I won’t admit to liking Gotham. I am a fan of the premise, however, and I do like the way a few of the characters are portrayed. However, there are a few things that bother me (and I don’t just mean changing character’s hair color, age, etc). On that note, this list is not about what I hate, it’s about what I have been enjoying. It took a while for me to get over the fact that this isn’t the Batman show of my dreams, and it’s not even close to accurately portraying most of the characters, but sometimes that’s OK.
I love continuity, and when things tie together (like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the CW’s Arrow and Flash universe, etc.), but this show seems to have tossed out the typical Batman timeline in favor of changing things up. At first that bothered me, but after having read comics like Old Man Logan and Spider-Man: Noir, and having watched X-Men: First Class, I realized something. A good adaptation of a story doesn’t have to be 100% accurate. I do appreciate some care taken when handling beloved characters. Change can be good, but taking a character and changing the fundamental behaviors and personality traits that make them good is a terrible thing. I decided to make a list of the 5 best things about the show, even though I greatly dislike it, and also point out the 5 worst things about it.
1. Zsasz – A huge departure from the deranged serial killer of the comics, Gotham‘s Zsasz is deranged as well, but also a lot more badass. He’s a hit man for the mafia (and yeah, he’s started cutting himself, but he’s yet to murder to “save people” and send them “to heaven” or whatever it is Zsasz actually does. He also uses firearms rather than a knife, but the character is still evolving. He’s one of my favorite parts of the show so far, and I can’t wait to see where the writers take him.
Best Moment: Walking in on Fish Mooney about to torture Penguin. “Looks like Fish Mooney’s is the place to be tonight!”
2. Penguin – Although the look is off, the casting is brilliant. Robin Lord Taylor is a brilliant actor for the twisted mind that is Oswald Cobblepot. He may not look the part, but he depicts the character wonderfully, even if the character is a little inconsistent at times. His rise to power is compelling story telling, and I would love to see a more in depth look in a comic series someday. As for now, I’ll stick with Gotham, even if I personally find it to be the worst comic book show on television (followed by the Batman show CW has. It’s called Arrow.)
Best Moment: The cold-blooded murder of the guys that picked him up when he was hitchhiking. That’s the Oswald Cobblepot we all know and love!
3. Gordon – Lacking the mustache, the hair color, and the glasses, this version of Gordon is something new and fresh, and although I don’t always like the show, Gordon is a great character to watch on the show. Especially when he gets angry. I was initially turned off by the casting (I didn’t think Ryan Atwood would make a good Jim Gordon, but I was wrong), but he grew on me. I hope to see Mr. McKenzie grow that mustache and perhaps throw on some glasses, as time goes on.
Best Moment: After catching the cop that ran from him for possibly murdering a witness, Gordon brings him in and throws him in a cell. The look in his eyes as he admitted to “making a statement,” shows McKenzie’s acting chops, and his ability to play “bad cop” as well.
4. Bullock – Donal Logue’s portrayal of Harvey Bullock is everything you’d expect. He plays the character wonderfully, and often gets some of the best lines on the show. Harvey steals the scene, but even though he is sometimes shown to be a bit of a bad cop (in every sense of the word), he has a heart of gold (covered by layers of dirt, dust, and assorted filth) and would do anything to help Jim out of a jam. Partners for life.
Best Moment: Apparently Bullock has no problem bringing women over to Jim’s house to have sex with them while Jim’s lady is away.
Edit: My new favorite scene was when Bullock was questioning the sponsor for the man who was murdered. “How long do these things run, about an hour? So you could maybe go to dinner?” The whole scene was hilariously written.
5. Falcone – One of the most well written characters on the show, Carmine Falcone is a bit of a hard character to hate. Shown to not be such a bad guy (which contradicts the comics, since Falcone was one of the worst crime bosses to ever grace the streets of Gotham), Falcone shows a soft spot for Liza, and shows an even more ruthless side when he kills her, having found out she was working for Fish the whole time.
Best Moment: Just about every scene he is in is really well written, and shows depth to an otherwise two-dimensional character.
1. Penguin and His Mother – As much as I love the twisted little freak that Penguin is, his character is greatly inconsistent. Early in the season he was shown to be ruthless, than at other times a bumbling, cowering idiot. After his death was ordered at the beginning of the season, and after working his way in with Maroni, you think Penguin would start packing heat! But no, when Mooney and Butch attack him at “his” club, they take him out easily. The writers seem to forget that time he killed a couple guys and took their wheels. What happened to that guy? Also, his mother’s accent is god awful and very cringe worthy. Every time I hear her voice I have to pause the show and take a break.
2. Fish Mooney – There are so many criminal characters to choose from to run a night club in Gotham, why did they have to make one up for Jada Pinkett-Smith? It’s silly! She could have literally been anyone and I would have been happier. Hell, I’d be more intrigued if Jada was Nora Fries. Anyone.
3. The Rogues – The age old question concerning Batman has always been, “Who came first? The Bat or the Rogues?” Did Batman’s appearance fighting crime force the criminal element’s hand into becoming something more? Or did the presence of the Rogues force Bruce’s hand? Gotham has established that the Rogues clearly came first. The show easily could have been a simple Police procedural drama filled with crime bosses and a few nods to famous characters. Instead, they chose to go full tilt towards the Rogues Gallery.
4. Nygma – Every scene with Nygma makes me very uncomfortable. Especially if that scene involves Kristen Kringle.
5. The Joker – Alluding to the Joker is one of the worst decisions this show could have made. I haven’t caught up to the episode featuring Jerome, but when I do I will update this post accordingly. The Joker is one of the rogues that should never appear before Batman, and his back story is far better to me as a mystery.
Freebie: My theory concerning Gotham possibly jumping forward in time may actually be coming true. With modern technology lacking prevalence on the show (No smart phones that I can really see, no computers, etc.) Jada Pinkett-Smith leaving the show (with only four episodes left), and Chris Chalk stepping in as Lucius Fox, I think the show might actually make a jump. Here’s why: Gotham needs more Bruce. Ten years in the future (or five, or eight) Bruce would be coming back from training (or leaving for it leading into a few branching story lines: Bruce training, Alfred’s search for Bruce, Gordon becoming Commissioner, etc.)
Lucius entering the show would mean a lot for Bruce if he did come back in Season 2 as a trained adult. He’d need Lucius to help him prepare for his vigilantism in Gotham. Not necessarily as the Batman, but as a masked vigilante jumping off roof tops and preventing muggings. That’d make for a good show. Bruce fighting crime, Gordon pursuing him for questioning, etc., and Alfred trying to talk him out of it. The show would be much better as a Batman: Year One adaptation rather than a Jim Gordon: Batman type of show.