Gotham Review (Pilot): "I'm Batman...Or Maybe I'm Not"

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I am a huge Batman fan.  On Monday, Fox aired the pilot episode of its new show “Gotham”, a show focusing on Jim Gordon and to a lesser extent Bruce Wayne long before he decides to become Batman.  I’ve been…nervous…about this show for awhile, and now its time for me to give my thoughts on the Pilot.

The reason that I have been so nervous about this show is that the premise is somewhat flawed: we all know what Gotham looks like when Batman arrives, so we know that no matter what happens in the show, it's always going to be worse, not better.  That and the previews made it seem like the Batman references would be way over the top.

After watching the pilot, I have mixed feelings. First, let's talk about what the show did well.  The pilot sold me on the premise that the show would work best as a crime procedural focusing on future  commissioner Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock.  During the pilot, the tension and drama between the two was set up very well and was interesting to watch.  If the show had focused only on these two trying to solve the Wayne murder, I think it would have been a great pilot.

Where the pilot falls short is the Batman references.  First of all, there's way too many just in the pilot.  We've been told that in future episodes it will not be as bad but Gotham needs to take a page from the Arrow playbook.  The DC nods in Arrow work because they are subtle but visible enough for even the average fanboy.  In Gotham, the references are so obvious it just feels like the show is screaming "HEY THIS IS A BATMAN SHOW DID YOU KNOW THIS IS A BATMAN SHOW LOOK BATMAN!". I mean, you can have Oswald Cobblepot  and Edward Nygma in the show as supporting characters, but leave it at just their names.  Don't have thugs tease Oswald and call him a penguin!  And don't have Nygma trying to make a riddle every time he opens his mouth!  There are so many other ways that you can build up their characters, but making the obvious reference straight out of the gate just makes it feel campy.

Also, Ive seen several interpretations on screen of Alfred in my years, but jeez the one in Gotham has to be the worst version I have ever seen.  He sounds more Australian than British, and just the way he talks and acts just pulls me out of the show every time he is on the screen.  Its like nails on a chalkboard to me!  Can we get a descent actor in this role please?

Overall, it was a pilot, and we all know that pilots can tend to be pretty rough.  I am intrigued by the show and will continue to watch the show over the next few weeks to see how it goes.  If the producers are smart, they will make it more of a procedural set in Gotham than the lame Batman prequel that keeps trying to come out.