Who: “Gotham” is a crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Batman franchise/DC Comic Universe, which currently airs on FOX, fall/spring Mondays at 8:00 PM.
What: “Gotham,” a crime series developed by Bruno Heller and primarily based upon the characters of to-be Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), the real life identity of Batman. As originally conceived, the series would have served as a straightforward story of Gordon’s early days on the Gotham City Police Department. The idea evolved not only to include the Wayne character but also to tell the origin stories of several Batman villains, including the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) Poison Ivy, Two-Face, the Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strange, and the Joker.
When: Season One aired on FOX from September 22, 2014, to May 4, 2015. FOX is currently airing Season Two, which premiered on September 21, 2015.
Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Gotham City, the primary setting of the Batman franchise.
Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below!
As for CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie, I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2014-2015 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am). I said:
“This is one of the most anticipated pilots of the new season, by critics, fans, and this blogger. First, as a DC girl, Batman is my second favorite of their properties, after Superman, of course. Second, picking up the story from this prequel point is potentially brilliant; this could be must-see TV for a long time to come, folding in a Smallville like examination of the rise of Batman and the foes he fights, all from the perception of to-be Commissioner Gordon. I’m super excited for this one and can’t wait to see a full episode.”
Now, I’ve seen some episodes – all of them to date, in fact – and asked some fellow panelists to join me in evaluating how effective Gotham is in its storytelling muster and how successful it has been serving as the “prequel” it has become. Scroll down, and take a listen!
How – as in How Was It?
The pilot/premiere rating scale:
***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING. HOLY SMOKES!
**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing. I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.
*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens. There are things I like, and things I don’t. We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.
** – I will give it three episodes. Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together. No matter how unlikely.
* – Pass on this one, guys. It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.
Gotham = As of the first season: 3.3, by average of the podcast panel. As of the second season: 4.4, by average of the podcast panel.
A new recruit in the Gotham City Police Department named James Gordon (McKenzie) is paired with veteran detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) to solve one of Gotham City’s highest-profile cases: the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. During his investigation, Gordon meets the Waynes’ son Bruce (Mazouz) who is now in the care of his butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Meeting the younger Wayne further compels Gordon to catch the mysterious killer. Along the way, Gordon becomes involved with Gotham’s Mafia families and associates, including gangster Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), Don Carmine Falcone (John Doman), and Don Salvatore Maroni (David Zayas). Eventually, Gordon is forced to form an unlikely friendship with Bruce, one that will help shape the boy’s future in becoming Batman.
How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS
Gotham was one of the most eagerly anticipated, if not the most eagerly anticipated, new shows from the 2014-2015 season. It was also one of the most eagerly anticipated new shows from this podcast moderator/TV blogger/CPU! Chief Couch Potato, as noted above. Batman constitutes one of my most favorite comic book properties (aside from Superman); I’ve followed the Caped Crusader’s exploits throughout comics, graphic novels, television, and film. So, it was a no-brainer when it came to tuning in, and a few good friends and fellow Batman fans in my life joined me around the water cooler with the same mindset and eagerness in tow.
As it turns out, though, Gotham got off to a bumpy start but has since vastly improved, and our brand new CPU! podcast panel, featuring three familiar voices and one brand new voice, viewed this new addition to the Batman zeitgeist with various perspectives that intersected even as they differed. This podcast was recorded in January 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of both first and second seasons, including all episodes that have aired to date. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will be about the Netflix original, Marvel’s Daredevil!
Gotham is recommended to fans of comic books, particularly from the DC universe, and the Batman franchise, but our panel cautions against walking into Gotham with any kind of preconceived prejudices or devotion to all that has come before within the Batman mythology. While the show draws amply from the comic book universe that inspired it, the program also deviates quite a bit too, telling a story that, the podcast panel agrees, should not be viewed as Batman canon but, rather, as a high quality new take on some familiar stories. The panel also agrees, universally, that the strength of the show lies in its aim to tell the back stories and origin trajectories of our favorite villains, including Penguin and Riddler. One podcast panelist surmised that, perhaps, the Gotham writers are not true fans of the source material and do not know it enough to write appreciably for these characters, but all the panelists agreed that the writers/producers seem to be listening to the fans and working to improve the initial flaws of the show, to the point that at least some members of the panel find themselves addicted to this program.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW
Gotham is currently mid-season two and on winter hiatus, slated to return with new episodes on February 29, 2016. While a third season renewal has not yet been announced, most TV pundits believe the show is a safe bet to be renewed. As always, CPU! will keep you posted.