Gotham: Episode One

Gotham

Spoiler alert. If you haven’t watched the first episode of the new Gotham TV series yet (why not? Aren’t you allowed to stay up that late?), I’m probably going to mention things which might detract from your enjoyment. But hey, if you haven’t seen it yet, you probably don’t care anyway.

Cutting to the bottom line rather quickly: It was worth a watch. I can’t say I’m on tenderhooks waiting for the next episode to drop, but I will be watching for the foreseeable future.

gotham-poster-james-gordonI was hoping the series would be more Jim Gordon’s police department and less cash-in on Christopher Nolan’s movies. On that count I was disappointed. Hey this is Gotham, there is plenty of crazy shit happening. Why so dependent on the characters that everyone already knows about? How about adding to the stories rather than depending on them?

It did seem that the entire episode depended on your understanding of everything Batman and if you didn’t know the characters and stories you probably weren’t going to watching anyway. It doesn’t look like the program is attempting to attract a new audience just trying to keep the audience that will tune if you just repeat clips of the Nolan movies.

Unlike some of the other superhero TV shows (I’m looking at you Arrow and Agents of Shield) this one depends on your knowledge of the stories rather than introducing you to a new world of characters (sorry Green Arrow, I mean Arrow you were a third string superhero—pun intended). This seemed like a bit of shame. Gordon is a great character who could carry the show on his own and Benjamin McKenzie did a good job of being a young Gordon. I wonder when he is going to start growing the mustache? (not very O.C.)

There was a good deal of liberal management of the Batman mythology. A young catwoman sees the murder of Thomas and Martha? The Riddler is working for the Police? The Penguin is a sniveling mob underling? Bullock is a crooked cop? I hated this one. Bullock is great. And then was Alfred. Sean Pertwee is great. The accent, not so much. Can Alfred be a bad ass and still maintain a gentility. You bet he can.

If there is one thing I’d change it would be Alfred’s accent. I’m thinking the first episode of Burn Notice where Gabrielle Anwar tried to play Fiona as Irish and it did not work. So she stopped. Who said we can’t change?

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Scientists take up guns

Scientists in film and TV are a collection of characters who lack variety.

Usually they are messing around with things they should and bad things happen, think about each and every mad scientist from The Fly’s Seth Brundle to Fringe’s Walter Bishop. Or they are bumbling and bad things happen, think about Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ Wayne Szalinski and Back to the Future’s Doc Brown. They cause problems and need help returning order to the world. I mean, Doc Brown invents a time machine but needs a high school kid to help him resolve issues of time dilation and quantum paradoxes (I have no idea what that means).

This was not always the case. In the black and white films of the 1940s and 1950s there is a different type of scientist. A scientist who takes up a gun and solves problems with a brains and brawn.Brain Eaters

In the 1958 film, the Brain Eaters, the action hero is Dr Paul Kettering, a scientist with a gun. He climbs willfully into the unknown body of a cone. He fist fights and shoots infected cops without hesitation. He is a pipe smoking leader of men taking charge over the major’s son, a senator and a white haired scientist. He puts together plans, saves lives and kicks ass along the way. He has a girlfriend (Alice, the Major’s assistant) and makes the hard choices without hesitation.

Admittedly the 1940s and 1950s produced a different type of film, but what happened to characters like Dr Kettering? Somewhere along the line he turned into Professor Donald Kessler (Pierce Brosnan’s character in Mars Attacks!) and the fate of the planet was put into the hands of teenagers like Marty McFly.

Watch The Brain Eaters on Youtube.

Coming Soon: Gotham

I’ve heard the hype, read the reviews and I’m still excited.

I watched Arrow. It was a little rough around the edges. Stephen Amell was ok. I have to admit being distracted by his stubble and moles. I wasn’t a big fan of Laurel Lance or Thea Queen (Thea seems to have a permanently fixed jaw—you need to get that sorted love). Felicity I liked, although Felicity and Oliver was not a good match (you can’t have Black Canary and expect any other coupling). Diggle (played by David Ramsey) was probably my favourite character. They messed around with some of the characters so much they became irrelevant (can anyone say Amanda Waller?). The flashbacks got a bit annoying (in the second episode), but still I watched.

4GothamCity-610x343

Now with Gotham I am expecting a different standard. There is less than one week to go and I would really like this to be good and not some irrelevant re-imagining of a well constructed narrative and set of characters. I have my doubts, but I remain hopeful. However, watching Arrow has taught me that if I already have a vague connection, I’ll watch just about anything.

Head over to IGN for Seven reasons they are excited about Gotham. Although I’m not sure why Jim Gordon isn’t number one. Isn’t it his show? We’ll see.

My First Blog

Ok, so my first blog. It feels like it should be really important, the start of a new venture. And at the same time, who is actually going to read my first blog?

No one knows I’m writing a blog yet. I haven’t pre-released details to gain a healthy pre-opening following and until I’ve actually written a few entries no one (apart from my mum when I tell her) will actually read this.

So hello, reader of previous blog entries who has headed back into the archives to see where it all began. I hope you have enjoyed your reading experience (I am already enjoying writing this). I also hope that this wasn’t a let down for you.

I salute you and thank you for your readership.