I come to you with exciting news today, Robin fans! Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller has promised a “prenatal Robin” in an upcoming episode of the FOX show! All joking aside, Heller promised a future episode in the first season will feature Richard and Mary Grayson, and will even show how they got together in this pre-Batman world!
This was, of course, No. 1 on my list of the 6 Things I Want to See on Gotham!
And there is no better way to earn my love and adoration than references to Robin – and you know the episode will be full of so many references to robins, birds, red breasts and whatever else! As much as I’m enjoying Gotham, it has no idea how to be subtle. Harvey Dent made his first appearance on this week’s episode, and the VERY FIRST THING they had him do was flip his trademark coin! Come on!
Still, this is the kind of news that will keep me watching Gotham! So good work there, Bruno Heller, you’re keeping at least one fan.
Granted, there’s really only one joke to a solid Gotham parody, but the fine folks at The Warp Zone nail it with aplomb. My thoughts on Gotham have dropped off since the first episode. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s dumb. But overall it hasn’t really reached any sort of quality. Gotham so far lacks depth and consistency, and that’s not good. But hey, it’s got a whole season, so maybe it’ll go somewhere…
Gotham has gone ahead and cast actor Nicholas D’Agosto to play Harvey Dent, and the obvious joke is that everybody on screen is going to be making ‘two-face’ jokes all the time. Normally I wouldn’t cotton to such an obvious gag in an article, but there’s no other way to handle this announcement. Gotham will make ‘two-face jokes’. All. The. Time. This is a show that has Selina Kyle insist on several occasions in one episode that everybody call her ‘Cat’. There is no subtlety here.
Every single time Harvey Bullock sees Dent, he’s going to say something like, “Man, that Harvey Dent sure is one two-faced guy.” There’s no getting around it. We just have to accept it. And expect some kind of ‘acid’ joke in Dent’s very first scene.
For a moment, I was going to tell you henchies that I’d never heard of D’Agosto and therefore didn’t have an opinion on him…but then I took a closer look at his picture and knew I recognized him from somewhere. So I checked out his IMDB page, and sure enough, it’s West from Heroes! Don’t remember West? That makes perfect sense. He was the flying kid in Season 2, the one who was almost Claire’s boyfriend! Still don’t remember him? I barely remember him either. Season 2 was when Heroes started to go downhill fast. Remember when Peter left his new girlfriend stranded in a post-apocalyptic future? Yeaaaahhh…
I assume D’Agosto has grown up since then, so maybe he can pull off Harvey Dent. Though it’s interesting to note how much older he’s going to be than Bruce Wayne. In the comics, they were roughly the same age, and friends. Looks instead like Dent is going to be Gordon’s age. That’s fine. The obvious jokes will land just as thuddingly.
Opinions may vary on the quality of Gotham, but I like it, and this new promo trailer for the first season is pretty darn exciting!
We’re two episodes deep into Gotham, and so far, I’m a happy camper. Once they shake the opening jitters, I think Gotham is really going to take off. But while we’re on the subject, I was reading an interesting article on i09 the other day and thought I’d weigh in.
How does Gotham successfully tell the story without Batman? If Gordon succeeds in cleaning up all of the crime and the super-villains before Batman even arrives, then why does Gotham City even need Batman? Or conversely, if none of the super-villains show up until after Batman debuts, doesn’t that mean he only makes the situation worse?
I think Gotham can pull this off with ease.
Obviously, they just need to introduce Batman. I’m thinking by season 3 or 4, they can get a whole season out of that scene in Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne visits Gordon in his office and says, “Now we’re two.” Problem solved!
But seriously, the show can pull off this balancing act, and I think they already know how: focus on the mobsters.
This is a very storied time in Gotham City’s history, when the mob control of Carmine Falcone slowly slips out of his grasp as the freaks take over. And you’ve got your lead freak in Oswald Cobblepot, whose rise to power is clearly going to be one of the main storylines. Penguin perfectly straddles the line between mobster and freak super-villain. So focus on Gordon and Bullock battling Falcone and Fish Mooney in the first season, while the Penguin works his way up from the trenches.
This then leads to an all-out gang war on the streets of Gotham at some point, between Falcone, Sal Maroni and Fish Mooney, with the Penguin surprising everybody by being more vicious and more wild than any of them could have predicted.
And, most importantly of all, you have Gordon lose.
Oh he’ll try, and he’ll fight, and every once and awhile, he’ll get a victory. Harvey Bullock will come over to his side in full at some point. More police officers will listen to him in time. But in the great big grand scheme of things, Gordon will lose, and Gotham City will keep getting worse.
And then it will need the Batman.
Gotham has more than enough time to pull this off. Start small in the battle between Falcone and Mooney in season one, with the Penguin very much on the fringes. Build up to a full-on gang war for seasons two and three, perhaps. Not every episode has to be about the serialized gang war. Throw in the occasional proto-villain here and there, like a ‘crime-of-the-week’ sort of thing, and you can pad out the seasons while remaining interesting.
All of those freaks we met in the first episode will stay on the sidelines. Selina Kyle can obviously keep operating as a young cat burglar for as long as they need. Ivy Pepper never has to do anything further. And Edward Nygma never has to turn completely into the Riddler over the course of the series. The cops are always going to need a forensic analyst, after all. Heck, maybe Riddler can become the big bad who eventually defeats Gordon. Maybe by season 4, the Penguin is coming into his full power, and he teams up with Nygma to really destroy the GCPD…which is when Batman shows up to lend a hand! Seriously, stop being assholes and bring Batman into your Batman show.
But there you go, Gotham, my two pieces of advice: have Jim Gordon lose, and focus on a gang war with the Penguin as wildcard. There’s your show.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume some meddling studio executive was the one who insisted on all of the name-dropping in the first episode of Gotham. Surely no sane creator with a vision for a Batman-themed TV show would insist on such silly pandering. Surely some executive was nervous about mainstream audiences picking up on the source material and insisted that Edward Nygma show up for 5 seconds to crack riddles, or that several different characters would tell Oswald Cobblepot that he looks like a penguin.
Because otherwise, Gotham doesn’t have much faith in its audience to not be idiots.
TV Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.
I’m going to try not to focus too much on the random character cameos because that’s what everybody is talking about (and Dorkly did it best). Suffice to say, I don’t think they make or break the show. I think they’re the byproduct of somebody higher up desperately trying to push the Batman elements of a show that can stand without them. They’re training wheels for a kid who can pedal just fine on his own.
The sort of people who are going to watch Gotham understand what it’s about, and we’re capable of being patient. We don’t need to be reminded every 5 minutes of another Batman character. I sincerely hope this was just an affliction of the pilot, and that future episodes will behave themselves.
Nobody likes a name-dropper.
I liked the first episode of Gotham, but I also think it was a very unpolished episode. A show like Gotham should crack with the energy and efficiency of an episode of Law and Order. It should establish itself as a cop show first and foremost, and then prove it’s the most interesting cop show with its characters and world. But in the first episode, Gotham seems a little bloated with clunky dialogue, bad efforts at campy humor and an all-around sense of trying desperately to live up to its own expectations for itself. It wants to be this awesome combination of cop show and superhero show, but it’s not quite sure how to achieve that.
Fortunately, being the pilot, a little shoddiness is excusable. Gotham has a whole season to tighten the plotting, the dialogue and the character development.
And I will definitely be around for the whole season.
Join me after the jump or my full review.