Ben McKenzie as James Gordon
David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne
Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock
Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle
Zabryna Guevara as Sarah Essen
Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin
Following the success of Smallville, it was apparently believed that a similar prequel series set in the Batman franchise could work. And I must say that they were right. Gotham adds many twists to both this franchise and the crime drama genre of television.
This show seems to take place roughly twenty years before Batman is Gotham’s watchdog against crime. We have a Gotham that is run by organized crime. James Gordon is a police officer in a corrupt department trying to stem the tide. Young Bruce Wayne is sometimes caught up in these things as well. Bruce’s romantic interest, Selina Kyle, is a wild card, torn between her affections for Bruce and the fact that her hard life drove her into burglary long ago.
Like many crime dramas, the main antagonist changes over time. There was female crime boss Fish Mooney. At the time of this posting, the possessive (literally) Jervis Tetch is making his mark.
The standout villain in The Penguin. I was shocked when I first saw him. If you’ve seen any other version of this character, you know from heart that he’s short, overweight, and and has a huge nose. Here he’s tall and skinny. I guess whatever disease he has that gives him an abnormal appearance hasn’t taken effect yet. Anyway, this is a great character. He’s got a seemingly undeservedly cocky attitude that gets him underestimated and he consistently outsmarts people because of that. Everybody sees him as a self-deluded pushover. That he’s really a crafty genius nobody can understand. They don’t see it. And that adds to Penguin’s character.
Story arcs are great! There was the Fish Mooney story, the one in which maniacs were running loose throughout Gotham City, and now Penguin has became Mayor! A bit of homage to Batman Returns, but this time it really happened!
Some comic book nerds criticize the faithfulness to the source material. Hey, it’s the gloomy setting with urban crime. Factor in the effects of the prequel setting, and it’s true enough for me.
Gotham succeeds with flying colors as both a Batman show and a crime drama.
Overall: 9 out of 10