Movies and TV
Preview: The Gotham Pilot Has Colorful Characters, But Falls Flat

Elizabeth Harper | 31 Jul 2014 01:10
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The show carries on this dark tone, showing the Waynes' funeral, Bullock working with mob boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett-Smith) to find the Waynes' killer, and everyone being introduced to Batman's future rogues' gallery: besides pickpocketing Catwoman, there's Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) as one of Mooney's minions, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) working forensics for Gotham PD (and already talking in riddles), and the renamed Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley) who will become Poison Ivy (apparently calling her Pamela Isley was too subtle). The cast of characters is colorful and over-the-top, but in a way that feels like a good fit for the comic universe they inhabit.

The show's at its best when it's not taking itself entirely seriously: as when Mooney yells at Cobblepot for not holding an umbrella over her head or Nygma explains things to Gordon and Bullock in the most cryptic way possible. Both Pinkett-Smith and Logue steal every scene they're in, playing up their characters with a great noir style that lends the essential caricature nature of Gotham City credibility. A show focused on either of their characters would be one well worth watching, but instead the show focuses on Gordon who promises Bruce that he'll clean up the city, reform the corrupt police department, and find his parents' killer. While we're all for that in theory, it would get rid of every interesting character we've met so far and that makes it really hard to root for Gordon.

Since we know that this is going to end with Gordon not cleaning up Gotham and Bruce becoming Batman, the only reason to tune in seems to be to watch the bad guys chew up the scenery while Gordon mopes about compromising his ideals in the foreground... and by all means, that could turn out to be good fun. However, as much as I want to enjoy the antics of the cast of Batman growing into their roles, the show so far doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. Still, I'll keep tuning in for Pinkett-Smith and Logue if nothing else -- and hope the rest of the cast becomes equally entertaining.

You can catch Gotham on Fox starting September 22nd.

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