR”, Penguin’s bizarre and annoying mother…so many let downs that I lose respect for villains I respected and loved in the comics and other media.
Season 1 was the closest we got to what I expected; the (short-lived) turf wars between Falcone and Maroni (and the wretched Fish Mooney that was not required at all). It was all down hill from there. Just look at little Bruce, not at all consumed by his parents’ death as he should be. This is the defining moment in this child’s life and he’s acting more like what a young Alan Sugar would as opposed to the heir to millions who was face to face with his parents’ killer and, who was technically responsible for their death.
The freaks in masks shouldn’t appear until Batman does – the age old argument, is Batman friend or foe and do we need him? If Batman wasn’t around, would the lunatics have come out of the woodwork?
I watch Flash and Arrow and every time Cisco drops a name reference or every time you see the likes of a pilot’s jacket with the name ‘JORDAN’ with no major focus or reference to it I get giddy and the fanboy gets excited. I watch Gotham where everything is spoon-fed to the viewer and I yawn and feel no excitement for the next episode. Perhaps we did need a Gotham TV series. Just not right now.