Going into the premiere of “Gotham,” we had some serious trepidation. This was a Batman adaptation without really Batman, focusing on Commissioner Gordon and the origin stories of many villains.
One episode in, though, and we do feel like we like most of what we see. We’re not far enough in the story just yet where it is invulnerable, but so long as the series corrects its few mistakes, it should be just fine.
What the show did best Monday night was adapting a few characters in new and interesting ways. Donal Logue was one of the night’s standouts as Harvey Bullock, a detective who’d never made it further than the comics before. His own unique brand of law and order makes him complex, and arguably even more interesting than Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie, putting on his best good guy face here).
While Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) may have been a little cartoonish at times, we’re okay with the show setting a tone that is not entirely uber-serious like the Christopher Nolan films. Robin Lord Taylor was fantastic in his own take on Oswald Cobblepot, a young version of the man who would someday be known as The Penguin. Gordon didn’t have it within him to kill him, and instead he told him to leave Gotham for good while pretending to shoot him off a dock. Do you think that is really going to work? Hardly.
While we still do not know who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents, we’ve seen enough of the kid to know that he will remain a key part of the show. The same goes for Selina Kyle, who was some sort of witness to the murder and could have a part to play later. Still, some of her shots in the episode were somewhat unnecessary, much in the same way that introducing Edward Nygma was this week. There are times when we prefer the show took a little more of its time rather than trying to throw dozens of Batman references in right away.
For now, the weakest part of the episode is probably the Barbara character, who doesn’t feel like she has much chemistry with Gordon at all. Plus, there are secrets she is keeping from him, and an attempt at sabotage has already led the two with a complicated stance on trust.
“Gotham” got itself off to a very good start Monday night. It is not a perfect series yet and probably won’t be for a while, but we at least feel like creator Bruno Heller did not botch what is the best license that Fox arguably has right now. Grade: B+.
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