Gotham: Pilot (EPISODE REVIEW)

With the continuous onslaught of new superhero television shows, movies, and/or whole cinematic universes, it’s easy to allow a few items here or there slip through the cracks of my attention. It’s true, in my case anyway, that I spent less time looking forward to this series than I did most other comic-related media since the show’s initial announcement. And for the most part this pilot delivered just as well I had always imagined it would – an extremely good concept, but will revel too much under its own mythos, weighing the script down a tad.

Gotham is the idea that a comic-based show doesn’t actually need a superhero at its head, not yet anyway, but just a regular hero. Set while Bruce Wayne, the eventual Batman, is still a youth, the protagonist of the series is none other that Detective James “Jim” Gordon, thrust into a city rusted through to the core – where crime runs rampant, the police are crooked, and it always seems to be nighttime. To run the show as both a superhero origin story done the long way round and a cop procedural in a fictional (yet strangely New Yorkish) city is a darn good idea. The crime, evolution of classic Batman villains, gang wars with Falcone, etc. sets the series’ writers up with plenty ado.

And plenty was introduced in this Pilot – a plethora of plot points to delve into, many avenues of diversion to drift off in. But if there was one thing laid on too thick, it’d definitely be the abundance of your classic villains. We get no subtle name drops here, everything is laid out clear as day (or night, since its Gotham and all). Oh, she’s going to be Catwoman. Right, they tease him with the name Penguin. That girl there, hiding behind the ivy – oh right, her name is Ivy Pepper. This guy is laying down riddles better than he does his day job. Right. Already we’ve been given too much to chew. Let alone the absolutely terrible tease that that guy telling all the jokes on stage could potentially be… Nah, I doubt it. This pilot indulges too heavily on itself in this respect for me to really enjoy what it’s offering. And strangest of all, the villain most effectively used is Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Fish Mooney,” a character created specifically for this series (but reports claim she may turn out to be a real bat-villain somewhere down the line).

But despite the rather obvious Easter eggs, the pilot is exceptionally solid. James Gordon may be too stone faced, and one-sided thus far, but I can tell I’m really going to like the character in the long run. It’s appropriate that Gordon is spotlighted so, as he’s been around as long as the Bat himself, first appearing in Detective Comics #27 (also the first outing for Batman). I was very surprised at how well his partner, the crooked cop Harvey Bullock, was portrayed. Although certainly not a good guy, he seems to have his soft spots, which I look forward to the show expanding on. I did find it a little odd that in this iteration of the story he’s getting married to Barbara Gordon (or will-be-Gordon). In most (if not all previous Batman timelines), Barbara Gordon, the eventual Batgirl/Oracle, is his daughter, or adopted daughter. I guess for the direction they want their show going in they need a vigilante posthaste, so they bumped her age and station up a notch.

Certain other characters such as Oswald Cobblepot and Selina Kyle I’m definitely looking forward to. Robin Lord Taylor’s portrayal of the soon-to-be Penguin is already so creepy. He’s got the look, and the maniacal manner down pat, but I have a feeling he’ll continue to ooze evil. Camren Bicondova, the actress who’ll be playing the young Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman – but Kittengirl for now) is strikingly perfect for the role, with her leather jacket, tousled hair, and $20 etsy steampunk goggles. I expect we’ll get a huge glimpse of her in next weeks episode entitled “Selina Kyle.” Sean Pertwee (son of the Pertwee) didn’t sit quite as well with me, being a much more harsh version of Alfred Pennyworth than we’re used to. But perhaps that’s just my initial grasp of the character, and he needs some room for development.

Overall, I’m really looking forward to the series. The script was done far better than The Flash pilot – in regards to the dialogue anyway. The thugs may be slightly too giddy to take seriously at times, but it makes for an entertaining hour of television. And despite the many MANY “easter eggs” lying in plain site, it didn’t hamper my enjoyment. Move over Arrow, there may be a better origin story brewing.

28 thoughts on “Gotham: Pilot (EPISODE REVIEW)

  1. As someone who lives in the UK, I’ve only just seen the pilot on Channel 5, but I mostly liked it. The plot was quite self-important even though it was actually really simple from my point of view, yet the characters are likeable. One thing I’ve noticed with a lot of American dramas is that good heroes are either rare or badly done – yet, I like Gordon. A lot. Anything I didn’t like about him was in script, not in performing. Just like Bruce Wayne. My god, I love that actor. He’s so damn good. His first scene affected me in a big way, as did his others. Some parts were a bit simplified; okay, he’s the penguin. Oh, he keeps talking in riddles that can be seemingly solved by anyone, instantly. Ooh, look, a girl with Ivy. And what exactly did Selina Kyle do? Be introduced?
    Which isn’t to say I didn’t like it, cause I did. With story, I’m a bit conflicted, cause the dialogue, I felt, was a bit pulpy and cliched, but the actors pulled it together. And that’s why I’ll probably tune in for “Selina Kyle”. And hopefully, Bruce Wayne will still be there too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, i recommend the show. Im assuming youre getting it two weeks behind us, which is a shame. But ill keep the reviews a-comin so you can at least see if i give em a decent rating.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m surprised by how much I loved the episode. I also loved Pertwee’s Alfred. 😀 I just saw a rerun of it last night… I’ll be buying them to watch like I am with Doctor Who, but I’m still on the fence about blogging the season or not.


