Gotham is one of the cheesiest, eye-rolling, waste-of-time shows on TV right now. I can’t even recommended it to people. If I try to explain the show, I refer to it as “Batman Forever: The Show” because, like Batman: Forever, it doesn’t know what it wants to do and is very corny. But, all that said, I can’t stop watching it. (Some spoilers follow.)
So, how can I break this down?
Bruce Wayne is 12 years old during the first season. That’s completely fine. It’s an origin story, and he was young when his parents got killed. I mean, we’ve seen his parents die multiple times in multiple ways.
But here it is — again. He’s young, and he seeks the killers of his beloved parents, Thomas and Martha “Why’d You Say That Name?” Wayne. The difference is that there’s usually a time jump after we see them die. With Gotham, we see what happens next: Bruce, uh… looks for the killers, I guess?
That’s a decent premise, but it’s not the focus of the show. The focus is on Jim Gordon, played by The OC’s Benjamin McKenzie, who tells young master Bruce that he will find his parents’ murderers. Yet the story isn’t primarily about that either. The first season plays like a “monster of the week” serial, where little segments build up to a whole story. The second season has a good thing going with Jerome (we’ll get there), but that too is all over the place — sort of like this paragraph.
So is the show about Jim Gordon or Bruce Wayne? Is it about Gotham without Batman? Is it about the villains? I really don’t know what it’s about, and that’s a problem. Right now, it’s whatever happens, happens, and we’ll see where it takes us.
So with all that said… why do I keep watching this?
The Good Stuff
Honestly, there’s not a lot of good in it. The performances are not that great (Firefly is awful), Jada Pinkett Smith over-acts, and everything in between feels like there is no heart. Other than top characters like The Penguin and Alfred, everyone else is one-dimensional.
There are a few standout scenes, like what Penguin does to his step-siblings. But Jerome Valeska is a fantastic proto-Joker, and he’s really sunk his claws into me. That scene where he points a gun to his head and keeps pulling the trigger is nuts!
Or how about when he went all Heath Ledger on us?
The GCPD are awful, the villains’ timeline doesn’t make sense, and there’s no tie-in with other DC shows. Bruce Wayne is a wiener, Alfred is badass, and Jim Gordon is an asshat. It takes everything I love about Batman, stuffs it in a bag, farts in it, quickly zips it up, and delivers it to your mom. It doesn’t respect its source material, it doesn’t respect its audience, and it definitely does not respect your time. And I cannot wait to see what Season 3 brings.
Article by contributor Kevin Sousa.