Superhero, sci-fi and fantasy shows are the flavor of our time and I couldn’t be happier. Arrow, The Flash, Game of Thrones, Orphan Black and Agents of Shield—just to name a few—are all impressive or at least fun to watch, programs.
Then there’s Gotham… just saying that name brings a smile to any fanboy. Unfortunately, this show leaves much to be desired.
Here is television that tries to take on too much. It’s a prequel to a time when Batman watches over Gotham City. A time where Bruce Wayne is a kid who has just lost his parents. A time when his future nemeses are beginning to sow their oats. And, a time where the people who run the show feel they need to load up everything at once, moving too far, too fast and with too many. However, that’s only one problem with the show.
I’m not sure why they felt they needed a so-called name actor (if Jada Pinkett Smith is, in fact, a name) to be in the show. Her Fish Mooney is the only character who is not part of the Batman canon and her attempt at an Eartha Kitt Catwoman impression grated after the first thirty minutes. All her storyline succeeds in achieving is to take away other more promising narratives involving more interesting characters such as Selina Kyle (Carmen Bicondova), Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and even young Bruce (David Mazouz)—not to mention the main protagonist Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie)and his morally ambiguous partner, Harvey Bullock (the always great Donal Logue). If I didn’t dislike Pinkett Smith or her acting before, I would now because of the sabotage she accomplished to the architects of the show.
I find the writing lacking but I do feel sorry for the producers. Pinkett Smith committed a cardinal sin by revealing early on that she wouldn’t be returning to the show for season two. Now, while I reveled in that announcement, it was a detestable thing to do to them mid-season, taking away from the season finale’s cache and suspense – a focal storyline of theirs made worthless.
Now, back to the writing. Plain and simple, it’s been lazy. Some storylines are jumbled and inconsistent while others are just downright silly. For example, how does a boy find the red hood (a major prop to a whole episode) in the middle of the street hours after the GCPD arrests the culprits? It’s just ridiculous that a cop or passerby would fail to pick it up. There are more concrete ways to show someone else getting their hands on it. This sprang immediately to mind, how about a kid getting pinched for a petty crime and taken to the station where he finds the hood on a policeman’s desk? Not great but certainly more plausible. I won’t even mention Barbara Kean’s useless and uninteresting storyline. There are many more examples of lazy writing but, you get the point.
Hopefully, the higher ups will realize viewers these days don’t have the capacity to wait too long for things to happen. As I mention previously, the sub-plots seemed rushed and they may have brought in too many criminals at once. However, the story development may take far too long. Think about it, Bruce is twelve… how many years before he makes the turn. Unless they plan on using different actors and up their years every couple of seasons, this show may not succeed even with its renowned subject matter.
There’s no hope for me (if Pinkett Smith returns) but save yourself unless the showrunners are willing to make major, or at least minor, changes. Yes, I know, the show is dark and beautifully shot but that does not a dynamic show make. Maybe they should consider plot advancement and better paced character development to be a tad more important. Just a thought.
Who is your favorite character? Are you sticking with this show?