  3. I think they piled on the villains to appeal to the fringe fans like me (you can see how much that worked from my review, haha). I just hope they don’t continue to be heavy handed with it.

    Glad you dropped by my blog. I’m happy to read other people’s reactions to what I’m watching, makes for a more communal experience.
    – Jill @


      1. Fringe Fan

        1. Someone who falls into a wiki-clicki-storm whenever a new movie comes out but doesn’t care enough to watch it or read any of the comics;
        2. Someone who recognizes the major villains in a storyline but only understands them in a shallow way e.g. “Poison Ivy manipulates plants- she’s an eco-terrorist? Really?”;
        3. Someone who lives on the edge, never quite loving or hating something;
        4. Someone who likes hems

        – taken from too little coffee and too much morning 🙂


  4. As a huge Batman fan, I want the cape…but this will work for me. Watching Bruce’s path towards…well The Cape. Looks like Barbara is hiding secrets too. I love the look and feel of the sets. A touch of Art Deco here and there.


    1. Yeah decent sets. I dunno about the main police station also being the same room as the jailhouse… But whatever, I’ll work with it.


  5. I think the pilot was solid. The very little action sequences were good, although I was surprised that Mario Pepper died. Wasn’t he shot in the shoulder? Maybe I just need to watch it again. But yeah, will continue on with this series. Didn’t like Alfred as much as well but I guess he’s the type that will grow on you. The stand up…I was also very curious about…but nah. I think that’s just pandering to the audience. But solid pilot right. Haven’t seen The Flash though.


    1. I think he gets shot right through the left shoulder, but it’s s low shot. So it must’ve grazed the heart. Bullock was shooting to kill.


      1. Yeah I figured since it was a set up. But I personally think the Ivy Pepper move was unnecessary. But still, liked the episode. Can’t wait for your review of the Flash pilot.


      2. Actually I reviewed it a few months ago when the pilot episode leaked online. Just note, it does contain spoilers.


  6. Gordon, like a lot of DC characters, has a convoluted and conflicted history now… but his original wife was Barbara… and so both of their kids were effectively “Jrs” with James Gordon Jr and Barbara Gordon (Batgirl). It’s not a surprise that you might have been a little confused as DC hasn’t done a good job of keeping this part of Gordon’s history consistent every time they reboot things.

    Meanwhile… my biggest worry about this show is that they will keep teasing too many future Batman villains. I’m fine with a pre-Batman Gotham show and there should be rich ground to explore… I just hope they don’t go for “easy” ratings by throwing in Bat-villain references too much because it would call extra attention to this not being a Batman show.

    My fear is that this could become Smallville without Superman… imagine the Smallville series without Clark Kent at all… so Zod comes to earth, and then what? We all die probably.

    All the Bat-villains without Batman would be a bad thing for Gotham.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure the eventual goal is to start training young Bruce for vigilantism at some point or another, eventually culminating in him wearing the batcowl. But for now, I agree. Could be more than a bit problematic.


  7. Nice review. I also felt it pushed a little too hard on showing us so many villains though I was entertained.

    I rather liked Sean Pertwee’s Alfred. He is much rougher and tougher than some previous interpretations of the part but I am glad that he brought a little more force to the role and I hope we see more of him in the near future. Oh, and isn’t he looking more like his father than ever these days?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice blog you got here, and good review. Totally agree with what you said about the pilot indulging to heavily in itself. I loved Cobblepot, but wish they’d stopped at him. Ivy Pepper seemed particularly unnecessary. Nice stuff 🙂


  9. Good review. I’m looking forward to watching more of this show. I liked it more than I thought I would. I greatly enjoyed the art direction. And, like you, liked the young Penguin. I also thought the guy telling jokes might turn out to be,,,But, I don’t think so. Anyway, good review.


  10. I was confused about the whole Barbara Gordon thing too and, after consulting my Batman aficionado friend, I think Commissioner Gordon’s first wife in the comics name is Barbara…but you might be right about Babs!
    Great review!


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