6 May 2015 | kieranbattams
Complete Series 1 Review
A show set in the Batman universe.. except without Batman? A lot of people didn't like this concept but i was one of the people who did. I wanted to see the villains' rise to power most of all.. but how would they be interesting with no Batman to counter them? Well that's where the early years of Jim Gordon come into play. The show follows Jim as he cracks strange cases whilst trying to help a young Bruce Wayne solve the mystery of his parents' murder. It seemed each week for a while we would see a new villain come in and act like they run Gotham City before Jim and Harvey Bullock shut them down, but it turned into more than that.
After a while the show did start to feel repetitive and i wanted to see more focus on a single villain that on a bunch and we ended up getting that by the end and i absolutely loved the finale, but before we talk about that let's talk about what i liked less. Over the course of the series we were introduced and hinted at early incarnations of villains we could expect to see. Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and even The Joker have been hinted at and whilst these are some of the best Batman villains i feel that they should have been left for later series' and that this series should have focused on three particular villains who i will talk about later. The biggest gripe for me was hinting at Jerome being the Joker.. Joker is obviously a big deal in the Batman universe and i feel without Batman being introduced then Joker should be left well alone, but also early hints to Bruce being Batman felt shoehorned in, i feel less focus should be drawn to him and the Batman references as well as the awful cat puns from Selina Kyle should have been toned down a huge deal.
However, i do feel Gotham is a very entertaining show to say the least. It is ridiculous and some of the characters act even more cartoony than they do on Batman: The Animated Series which is saying a lot. This isn't so much a bad thing because the show knows how ridiculous it is whilst still maintaining a gritty feel to it and i give it props for that. The acting is over the top but Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon and Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock are absolutely true to the characters (especially Logue) and play well off each other. The villains i mentioned are Fish Mooney, a new character who isn't in the comics played by Jada Pinkett Smith who brings a stylish yet creepy edge to her character, she was one of the best on the show. I also loved Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma, his slow descent into becoming the Riddler was at times shoehorned in but when it worked it was incredible, especially in the finale. The absolute stand out of the show however is of course Robin Lord Taylor who plays Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin. My god, he gave one of the best performances i have seen in TV for years, he made me root for the Penguin's survival and the Penguin has always been low down on my list of favourite Batman villains (that is until now). If anyone can be praised for single handedly making this show work and bringing a whole heap of crazy, ridiculous yet incredible acting skills to the table it is Robin Lord Taylor who honestly deserves a lot more work. He has clearly earned it.
So no, Gotham does not go without its flaws and characters such as Edward Nygma should have got more screen time if they were to be introduced now to let their characters develop but i expect series 2 will open a new set of opportunities for them which i look forward to. If Jerome truly is the Joker though i'm not sure how i would feel. The finale, without spoilers, was very satisfying to me. Some of it felt maybe too ridiculous such as the scenes with Dr. Lee and Barbara but overall i was entertained and am intrigued to see more so that is always a good sign. A fun show that doesn't take itself too seriously. It doesn't quite scale a show like Daredevil but it doesn't exactly try to and it also gives us one of the best characters in recent TV with Penguin.