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Gotham on Fox – Review: Faithful and Good Storytelling

Lars HindsleyBy Lars Hindsley Thu 25 Sep 2014 12:38 PM EST | 3079 Views
Four Dangers

(DL) – DC has been incessantly getting it wrong convoluting their universes. Just look at the *New52 in print. Fans are appalled that DC won’t revert to the original origins. Then you have the film Green Lantern, and reboots of Superman. Only Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy made for a great superhero franchise while itself not staying true to canon. It’s frustrating to those that read comics and know the original back stories.


Yes, print and cinema are uniquely different but then we get many DC shows all part of the same TV universe that don’t connect (except Arrow and Flash – different timeline saves DC on this one) they will confuse the casual DC viewer.

Now DC (Warner Brothers) is offering the ultimate back-story. The youth of Bruce Wayne and the rise of Commissioner James Gordon in Gotham on the Fox network.

When word came about that Fox was launching Gotham, there was little to no reason to think this show could be good. Again, DC's history of putting anything on  film not very good.

I was surprisingly impressed with this first Gotham episode. Batman’s world is hallowed ground.

There was only hope producers would respect timelines of supporting characters honestly. With Gotham, DC has gold if they want it. Marvel’s shared universe is split by licensing snafu’s. DC rebooted with a crap *New52 and faithful readers are in hell attempting to read The *New52.

So much lost respect for DC by fan faithful can be regained if they ‘begin’ to get their house in order with Gotham.  The first episode of Gotham shows signs of it.

In review what made Gotham worthwhile wasn’t merely the fair depiction of characters that are pulled from the original print universe, it was more than Gotham being visually presented as a character in somewhat accurate detail.  But let's take a moment to talk about Gotham. The city itself is a character.
Gotham City as seen through the eyes of Batman in the video game Arkham City

Through CGI, aerial shots of Manhattan from the north side of the East River use Roosevelt Island as what may be assumed to stand in for the narrows, but many cross town flyovers do a better job of giving Gotham the real but seedy feel you need in order to immerse yourself into this show.

So what made this first episode of Gotham worthwhile? Gotham on Fox shows promise due to a great deal of non-predictable situations. Yes, we know that major characters can’t die, but the situations they find themselves in and how they turn out are not too easily figured out. In short, so far it’s good story telling.

There will be many stars made from this show. Benjamin McKenzie as James Gordon is both believable as a young Gordon and compelling as a good cop with promise.  Donal Logue as the long time loathsome Harvey Bollock isn’t such a new take on the character as it is refreshing. He’s established as someone that has good cop sensibilities but accepting of the culture he is a part of in Gotham.

 Robin Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot in Gotham on Fox

Another star waiting to be launched is Robin Taylor in what will clearly be a breakout role for him. Robin Taylor takes on becoming The Penguin, or as The Penguin insists, Oswald Cobblepot.

Inside this single episode you can see his transformation into the Penguin we know. Penguin’s personality is one of ruthless aggression for power. Robin Taylor’s direction as Oswald becoming Penguin is spot on. Taylor cites having been provided source print material from DC’s Geoff Johns in an effort to be true to canon.

The choices of 13 year old David Mazouz as a young Bruce Wayne is solid, but the real stand-out is the selection of 15 year old Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle. Visually Cameren appears to have both star power and the athletic exuberance that fits the Catwoman image.
Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle

There would be plenty to nit-pick such as Selina Kyle being witness to Bruce Wayne’s life like a fly on the wall, and her dropping into a cat like fashion pose in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, but this is however loosely based on a comic book. Implying the bigger than life world of Gotham should be expected.

Gotham has hinted to make the show a true origin series that has a endpoint. That in itself is relief as every story has a beginning middle and end. Gotham has promised to end with Bruce Wayne donning the cape and cowl.  Makes you want to see it through doesn’t it?

Gotham on Fox

*New52 is the rebooting of the entire DC Universe. It took place in 2011 after the conclusion of Flashpoint in 2011.

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